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Disney World ending Magical Express, replacing Extra Magic Hours with early entry

by Brittani Tuttle

Change is coming to Walt Disney World Resort, as it has announced that Extra Magic Hours will not return, and that Disney’s Magical Express will be retired in 2022.

extra magic hours

Extra Magic Hours, which were suspended when Walt Disney World reopened last summer, will not be returning. Instead, guests will be able to enjoy a new perk for the 50th anniversary: Early Theme Park Entry.

Later this year, guests staying at Disney Resort hotels and other select hotels will be able to enjoy 30-minute early entry to any Disney theme park, every day. Guests will still need valid admission and a Park Pass reservation to enter a theme park. This new offering should help spread out visitation across all four parks, while offering more flexibility for guests to get extra time at the park of their choice during their vacation.

disney's magical express

As for Disney’s Magical Express, in light of the multitude of options guests have for transportation like ride-sharing services, the service will no longer be offered for airport transportation starting with arrivals on Jan. 1, 2022. The service will continue to operate for new and existing reservations for arrivals throughout 2021, so no need to worry if you’ve got a trip coming up.

Other transportation options, like buses, monorails, and the Disney Skyliner, will still be available at Walt Disney World for guests. The Minnie Van service, however, has been temporarily discontinued, though Disney hopes to have it return in the future.

“As consumer needs and preferences change, we will no longer offer Disney’s Magical Express service starting with arrivals in 2022,” said a Walt Disney World Resort spokesperson. “At the same time, we’re also introducing new ways for guests to enjoy their visits, including early theme park entry for Disney Resort hotel guests.”

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20 comments

Thomas Steger January 11, 2021 - 12:37 pm

No Magical Express?!?! It might just make our return to Disney LESS likely since we’ve used it numerous times and appreciated the experience! Really not sure now about future reservations, but this will play a part in whether we return and when that might be. So sorry to hear it…

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Matt January 11, 2021 - 3:25 pm

So sorry to see this go. This made the traveling to and from airport one less thing to worry about. Even kept us in the “Disney bubble” and have not even considered staying off Disney property. So sad to have other perks that separated Disney from the others go away. Guess I can start looking at all the other local accommodations available, maybe one of the Universal hotels, I hear they are nice but I’ve never considered them before.

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Lesley Heber January 19, 2021 - 12:31 pm

The Universal hotels ARE very nice, we usually stay there and at Disney hotels. They are noticeably cheaper. I think this is a huge mistake on Disney’s part; they’re relying on their name to prevent people from noticing that we’re literally getting less and less for more money.

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Arvid Palonen January 11, 2021 - 6:00 pm

Huge mistake stopping this service. It was one less thing you had to worry about. What’s next, getting rid of Mickey Mouse? Probably not going back anytime soon.

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Denene Merrill January 11, 2021 - 6:25 pm

We don’t get to go every year but have relied heavily on this service to ease our travel. We live 30 miles from the Canadian Border, have to drive 2 1/2 hours to the airport, sit on a plane for 3 hours. We have always counted on Magical express to scoop us up and get us to our resort without complications and to get us back to meet our plane & manage our luggage. I hope some other reliable service pops up for this as Mears did in the early days, though I am sure we will have to pay for it. Likely the cost of the vacation package won’t go down without this service. We are already approaching the point of the vacation package out pricing us, even at one trip every three years. Soon the middle class will not be able to afford it at all.

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Brian Cunningham January 11, 2021 - 8:42 pm

We see our family in the same boat. We are DVC members and can basically get value for our points with a trip once every 3 years, since we couldn’t afford to buy very many in the first place. Even then, a trip every 3 years made it special. Disappointing to see the Company make so many changes that now reduce the magic. COVID is an issue, absolutely, but their are other ways to appreciate your guests. Doubt that Walt would be happy.

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Jennifer January 11, 2021 - 6:26 pm

Really?? No more magic hours and only 30 minutes early entry? What can you possibly do in 30 minutes? I see myself do Airbnb and saving alit of money if Disney does away with the extra night hours.

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Dave Gonzalez April 13, 2021 - 5:35 pm

I agree with everyone else. This is a major mistake on Disney’s part. We have come to Disney for 17 straight years and love running through the airport in Orlando to catch the Magical Express. It was part of the first excitement and will be greatly missed 👎😩

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Tamikins April 25, 2021 - 3:36 pm

Agreed!!! The evening extra magic hours for 2 hours was the BEST thing about staying at a Disney resort!!! Now why stay at the overpriced resort if no extra perks?!?

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T January 11, 2021 - 6:39 pm

We have never stayed off property until this year. We stayed at an amazing “non Disney” hotel that we could walk to Disney springs from. It was so much less expensive than even a value resort. And with basically no perks left at all now I guess we will be staying off property from now on. No free magic bands, no dining plan, no extra magic hours, no magical express, can’t have my packages sent back to the resort, ect. I mean it’s like they WANT us to stay off property. 30 mins is a stupidly small amount of time. What a ridiculous offering

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Heidi Neely January 12, 2021 - 9:22 pm

Would you mind sharing which “non-Disney” hotel you stayed at? We’ve thought about doing that to save some money, but I don’t know which ones are good. Did it once and the hotel was awful. Thanks!

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Laurie April 23, 2021 - 7:50 am

Sheraton vistana is nice

No magic hours? But the same prices I get during pandemic with limited capacity and staff but to say they aren’t coming back and so many other perks of staying on site gone may as well save $ and stay off site

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Carla January 11, 2021 - 7:28 pm

Big mistake taking away the magical express. I travel to Disney regularly and use this service.
Its not going to be the same. Like others this could be a game changer for me and my family.

As for extra magical mornings 30 minutes early into the parks is nothing compared to the hour or two after park closing. That is when its magical to be in the parks.
I hope they reconsider these options and keep the magical experience alive.

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DiAnne January 11, 2021 - 8:44 pm

I am so disappointed that Disney is discontinuing Extra Magic Hours. That was the best part about staying on Disney property! We would use that benefit every day that we were staying on property. I doubt that being able to go to a park 30 minutes early will be very beneficial.

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Linda Hamill January 12, 2021 - 10:57 am

It is so disappointing to read about the cancellation of the Extra Magic Hours and the Magical Express. My son and I were just talking about the time we all stayed at the Magic Kingdom until 3:00 a.m. We rode on everything. Dragged ourselves back to the French Quarter. It was just the best time. We always took advantage of those hours. Not to mention that in July it is much more comfortable in the parks at night. We have always used the Magical Express. There were no worries with this service. We were planning a family trip in the next few years now with grandchildren. But perhaps not. Sorry to hear, I hope Disney reconsiders these changes.

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DJ McNulty January 12, 2021 - 1:27 pm

Well, that ends my annual trip to Disney. I relied on the Magical Express to keep costs down. I will now stay off property IF I go back, because the main enticements to staying on property are gone, the Magical Express and the after hours Magic Hours.

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Darren WHITING January 12, 2021 - 3:23 pm

After flying 8 hrs from the UK, boarding the ME really made us feel as though the holiday had begun; the decision to retire it is a mistake. It appears there are no longer any real benefits to paying more to enjoy the fullest Disney experience, if these petty-minded decisions are anything to go by. I understand Disney has to make some hard decisions at the moment but these are ill founded.

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Cheryl January 12, 2021 - 6:41 pm

Please reconsider. As a single older person I relied on the Disney Magical Express to safely get around on my own.

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Ann Buechner January 13, 2021 - 5:37 pm

BAD IDEA😞😭😖😔😩😫😤😤😤😤🙂

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Amy January 17, 2021 - 9:10 am

The people who PAY the tens of thousands of dollars are the parents and grandparents and now Disney has taken away one of the bug draws and comforts and comforts for them.
We always knew—-even if the crowds were massive, the lines were long, the dinner reservations not u til 10pm——we could land at the airport and not worry about the hassles there and our bags would end up in our room.

Not very smart to bite the hand that feeds you. Perhaps keep the service for deluxe Hotel guests?

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