The Mears Connect Shuttle service is a Disney World-verified service that replaced the Magical Express. Disney World does not provide these shuttles, and they are an extra fee. They are available both to and from the Orlando Airport (MCO) and to and from Disney property. These shuttles are great options, but what’s best for you?
Let’s discuss where the Magical Express went, how to use Mears, and how Mears is in comparison to other transportation methods.
In this article:
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Mears Connect Shuttle Replaces Disney’s Magical Express
The Magical Express was a free bus service provided by Disney. Guests could link reservations with time slots for a bus to take them straight from the airport to their hotels or locations around the property. The bus was a fun 30-45 minute ride featuring fan-favorite cartoons and bus drivers that never failed to ensure guests were having a good time.
When returning from Disney back to MCO, guests would get a scheduled time to report to the bus and ensure they would arrive at the airport at the appropriate time before their flight.
The Magical Express began in 2005 and picked up popularity immediately! Unfortunately, Disney announced in 2021 that the Magical Express would not continue its service. By the first week of January 2022, the service ceased completely.
A lot of different replacement options began surfacing. These included Ubers, Lyfts, and more. Even the famous ‘Minnie Vans’ (by Lyft) made a comeback!
The most popular rise in transportation was the Mears Connect Shuttle service. Though the company has been around since 1939, the connection with Disney was new and the company was under the same wing that the Magical Express was under. This service brought both positive and negative feedback from guests. Some people were excited for a new change while others were upset that yet another amenity would no longer be free. All of the judgment aside, Mears Connect Shuttles started seeing more and more guests booking them!
Mears Connect Shuttle Pricing
Mears Connect offers two possible service types; standard and express. Each will come with similar perks but does have some differences.
Standard service reservations are for a one-way trip or a round trip. This service is shared with others and contains stops at different hotels and can have longer wait times.
The price for a standard one-way ride to a resort is $22.40 for adults and $16.05 for children ages 3-9. For a standard round-trip ride, adults are $41.40 each, and children ages 3-9 are $29.55 each. Children three and under ride free.
To get a ride solely back to the airport, the standard pricing (as of right now) is $15 per adult and $12 per child ages 3-9.
On the other hand, express service reservations are only for round trips. This service is still shared with others but will take you directly to your hotel or to MCO with little to no wait and barely any stops.
The pricing for express is a bit different because it does not include much of an individual passenger breakdown, nor does it have child rates. Pricing for four passengers is $250. Each additional passenger in the group will cost $55.
Right now, Mears Connect is actually offering a spring savings sale for standard services! Prices for a one-way to the resort is currently $16.50 per adult and $13.20 per child. For a standard round-trip, adults are $31.50 each and children are $25.20 each. If you are visiting soon, be sure to take advantage of this sale!
Pricing hasn’t really strayed much from the normal, even during busy seasons or holidays. For a full price breakdown or any updates in pricing, you can check out the official Mears website.
How to Book and Use the Mears Connect Shuttle Service
Booking (and getting to) your Mears Connect reservations is really easy!
To book your Mears Connect Shuttle service, you want to start on the website. You will then be met with a screen that will prompt you to select which of the two service types you would like. On this screen, you can also find any sales going on!
For Standard Service:
If you select standard service, you can then choose whether you will need round-trip service, or just one-way to or from the airport. If you choose one-way, you want to pick the Disney Resort that you will either be taken to or picked up from. Choosing round-trip will prompt you to enter both your drop-off and pick-up locations. If you are moving hotels mid-stay, be sure to select whichever two hotels you will be staying at!
For Express Service:
Like earlier stated, express is only available when booking a round-trip ride. Picking express service will direct you to the screen where you can choose your drop-off and pick-up location.
Both services will ask how many adults and children (3-9) will be in your party. They will also ask for a luggage count, and if your party has any wheelchairs. If you are in a wheelchair and must stay in it during the ride, be sure to call and let them know! Keep in mind, if you are booking an express ride, every passenger after the fourth will be $55 extra added to your total!
Further down the page, you will have to enter the following:
- Arrival Airline
- Flight Number
- Arrival Date & Time
- Departure Airline
- Flight Number
- Departure Date & Time
After entering all of the required information, you will then move to the payment screen. Payment can be made with any bank card!
Using the Mears Connect Shuttle Service
Now that your trip is booked and paid for, how do you use the service? Luckily, that is also fairly simple!
After booking, you will receive an email in your inbox with a confirmation page. Around a day or two before your trip, Mears will send out a QR code with another confirmation. When you land at MCO and get down to the Mears area, which is at Terminal B Level 1, there will be multiple kiosks with workers. These workers will be able to scan your QR code and point you to the right lane!
You and your party will be assigned a bus, which goes by location area and crowd level. Beware, standard services can acquire longer lines.
The buses are usually similar to the ones that the Magical Express used to use. They are bigger buses with felt cushiony seats and footrests. Most seats will also have USB plugs for charging any electronics. Each seat also has a reading light above it.
For standard services, you may experience a lot of stops at various hotels. Depending on what time you are arriving or what you have planned for the day, you might want to spend a bit of extra money to book the express service.
Mears Connect Amenities
Mears does not charge for any fueling, tolls, etc. This is good because it makes for no hidden fees, and you are able to see the exact basics you are being charged for.
Mears does encourage reservations, but they are not necessary. The first time I used Mears Connect, I made the reservation the day before I needed it. It’s a relieving feeling to be in a pinch and still have a usable resource!
Mears is 24/7. Again, something super relieving. I took the Mears shuttle in the middle of the night for my super early flight home. I felt both safe and comfortable compared to booking an Uber or Lyft at that time of night.
The pricing does not tend to fluctuate. A lot of prices having to do with Disney World will change in the blink of an eye, but not this service. The cost is usually around the same, $15-$30 depending on which ride you are taking. If you take the express ride, the cost stays at around $60 per person. If you plan on visiting during a busier time, you most likely will not have to worry about surge pricing.
Mears offers a fairly great team who will always help you and keep you updated. For any changes, problems, and more, you can immediately reach out. They also keep you updated about where your shuttle is, where you need to be, and more.
Mears Connect Shuttle vs. Competitors: Is It Worth It?
Mears Connect does have competition with other transportation methods in the Orlando area. But does that make it less worth the reservation?
Uber is a viable option to use when going to and from the airport to the resort. Even around Disney World property, this and Lyft are great to use. However, sometimes prices can soar and rides can be hard to come by. Uber is something I would definitely consider for parties without children or flights that tend to be early morning to mid-day. This is because smaller parties without children might not mind splitting the cost and won’t have to worry about luggage space or car/booster seat availability. Also, ride-share prices can skyrocket during busier times of the day, so catching an Uber in the early morning will be quick, easy, and inexpensive.
This is another good option, however, I do prefer Uber to this if I plan on using either. Lyft tends to be a bit more expensive than Uber. Also, Lyft cars can be harder to get due to high demand and timing. You may wind up being stuck waiting for a long period of time, getting drivers reassigned, or even losing out on a ride as a whole. If you were interested in using Lyft, I would suggest checking how many drivers are in the area and trying to aim around arriving at a less busy time of day.
Renting a Car
Renting a car is really only useful if you have a large party, a lot of luggage, or plan on hitting several sights around Orlando. For a Disney trip alone, I would not recommend it. Renting cars can be expensive and you will have to pay for parking in some places around the resort. Also, because Disney World has so many transportation methods on property, you would pay money to barely use the car.
Competitor Shuttle Services
Some people swear by other shuttle companies, and that is just fine! They offer some of the same transportation options, but some might not be as lenient as Mears will be!
Mears Connect Shuttle Service
If you are a bigger group, a family with children, or just looking to have almost everything easily taken care of for you, Mears is the way to go. With 24/7 service and a lot of availability, you can stress less and get more accomplished! While some people find the pricing a bit high, I think it is completely worth it.
Like earlier stated, when I used Mears Connect for the first time, I was looking to avoid a ride-share so late in the night. I wasn’t comfortable with waking up, hoping to get an Uber at 2am knowing how many people in the Orlando area might be going out to bars or clubs, and still paying a decent price. Even the day before I had to leave, I was still able to find and book an available Mears shuttle. The wait was minimal and we got right where we needed to be!
Overall, I would definitely say that Mears is worth it.
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