Airport Transportation to Disney World Guide – Disney Tourist Blog

There are multiple transportation options between Orlando International Airport and Walt Disney World, including shuttle buses, Uber and Lyft, private car services, and more. This guide covers MCO to WDW ground transportation, pricing, comparisons, and more. Plus, updates on supply/demand and price increases. (Updated August 4, 2023.)
In case you missed it, Walt Disney World ended the Magical Express airport shuttle service. In place of that free bus service between MCO and resort hotels, two paid bus services originally filled the void. One is Mears Connect, which was the operator of Disney’s Magical Express (DME) and now uses the same buses and drivers. The other is Sunshine Flyer, a new service with a fun railroad theme. (More on these “two” services in our latest update below.)
The elimination of Disney’s Magical Express was big and surprising Walt Disney World news, and continues to anger fans. It even took the #1 spot in our List of Biggest Guest Complaints About Walt Disney World, ahead of Genie+ and other cutbacks. Fortunately, there are plenty of viable alternatives, including several that are superior to DME, and we’re here to give you a rundown of the alternatives for airport transportation. First, let’s start with an update…
The biggest news is that Mears Connect and Sunshine Flyer have “joined forces” to form Mears Connect Driven by Sunshine. This merger has pros and cons for consumers. Competition is always good for keeping prices and service competitive. In this case, there arguably wasn’t a market for two competing shuttle services between MCO and WDW. The two were stretched thin, and had issues with both supply and demand at times.
We’ve used both Mears Connect and Sunshine Flyer (separately), and will be using the combined Mears Connect Driven by Sunshine later this month. Our expectation is that it’ll mostly be more of the same–an economical and reliable way to get between the airport and resorts at Walt Disney World.
Our experiences with both have been entirely uneventful. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, but they’ve been solid for airport shuttle buses. Neither will win any awards for speed, but that’s par for the course. We have no complaints. Basically Disney’s Magical Express. Minus the “Disney” part…and the “Magical” part. Okay, and the “Express” part, too. (In fairness, DME was never actually “Express,” either.)
Otherwise, issues with shortages, disruptions, and other ripple effects from the pandemic and resulting economic circumstances are largely in the rearview mirror. This had impacted airport transportation services, rental car companies, and rideshare services–there were plenty of horror stories about supply and demand imbalances for airport transportation at Walt Disney World over the last couple of years.
About the only lingering effect is higher prices for Uber and Lyft. That’s probably the “new normal” as some drivers have moved from rideshare to food delivery and other opportunities that don’t require having strangers in their cars.

If you’re planning on visiting Walt Disney World during peak travel weeks in 2023 (or any year, really)–think Presidents’ Day/Mardi Gras, Spring Break, Easter July 4th, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, NYE, etc–and plan on using an airport shuttle service or renting a car, we’d encourage you to book early.
This is good practice, in general. Airfare and hotel prices increase, availability worsens, and so forth. Well, same applies to ground transportation between MCO and WDW. It’s possible that Mears Connect Driven by Sunshine will sell out ahead of the busiest dates in October through December 2023, and rental car prices will almost certainly increase. That happened last holiday season on certain dates between Columbus Day and New Year’s.

We’ve used Uber and Lyft a lot for getting to and from MCO. This has been easy and efficient, and we’ve never had any issues whatsoever with availability or wait times at the airport or on-property at Walt Disney World. That hasn’t always been the story at Flamingo Crossings–where wait times are usually longer–but it’s also out in the middle of nowhere. (It’s an odd dynamic–middle of nowhere, and yet, tons of people live in that booming area.)
Pricing with Uber and Lyft is all over the place, but the range is definitely above what we experience in 2019. We’re primarily traveling between the Orange Counties (Florida and Southern California), which tends to put our MCO arrivals late at night. For whatever reason, MCO is often slammed late at night, which leads to surge pricing. We’ve paid as much as $70 for a ride to Walt Disney World via rideshare. That’s not even as bad as it gets–we’ve heard of some people paying $100.

We usually depart Walt Disney World early in the morning or in the middle of weekdays, and rideshare prices are almost always significantly lower. In the last two months, our range has been $30 to $40 before tip for these trips. On that note, a couple of suggestions.
First, pull up both Uber and Lyft and compare prices. The vast majority of the time, we’ve found cheaper (sometimes significantly so) rides via Lyft–but not always. Second, opt for the “Wait & Save” option if you’re not tight on time. We did this once, got an immediate pick-up time, and have done it ever since. If you’re traveling at an off-peak time, this is usually easy savings and minimal inconvenience.
With that update out of the way, let’s turn to our normal Orlando International Airport transportation guide…

Mears Connect Driven by Sunshine – As noted above, Mears Connect and Sunshine Flyer have merged as of August 2023. More accurately, it seems like Sunshine Flyer was absorbed by Mears, the dominant player in Central Florida transportation and the shuttle service by the company that operated Disney’s Magical Express.
This makes Mears Connect the “true” spiritual successor to Disney’s Magical Express. It literally uses the exact same drivers and buses, just minus the Disney-branded wraps. Mears Connect Driven by Sunshine offers transportation in high occupancy vehicles, including buses and vans. The company advertises this as the “same reliable, safe service guests have been using for decades to Disney area hotels” with scheduled service, luggage handling, convenient airport terminal staging, and return trips from resorts to the airport.
Mears Connect has two options: Standard and Express. Standard is a shared vehicle on Mears Connect (bus or van) that is economical. Standard makes a limited number of stops and will have you on your way to your resort within 20 minutes of your check-in to the Mears Connect reception area. The Express level offers direct service with limited to no wait time.
Pricing could vary depending on date and hotel, but the current rate on the standard service is $16 for adults and $13.50 for children for a one-way trip or $32 for adults and $27 for children for round trips. Express is currently priced at $250 per round trip for up to 4 passengers, plus $55 for each additional person.
Mears is a transportation company with coach buses and taxis that enjoyed a virtual monopoly on Orlando for decades. Historically, we have not been fans of Mears. We had several negative experiences with them in the pre-rideshare days–enough to arrive at the conclusion that it was a poorly-managed company doing the bare minimum and not caring about customer service given their aforementioned monopoly.
To the extent that Disney’s Magical Express offered good service, our suspicion is that it was due to contractual requirements with, and oversight from, Walt Disney World. Without the Disney monitoring and mandating service quality, bus frequency, dispatch times, etc., we fear the “spiritual successor” could be worse. In our experiences with Mears Connect thus far, this has not been a problem–but we’ll continue to use the shuttle service and provide periodic updates.

Luxury Car, Limo & Private Van Service – Honestly, we’ve never used private van service for traveling between MCO and Walt Disney World. There are only two of us, so it has never made sense. It also felt of little value from a research perspective, since Disney’s Magical Express, rideshare, or rental car served the needs of 98% of readers.
Obviously, the end of Disney’s Magical Express changes the equation. Now, many families of 4-6 will be find private car service to be a superior and more economical option than the aforementioned shuttles. Moreover, depending upon how things play out with rental car and rideshare prices and waits, private vehicle service might be better than those, as well.
I’ll level with you again: researching private car service in putting together this article has been overwhelming. There are a lot of advertorials and it’s almost impossible to tell what’s objective advice. Fortunately, we’ve gotten a lot of feedback from readers in the months since DME’s demise was announced, and I’ve cobbled that together here. (On that note, please offer more recommendations–I’ll continue to modify this with your top picks!)

Quicksilver Tours – Far and away the “most recommended” option, we’ve heard nothing but good things about Quicksilver from our readers. Many praise the pricing, noting that it worked out to be cheaper for them than Mears Connect Driven by Sunshine. (Just keep in mind that prices will likely go up with demand, which will assuredly increase with the end of DME. So book sooner rather than later!)
Orlando Transportation by Mike – Readers have recommended this service (including in the comments to this post!) and online reviews elsewhere are likewise overwhelmingly positive. Mike’s transportation company gets high marks on communication, courtesy, and cleanliness.
Happy Limo – Based on our research, this is one of the most well-established and largest luxury vehicle services in Orlando. It’s definitely not the cheapest, but appears to offer good customer service, with fewer issues than many alternatives. From our perspective, there’s something to be said for a larger scale operation with years of experience–especially as all of these transportation options adjust to a post-DME environment.
Tiffany Town Car – Readers who have used Tiffany have unanimously praised their service and recommended this luxury limo. However, we’d offer the caveat that online reviews are more mixed, with some red flags from guests with disabilities.
Again, we cannot vouch for any of these services as we haven’t used them. Generally speaking, we’d recommend checking policies on luggage handling (included or do drivers assist?), car seats (included or do they cost extra?), airport meet & greet policy (does the driver greet you with a sign in the pickup area of MCO?), grocery stops (whether they’re included, discretionary, and duration), and whether gratuities are included or recommended on top of the base price.

Public Bus – Orlando International Airport has bus stops that are serviced by LYNX local buses. This public transportation is available not only to Walt Disney World, but also Universal Orlando, SeaWorld, International Drive, Downtown Orlando, and a range of other destinations in Central Florida.
We haven’t used the LYNX buses in Central Florida, but are not averse to public transportation. Judging by Google Maps and LYNX’s route map, this seems like a much better option if you’re staying near downtown or I-Drive, which offer more direct routes. (Really, anything to the east of Walt Disney World is better for bus service.) With that said, transit times seem relatively reasonable (~90 minutes from MCO to Disney Springs) but just be aware that you’ll likely have multiple transfers to get to your resort. Probably not ideal with kids in tow, but that’s the nature of public transportation.

Taxi – Available on a walk-up basis at the Arrivals Level (Level 2) on both sides of Orlando International Airport. Taxis may carry up to 9 passengers, and charge the same rate regardless of the number of passengers. All taxicabs picking up at the MCO are regulated by Orlando’s Vehicle-for-Hire Ordinance, which requires fares to be determined by a taximeter. This means there are no flat rates–you’re paying by distance, which typically amounts to $60 to $70 each way depending upon the location of your hotel.
This is another example of where the Mears monopoly comes into play, but there are a handful of alternatives to Mears at MCO. Given the wealth of alternatives, I would not take a taxi from the airport unless really desperate. There’s a decent chance desperation will creep in for some visitors if problems play out with rental car and rideshare services, though…

Rental Cars – This one is pretty self-explanatory, so we’re not going to fixate on the ‘basics’ of it too much. We have an entire post titled Tips for Renting a Car at Walt Disney World that covers the ins and outs of renting a car, along with money-saving tips. If you don’t like waiting at all, like to be in control, and don’t mind driving while on vacation, renting a car is probably for you. This is doubly true if you ever want to leave Walt Disney World property.
When we rent a car anywhere, we typically use either AutoSlash or Hotwire for car rentals and book one of their “blind” Hot Rates. Renting a car can reduce waits and commute times, but we’ve found that sometimes not renting works better for us. Consider your circumstances, how much you want to drive while on vacation, whether you’ll be staying off-site or on-site at Walt Disney World, and how frequently you’ll want to venture beyond the bubble.
Without question, there will be strong demand for rental cars at MCO during peak travel dates. The unknowns are to what degree, whether it’ll exceed supply of available rental cars (and how often), result in more overbookings, and the long-term impact on pricing. If you plan on booking a rental car, it’s wise to lock-in rates as early as possible.

Rideshare – Similar deal here as with the rental car section. Now that they’re reasonably well-established in most cities, we assume most people are familiar with Uber and Lyft–even if you’ve never used them. If not, you can read some of our advice for using Uber and other ride-sharing services in the post Uber & Lyft at Walt Disney World Tips.
In general, we are huge fans of Uber and Lyft, using rideshare services whenever possible rather than renting a car. We’ve almost exclusively switched from renting cars to Uber/Lyft when visiting Walt Disney World. For us, it just makes more sense, is more convenient, and cost-effective.
Using rideshare in tandem with Disney transportation works out really well for us. As with renting a car, you’ll also want to consider your circumstances to determine whether relying on rideshare is right for you.

Ultimately, the end of Disney’s Magical Express has been disappointing to many Walt Disney World visitors, but the good news is that great alternatives exist. Equally as important, there largely are no longer issues with supply and demand imbalances or regular roadway congestion between Orlando International Airport and Walt Disney World.
Mears Connect Driven by Sunshine is absorbing most displaced DME riders, with rideshare and rental cars picking up the rest of the slack. The bad news is that all of these options cost money. Even though the last couple years have been a roller coaster of supply and demand imbalances, this outcome isn’t all that surprising. After all, Disney’s Magical Express didn’t exist until the 2000s–before the days of Uber and Lyft–and people managed to get to and from the airport just fine, and without issue.
With that said, Walt Disney World attendance is up significantly since then (Magic Kingdom alone has increased by ~6 million guests). A lot has changed since Disney’s Magical Express debuted and Disney attendance still hasn’t recovered to 2019 levels, so there could still be disruptions during peak travel dates. Just something of which you might want to be mindful if visiting Walt Disney World during a particularly busy travel time–it doesn’t hurt to hedge your bets and get something booked sooner rather than later.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
What do you think of the various ground transportation options between Orlando International Airport and Walt Disney World? Will you opt for Mears Connect Driven by Sunshine, Uber, Lyft, or renting a car? Thoughts on pricing, efficiency, or anything else regarding airport transportation? What do you think about Walt Disney World ending Disney’s Magical Express? Other thoughts on this? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

Hello and thank you for taking the time to read this. My name is Zain and I’m on of the owners of a company called Eveready Transportation Services LLC. I provide transportation assistance to and from Disney World, Sea World, Universal Studios, Port Canaveral, MCO and Sanford airport. Upon reading your article I believe that if you or anyone that may be reading the article with a larger group would require a higher passenger capacity vehicle and would prefer to ride together rather than split into two or more vehicles. Also the other option would be to utilize the bus service to and from Mco and Disney World. Which isn’t private. I’d love to tell you more of my companies services and history if you’d allow me to. I believe in informing people who plan on traveling to Orlando, FL and how to save money because not all companies have the proper insurance coverage. Safety is the number one priority when traveling with loved ones. I don’t want to seem like I’m marketing my company to you but rather to be able to point out how Uber and Lyft are price wise the way to go when traveling for a small group but they are also not capable of going to special pick up locations like companies as my where it is referred to as meet and greet which is included in all my price. I have plenty to share so feel free to contact me and I’d love to speak with you. Thank you again for taking the time to read this.
At Arroyo Transportation, your get-away ought to begin when you venture out from home. That is the reason we’re committed to making your transportation experience consistent and lavish. Find the enchantment of movement accommodation with Arroyo Transportation, the top-level transportation answer for your number one objections in Orlando and encompassing urban areas. Whether it’s an enchanted excursion to Disney World or a brief pickup from Orlando Global Air terminal, we take care of you.
Disney World Car Service
Thanks for putting together such an exhaustive overview of all the transportation options for getting to Disney World from the Orlando airport. The cost and convenience comparisons between shuttles, rideshares, rental cars and more are appreciated.
Thank you for your generosity in sharing. I genuinely value the fact that you’ve provided us with such an enlightening article, filled with excellent advice presented in a highly comprehensible manner.
Just visited WDW June 4-11, 2023 and used Mears Express – the expensive option that’s supposed to be immediate and direct and it was neither – I could have paid for the standard and likely arrived at the same time. So long leaving the airport from the pick up spot, only to be brought to another pick up spot at the new Jet Blue terminal, for another long wait. No better from Boardwalk Villas back to MCO – driver was almost 15 minutes late. We were a large party – 4 adults, 1 teen, 2 littles and lot of luggage so Lyft wasn’t a good option, but I wouldn’t take Mears (or the “new” Mears Sunshine again).
Big plug for Happy Limo. We’ve used the company two times now and are impressed with the service. $200 round trip plus tip but the driver is waiting for you at the bottom of the stairs at baggage claim. Using Happy Limo in September.
Feeling obligated to unplug that big plug….
Happy Limo did us dirty.
HAPPY LIMO is NOT recommended! NOT SAFE! Both side doors of the van were open, the stool down, and we were instructed to board the vehicle. One person went inside, a second person was halfway in, with one foot on the step stool and the other in the van when the DRIVER DROVE FORWARD 3 FEET!!
The driver said “they” told him he had to move forward. WHAT!?? I’m grateful nobody was hurt, as I was fortunately paying attention, yelled and grabbed the child! There could have been a serious injury. One of us older folks would have gone down for sure. I’ve kindly called the company to speak with the manager SIX TIMES within a week of the incident to resolve/acknowledge the situation and recommend this particular driver receive more training, but have only been put off with one excuse after another. SADLY, HAPPY LIMO CLEARLY DOES NOT CARE ABOUT THE SAFTEY OF THEIR CLIENTS.
Thank you so much for recommending Orlando Transportation by Mike. I sent them over a request last night and I had a response right away. They were so nice and replied very fast. I already have a booking and confirmation from them. I was really starting to panic since MME is no long and especially traveling with kids and car seats. I will follow up after too to give feedback.
Try Macksride Orlando Town Car Service, No luggage problem, Free car seats, Free Grocery stop, MCO to Disney private transportation service
As of now, Sunshine Flyer doesn’t service Terminal C. I flew JetBlue into C and had to take a shuttle to Terminal B.
They use Mears shuttles that hold about 10 people.
Adds about 20 minutes to get to B if you get a shuttle right away.
Mears says they’ll pick you up at Terminal C.
The APM is too far a walk.
Extra steps to keep in mind for Sunshine Flyer & Terminal C.
Is there any wheelchair assistance between these destinations.
Two years ago I was left sitting outside in a bus loading area sitting in a wheelchair for an extensive length of time. I was told there was no assistance outside of the terminal.
The shuttle I was on could not accommodate wheelchairs. Don’t know if they have any that can.
Wheelchairs may have to go all the way to the train station and use the APM.
Didn’t notice anything on the website.
Probably best to call/email MCO.
A note about rental cars – if you rent from either Alamo or National, you don’t have to rent the car for your entire trip. The World Car Care Center at Disney has Alamo and National at the location, so you can rent a car at the airport and turn it in at Disney the next day. Then rent another car to get from Disney to the airport when it’s time to go back home. Going to Disney will be more expensive than going to the airport because vehicle demand will be bigger at the airport than at Disney, but it’s still not bad. All told, it was less than $200 for both rentals in September. That’s a more than Mears, but at least with the rental, we can stop on the way to Disney and do some grocery shopping (which will be cheaper than ordering through InstaCart) and we’ll have it to go off property for lunch and dinner on arrival day (which will be cheaper than eating on property).
This is an excellent point!
It also makes doing a day or two at Universal or SeaWorld at the front or back of the trip easier in addition to everything you mentioned.
Quicksilver tours is definitely not a cheap solution.
Cheapest option i see is 110 each way. Not sure how that beats mears or sunshine by any imagination.
Thanks for sharing. I really appreciate it that you shared with us such informative post, great tips and very easy to understand.
Good article, I appreciate the dated info so I knew it’s up to date.
Honestly, I found all the images of resort & theme park decor to detract from an otherwise good article. Keep the buses, etc, loose the cars characters.
I have used Orlando Ultimate Town Car, i was searching on google to find for car service in Orlando. when they came up on the list, i was really impressed with their reviews, didn’t hesitate to book a reservation online. After i got email confirmations with my trip and also got a Text on my arrival date that my chauffeur was on location when my flight landed. My first perception of this service was telling my husband about it, and we all relaxed knowing that company was there waiting for us. We met driver at baggage claim, our driver was prompt, professional, and made us feel like we were the most important people in Orlando. Return back to MCO we had a free upgrade for and suv and also driver was better than the other one. lol, with service like that, I wouldn’t consider hiring another service!! Top Notch Service!!!
We were there Sept 18-24 2022. Lyft was a few bucks cheaper than Uber. We paid about $50 before tip on Lyft for a one way from MCO to the Contemporary around noon. I got an XL since we had a party of 5. Our bags barely fit! That was a concern of mine which turned out to be valid. Keep in mind while these vehicles are meant for 6 people bags are not considered. Kudos to the driver who made it work! On the way back we booked Mears bus due to having even more luggage with souvenirs. Mears got the job done for $75 total. The driver was extremely rude and unprofessional but he was on time. 3 stops and the departure time was chosen based on our flight time. Long walk to baggage drop off but there are guys there with carts. I prefer ride share for the convenience but please be aware of luggage!
Used Sunshine flyer for first time last week and paid $4 more for the two of us round trip. Have used Mears the past two trips this year. We were kept outside under a concrete bunker in the heat and humidity around 8:30pm. Our bus finally came and we departed MCO around 9:15. Trip to resort was okay. Our return trip pick-up (11:35am) was on time but was not what I call safe by any means. Speeds were close to 80mph at times and you could feel the vibration of the tires. Cut from one lane to the other multiple times and we were not running late. Will not ride this bus again. I have never in the many years I have ridden Magical Express/ Mears now, ever been concerned about how the bus was driven. It is also nice to wait inside the terminal where the temperature is somewhat controlled.
I’ve used Orlando Airport Towncar Service, which doesn’t seem to appear on anyone’s “top” list, but have found them to be excellent. I’ve had the same driver a few times which is fun. In February I paid $60 one way (before tip) which was likely more than Uber or Lyft but the best priced flight from Seattle arrives at 11:59 PM, and at that time of night, the extra expense of having someone waiting for me at baggage claim and leading me to the car is worth the extra cost.
I am pretty sure the sellout on Sunshine Flyer is directly related to their promotion for kids riding free with a paying adult. The purchase by date was Labor a day weekend but your trip could be anytime in the future.
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