Disney’s Magical Express is a shuttle and check-in service that has been available at Orlando International Airport for nearly three years now. Apparently, it is so popular and luring the business of so many tourists that other companies are really getting their feathers ruffled. Rumblings of an antitrust lawsuit are even going around.
In 2007, Disney transported more than 2.1 million passengers from the airport to its resorts and cruise ships. That is a significant increase from 2006. Peak seasons see the Magical Express buses to Disney World and Port Canaveral carrying over 12,000 passengers per day. During September of 2007, one of every seven people who landed at Orlando International Airport took Disney’s Magical Express to their destination.
From the point of view of a tourist planning to visit Walt Disney World, Disney’s Magical Express is just that – magic! It is a free service provided to Walt Disney World resort guests so there is no additional charge for airport to hotel transportation plus you have somebody who will take care of your luggage for you. Hmm…Let’s think about this. They’re going to drive me to my hotel and handle my luggage for free? I don’t have to wait at the baggage carousel; fight the crowds; rent a luggage cart; wait in line to rent a car; take a bus and my luggage to my rental car which is parked a mile away; and all the while trying to ride herd on my kids who are screaming “Are we there yet”?
That’s a no-brainer!
As a side note, Disney also has a Magical Express return-flight check-in option. Guests can check in for their flights home and drop off their luggage before they even leave Disney property. Another no-brainer.
The only problem with all of this is that it is putting smaller companies out of business. Small operators with limos, buses and vans for hire that used to do a bustling business to Walt Disney World from the airport are now going out of business or leaving OIA because they simply cannot afford to compete with the Disney machine.
What do you think? Is it progress, convenience or monopoly?