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Old 02-26-2013, 12:10 PM   #1
canlafre
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Magical Express or not

Looking for experiences with taking the Magical Express and staying that the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
My friend is going to WDW for the first time in May with her DH, and two kids (9 & 4). DH hates crowds and waiting (not sure why they are going to WDW then, but anyways) and kids don't have a lot of patients. SOOO.... I have heard that you can be on the ME bus for awhile depending on where your hotel is on the list of stops. So I am looking for experiences and opinions. Last time we went we took a shuttle to our hotel, but that was because we flew into Lakeland...
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:37 PM   #2
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I have never found it a long wait. The bus is comfortable. We went to AKV in October and we stopped at Pop and AoA first. It didn't take too long.
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Old 02-26-2013, 01:13 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canlafre View Post
Looking for experiences with taking the Magical Express and staying that the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
My friend is going to WDW for the first time in May with her DH, and two kids (9 & 4). DH hates crowds and waiting (not sure why they are going to WDW then, but anyways) and kids don't have a lot of patients. SOOO.... I have heard that you can be on the ME bus for awhile depending on where your hotel is on the list of stops. So I am looking for experiences and opinions. Last time we went we took a shuttle to our hotel, but that was because we flew into Lakeland...
Without DME they will wait in the crowd at baggage claim and sit in whatever form of transport they take for at least 30 minutes.

With DME they will skip baggage claim (if they use the service) and may have to wait in line to board a bus or on the bus before it hits the road. They will then be on the bus for 30-60 minutes in most cases.

All told, if you use the DME baggage transfer service you can expect to be at your resort 60-90 minutes after you get off of the plane. If you use a car service or cab you can expect to be at your resort 60-75 minutes after you get off of the plane (assuming no long wait at baggage claim).
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Old 02-26-2013, 01:16 PM   #4
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Ride to the resort itself is not much longer than driving yourself (especially if you are not good with directions and one missed turn could cause a big delay). We used ME 5 times and only once did we have a long line at the airport pickup to our resort, and I'm pretty sure it's because it was Christmastime - so more people to pick up!
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Old 02-26-2013, 01:26 PM   #5
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We have had great experiences both of our AKL stays.

Our current trip (Pop) was 63 minutes from the time the planes wheels hit the ground until we had room key in hand
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:45 PM   #6
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I agree with the PPs estimates of between 60-90 minutes from when you land. You may have to wait at the ME check-in (wait to board a bus) and then wait if the bus is waiting for more passengers. However, I've never had to sit on the bus for a really long time. After that you're on your way and while you drive to WDW there is a "welcome to WDW" video that shows, followed by some old classic Disney cartoons. So, if you primary concern is time, then using ME or a cab isn't going to be substantially different (because of baggage claim).

If you primary concern are crowds, it depends on when you go. The bus could be full or less than full depending on how many other folks are waiting. I'd count on a bus being at least 75% full. If that's to much of a crowd for your DH, then perhaps a taxi/private shuttle would be better.

In terms of cost, well, you can't beat ME. It's included in your resort cost.
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:51 PM   #7
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Personally, I love DME and have used it many, many times. There is sometimes a wait for a bus to leave -- if you're the first ones on, you may be waiting a while. If you're one of the last ones on, it can leave immediately. Then, there will be stops along the way. You might be first, you might be the third stop. Same thing on the way back to the airport after vacation.

My DH is also a hates crowds and hates waiting person. He even prefers to take different routes driving through town to avoide stop signs or stop lights (even if it could actually take longer, but the whole "not stopping" thing makes him think he's making better progress). He is joining me for my WDW trip next week and I chose to stay at BWI so we can walk to two of the parks.

Anyway, your friend's family might be better off with a town car service. They'll have the appearance of moving faster and there will only be their family in the car -- so no crowd.
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:58 PM   #8
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two weeks ago it took me 1 hour exactly from the time the plane landed till the time I got to my room at SSR.

Why pay for transportation when you can do it for free! And online check in is the greatest. It took me 2 minutes to get my room keys!
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Old 02-26-2013, 04:36 PM   #9
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We use ME all the time. It's just so convenient....but I will say that we take our own luggage on the bus with us because you never know how long it's going to take to get it to the hotel room.......if we get there before check in we just leave it at bell services.
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:47 PM   #10
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I love the DME ride. Even if you are not the first resort, you are on Disney property and can get a chance to see what other resorts look like as you pull in there....... it is all part of the adventure...

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Old 02-27-2013, 04:12 AM   #11
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99% of the time we never wait longer than 10 minutes for ME and are all checked in at our resort in under 90 minutes from the time we get off the plane. They could also use bribery with the little ones that there is a movie on the bus but only if they are patience so that they can see all of th rides and shows they can do a WDW.
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Old 02-27-2013, 06:33 AM   #12
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ME is the simplest way to get from the airport to the hotel. There may be a line and some waiting time. But this is mild compared to some of the other lines and wait times they will encounter during their visit.
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Old 02-27-2013, 06:40 AM   #13
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Some timing examples for you (and your friends)....
1. DME to WDW resort......average of 75 mins. Has taken as short a time as 55 mins, but one time it was almost 90 mins.

2. Car service with carryon bag only......45 mins

3. Car service with checked bags.....60 mins

4. Mears shuttle with carryon only.....90 mins

I enjoy using DME. Is it the absolutely fastest way to WDW? No, perhaps not. But, it sure is nice not to have to worry about your checked bags. And it's nice to relax on that comfy bus, watch the Disney promo movie and see a few other resorts on the way to your resort. Taking a car service will cut out about 30 mins, tops, over DME. And it will cost you about $60 one way/$120 r/t.
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Old 02-27-2013, 06:58 AM   #14
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When we go we usually rent a car and use DME. DH picks up the car while I take DME with the kids. We always get to the resort within 5 minutes of each other. That's without any of us picking up luggage. If DH had to get luggage and then drive to the resort he would get there way after us.
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Old 02-27-2013, 07:39 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msjprincess
When we go we usually rent a car and use DME. DH picks up the car while I take DME with the kids. We always get to the resort within 5 minutes of each other. That's without any of us picking up luggage. If DH had to get luggage and then drive to the resort he would get there way after us.
We did this before too and it worked out great...we were also able to get a smaller car (cheaper) because we didn't need room for the luggage.
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