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Mears Connect Bus Service to Walt Disney World

Disney’s Magical Express Bus outside Grand Floridian  [© 2021, floridareview.co.uk, all rights reserved]
Disney’s Magical Express Bus outside Grand Floridian [© 2021, floridareview.co.uk, all rights reserved]

Mears Connect shuttle service will replace the Disney’s Magical Express Bus Service which will cease operations on December 31, 2021.

In 2005 Disney contracted with Mears to offer a complimentary bus service between Orlando International Airport and the Walt Disney World Resorts but in early 2021, Disney announced that they were not renewing the contract after 16 years of operation and the service would stop at the end of 2021.

Mears has announced that they will offer a similar service starting on January 1, 2022 but unlike the free service offered by Disney, the Mears Connect service will be a paid offering.

The Mears service will offer similar benefits like onboard entertainment and comes in two tiers:

  • Standard
  • Premium

Prices include all tolls and other airport surcharges. All vehicles are wheelchair accessible.

To check in at the Mears Connect reception and board the coaches you will need to head downstairs to level 1 (ground transportation) on the B side of the main terminal. Just follow signs to “Mears Connect”.

The service will operate 24 hours.

It is anticipated you will still have to collect your own luggage which is after passing through immigration if you are on an international flight. Prior to the pandemic, Disney would claim your checked bags for you and take them to the hotel.

Mears Connect Standard

The Standard service offers round trip journeys for $32 for adults and $27 for children. One way journeys are half the price; i.e. $16 and $13.50 respectively.

These will operate by bus or van in a similar way to the existing Disney’s Magical Express where you may have to wait for the coaches which will then make a limited number of stops at several hotels.

Wait times will be typically up to 20 minutes.

When returning to the airport, each hotel will have a dedicated pickup location and you need to allow 3 hours ahead of take-off time for domestic flights and 4 hours for international flights. An email will confirm pick up times.

Mears Connect Premium

The Premium service costs a $200 flat fee for up to 4 guests round trip with little to no wait time and a direct service to their hotel.

Additional passengers will cost $55 each.

You need to allow two hours before your domestic flight or three hours before your international flight when returning to the airport.

Mears Connect Destinations

Unlike Disney’s Magical Express which only serves the Disney owned hotels at the Walt Disney World Resort and excluded hotels like Shades of Green, Walt Disney World Dolphin and Swan, Mears Connect will also serve Hotel Plaza, Bonnet Creek, Four Seasons and other select hotels at Lake Buena Vista.

The full list in alphabetical order is:

  • Animal Kingdom - Jambo House
  • Animal Kingdom – Kidani Village
  • B Resort & Spa §
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s Boardwalk Resort
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort - French Quarter
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort - Riverside
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • Fort Wilderness Campground
  • Fort Wilderness Lodge
  • Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World §
  • Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center §
  • Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace - Disney Springs §
  • Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista - Disney Springs §
  • Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Lake Buena Vista §
  • JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa §
  • Orlando World Center Marriott §
  • Shades of Green §
  • Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek §
  • The Reserve §
  • Waldorf Astoria Orlando §
  • Walt Disney World Dolphin §
  • Walt Disney World Swan §
  • Walt Disney World Swan Reserve §
  • Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek §
  • Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs Resort §

§ - not included in Disney’s Magical Express

In 2022 Mears has said this list may be expanded further.

Mears Connect Future Pricing

Prices quoted are the introductory offers and they are likely to rise with demand but Mears has stated it will not use surge pricing.

If you wish to use the service then it is best to make reservations via the Mears Connect website.

A rival company called SuperStar Shuttle already offers a similar service to Universal Orlando and at this time Mears has not announced if they will operate to Universal in the future.

Mears Connect Alternatives

Mears already operate a “taxi” style service in conjunction with Uber and you can expect to pay around $100 one way making it a similar price to the Mears Connect Premium service.

Booking a ride share like Uber or Lyft direct will typically cost about $35 to $40 one way during quiet times, expect to pay more during busy times. For larger groups or upgrades prices will be more expensive.

Taxi fares will typically be around $55 to $65 one way plus tip.

In 2023 it is hoped that the Brightline service being built from Miami to Orlando International Airport (and on to Tampa) will be operating as far as Walt Disney World and their pricing is likely to be similar or slightly less that the Mears Connect Standard service.

Having arrived at the Disney train station it is assumed that Disney transport would then be available.