Today Walt Disney World announced via a post on the Disney Parks Blog that Disney’s Magical Express service will be ending in 2022. The service will not be available for arrivals after Jan 1, 2022.
In the posting Disney also announced a new Early Theme Park Entry perk for Resort guests will be starting later this year. Disney Resort guests will be able to enter any theme park 30 minutes early every day. This will replace the Extra Magic Hours which are not returning.
My first impressions of the news:
Magical Express Service Ending:
This news is disappointing to me. The combination of the Magical Express bus, luggage service and resort airline checkin were a huge perk and reason to stay at a Disney Onsite Resort for us. Not having to deal with luggage was a great way to start and end a vacation for us. Disney has not announced any alternative at this time. So guess that means its back to third party services. At some point there will be a train option from the airport to Disney Springs but there will be a gap between when Magical Express closes and that option is available.
New Early Theme Park Entry:
This new Disney Resort (and select other hotels) perk is an interesting change. Instead of selecting one park and adding an hour before or hours after regular park hours Disney is opting for a standardized 30 minutes every day at every park. Disney did not announce a starting date for this new benefit, only saying coming later this year for the 50th anniversary celebration. The post confirmed that the Extra Magic Hours benefit will not be returning.
This program brought to mind the Tokyo Disney “Happy 15” program where their hotel guests get a 15 minute head start every day at both parks. I think this will be a positive in terms of spreading out the crowd. The previous Extra Magic Hour system would many times make the park with those hours substantially more crowded than the other parks. The downside to this is it means less “bonus time”. 30 minutes is a nice head start but it will only translate into an attraction or two for most. This will simplify the planning process as you no longer need to take into account which park on which day will be available for extra hours. Night owls and non early risers unfortunately loose out with this perk as they will no longer have the option for late night visits and will be forced to wake up early on vacation if they want to take advantage of the benefit.