Gone! Magical Express at Walt Disney World, Plus Other Consequential Announcements

Gone! Magical Express at Walt Disney World, Plus Other Consequential Announcements

Walt Disney World made two major announcements that affect not only guests staying on property but also annual pass holders. It was announced that Disney’s Magical Express providing complimentary airport transportation to and from The Walt Disney World Resort will be discontinued in 2022. Also announced was Early Theme Park Entry that will replace Extra Magic Hours that provided exclusive resort entry into the parks at designated times both before and after you enter the park. John and Lori Scali join me as we look carefully at both of these announcements, and discuss their implications. Moreover, we’ll look at how these events speak to the way you provide your customer experience.

Our podcast carries narrative of the entire experience to include our insights and discussions. The announcements are listed below as well as lessons for your organization. You can find the podcast here on PodbeaniTunesSpotifyMyTuner, and ListenNotes. Please subscribe!


For nearly 50 years, Walt Disney World Resort has continued to evolve the guest experience to best suit the changing times. As we plan for the future, we are looking at how needs and preferences are changing across the travel industry, particularly in the way people want to get places faster, at their convenience. 

Vacationers have more options to choose from than ever for transportation, including ride-share services that save time and offer more flexibility to go where they want, when they want. In light of this shift, when Disney Resort hotel bookings open for stays in 2022, we will no longer offer Disney’s Magical Express service for airport transportation, starting with arrivals Jan. 1, 2022. We will continue to operate the service for new and existing reservations made at Disney Resort hotels for arrivals throughout 2021. Additionally, complimentary transportation options – such as buses, monorails and Disney Skyliner – will continue to be available within Walt Disney World Resort for Disney Resort hotel guests, including to and from all four theme parks.

While we are retiring this option, we’re introducing some new ways for guests to enjoy their visits, while reimagining others:


  • Return of the Park Hopper Option: We kicked off a new year with the exciting milestone of bringing back the Park Hopper option, with some new updates as part of our ongoing focus on health and safety. With the return of this option, guests can enjoy more Disney magic in our theme parks, including the Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts happening now through Feb. 22, 2021 and the Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival springing to life beginning March 3.
  • Special Vacation Offer: For those of you ready to start planning your next vacation, we just released a special new offer! Get two extra days added to your ticket when you buy a 4-night/3-day room and ticket package at select Disney Resort hotels for arrivals most nights Jan. 8 through Sept. 25, 2021. Also, visit DisneyWorld.com/Offers to learn more about other great offers we recently launched for visits to Walt Disney World Resort.


  • Early Theme Park Entry: We know how much guests enjoy extra park time, so coming later this year as part of our 50th anniversary celebration, Disney Resort hotel guests and guests of other select hotels will be able to enjoy more fun with 30-minute early entry to ANY theme park, EVERY day. It’ll be a great way to get a jump start on your Disney day, no matter the day! As a reminder, the Extra Magic Hours benefit was suspended when Walt Disney World Resort reopened last summer, and as we continue to manage attendance with health and safety top of mind, Extra Magic Hours will not return. The new early theme park entry benefit helps us better spread visitation across all four theme parks, while providing added flexibility by giving guests extra early park time on each day of their vacation and in the park of their choosing. Please note that guests need valid admission and a park reservation made via the Disney Park Pass system to enter a theme park.

As with every other change we’ve made in our history, we will help guests navigate through these next steps and will continue to deliver on what’s expected from a Disney experience. We remain focused on exploring new ways for guests to spend more time with their friends and families and creating memories to last a lifetime.

Souvenirs for Your Organization

Ask yourself these questions as they relate to you and your business:

  • How do you craft an experience that gets your customers to stay with your products and services and not your competitors?
  • How are you creating value by the way you package the experience?
  • Are your decisions made on a whim? Are they made based on poorly collected data?
  • When you remove products and offerings, does it chip away at the entire customer experience?
  • Are you willing to accept feedback from your customers on the decisions you make?
  • How is one decision affecting one customer segment impacting other customer segments?

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Also, make sure you check out our new Patreon program where you can get access to exclusive podcasts, videos and interactive apps! With its various tiers there’s something for everyone, and that includes exclusive Disney insider interactive experiences. Proceeds in the first three months go to help furloughed, laid off and homeless folks here in the shadows of Walt Disney World. Check it out on Patreon!

J. Jeff Kober