Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 24
  1. #1

    • Disneyholic
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,621

    Disney Magical Express or Towncar?

    Ok will be going to WDW in about a month and am still debating wether to call a car service like we usually do or try the magical express. Here are my concerns:

    1. We are flying SouthWest, which is not one of the "participating" airlines and not 100% sure how it will work.
    2. I have heard horror stories of lost/delayed luggage.
    3. We really like the grocery stop offered by the towncar/limo services since the cost savings on water/breakfast items usually cover the cost of the service.
    4. It looks like a glorified Mears bus service which we have had issues with in the past.
    I would be interested in other's opinions who have used the Disney service and not flown on the Disney "partner" airlines.
    Hi I'm Jerren and I'm a Disneyholic...

  2. #2

    • Banned User
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Orlando
    Posts
    14,940

    Re: Disney Magical Express or Towncar?

    This is a hard question because experiences from one person to the next on D-Express or any particualr airline varies.. I would tell you to do what's convenient for you and hope for the best.

  3. #3

    • MiceChat Round-Up Crew
    • Godwin Glacier, Alaska
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Posts
    7,773

    Re: Disney Magical Express or Towncar?

    Lemme think about this a moment...

    Get on a bus with a herd of strangers




    or


    Settle back in a luxurious private towncar.



    Hang the cost... at this point it is spitting in the ocean. Given the choice between public transportation or a private limousine... I don't have to think about it very long.
    "Yesterday, a man walked up to me and said, 'Isn't it a shame that Walt Disney couldn't be here to see this?' and I said, "He did see this, that's why it's here."
    -Art Linkletter July 17, 2005-


    When you wish upon a star your dreams come true.


  4. #4

    • Self Congratulative
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Glendale, CA
    Posts
    667

    Re: Disney Magical Express or Towncar?

    Well DME IS Mears. So that might help out a bit. Personally I'm not a big fan of DME just because the baggage system is overloaded. As more and more people are using the system, more and more people are losing luggage. I usually get a towncar and I think, after using DME a few times, that I'll stay with a towncar.

    Heres another way to look at it:
    Say your flight arrives at 7pm and you want to enjoy the parks some before they close. With a towncar you can head right to the resort or wherever you need to go. With DME, you wait. Sometimes the wait can almost be an hour long. It's definitely not magical and definitely not express.

    I just may have had some sour experiences on it, but then again, I've heard this from others as well. I'd say if you have the money for a towncar or limo, do it.

  5. #5

    • MiceChat News Team
    • Thanking the Academy
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Cartoon Wasteland
    Posts
    4,828
    Blog Entries
    68

    Re: Disney Magical Express or Towncar?

    I had a very good experience with DME in February. The line for the bus was not long--it kept moving and I was whisked away in no time. My luggage arrived later that evening, which could've been an issue, but I had my "essentials" in my carry-on.

    I thought DME was an excellent service.

  6. #6

    • Frustrated A/V Engineer
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Dallas
    Posts
    3,344

    Re: Disney Magical Express or Towncar?

    Also keep in mind that DME just upped the time requirement at the end of your trip. Your bus now will pick you up at your resort FOUR HOURS before your flight time. Seems a bit much.

  7. #7

    • loves a silver lining
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Anaheim
    Posts
    15,597
    Blog Entries
    25

    Re: Disney Magical Express or Towncar?

    We just got back this past Friday. We used a limo service when we arrived at the airport since we were going to the Nick Hotel for 3 nights before checking into Coronado Springs. The limo was great, no wait and we were off. We had a grocery stop so we were able to get water and such.

    My cousin met us there on Sunday and he used DME, his luggage didn't get there for hours.

    We then used DME to return to the airport, we were supposed to be there 3 hours prior to flight time, but there was issues with our vouchers, we never received any for our kids and that was a hold up, the bus was pretty packed before we even got on, we barely made it on. And there was some issue with Jet Blue/Coronado and we had to check the luggage ourselves, no biggie but still.

    I preferred the car service. It was quick, our luggage was right there and it was easy. I would go with that again over DME. IMHO



    Delta Mu Chi Alpha ΔΜΧΑ

  8. #8

    • Disney Memory Maker
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Kissimmee, Florida, United States
    Posts
    8,671

    Re: Disney Magical Express or Towncar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerren
    We are flying SouthWest, which is not one of the "participating" airlines and not 100% sure how it will work.
    There is no difference getting to WDW. The only difference is that on the way back you'll have to carry your luggage.
    I have heard horror stories of lost/delayed luggage.
    If you look for horror stories, you will find them. But if you look for wow-it-was-great stories, you'll also find them (much easier may I add).
    We really like the grocery stop offered by the towncar/limo services since the cost savings on water/breakfast items usually cover the cost of the service.
    The trade-off is that it's free.
    It looks like a glorified Mears bus service which we have had issues with in the past.
    I too have had issues with Mears (especially wait times), but not once have I had an issue with DME.

    Personally, I think DME was simply fantastic. When I got to the DME area, I saw a huge line, but that line moved incredibly quick (maybe 2 minutes on line max). In the time Mears helped one person, DME helped about 10. The wait for the bus was about 10-20 minutes (considering it was the crowded summer months, I'd say that's pretty damn good. The trip to the resort was about 40 minutes (nothing they can do here).

    As for the luggage time, that was different both times. The first time the luggage actually beat us to the room (and we got a room right away). The second time it took about an hour after we got the room. They do tell you to give the luggage about 2-3 hours to get there max (and if you get to the resort really late at night, you have to call them).

    If you are in an incredible rush and don't mind paying the money & lugging your luggage, go for the towncar. If on the other hand you want to save some money (you can possibly use on souveneers), let the Disney magic start from the airport and not want to lug around the luggage, by all means use DME (and the video they show on board is very funny).
    “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” - Walt Disney

  9. #9

    • New Member
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    178

    Talking I'm a HUGE DME fan!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerren
    Ok will be going to WDW in about a month and am still debating wether to call a car service like we usually do or try the magical express. Here are my concerns:

    We are flying SouthWest, which is not one of the "participating" airlines and not 100% sure how it will work.
    There are always a lot of misconceptions about this. "Participating" airline ONLY has to do with the trip back home, and ONLY has to do with luggage handling on the trip back home.

    EVERYONE on EVERY AIRLINE gets the exact same DME services on arrival. There's absolutely no difference in DME service due to airline, on the arrival leg. You get special DME luggage tags that you affix to your checked luggage before you leave home. You won't see this luggage again until it's delivered to the inside of your resort room. You get to totally skip baggage claim.

    Now, for the trip back home, airline matters. There is something called "Resort Airline Check-in" (RAC), which is actually a totally separate entity from DME. People flying "participating" airlines can check their luggage at their resort's RAC desk, and also check in for their flight and receive their boarding passes. The RAC desks are open from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Check-in must occur no later than 3 hours before flight and no sooner than 12 hours before flight, so those taking very early morning flights out of MCO can't use RAC.

    For those not using RAC, they just take their own luggage to the front of the resort (or have Bell Services do it for them) and then the driver will load it under the bus. When you arrive at MCO, the driver will unload it for you, and then you go check-in with your airline as you would any time you fly from anywhere.
    Quote Originally Posted by jerren
    I have heard horror stories of lost/delayed luggage.
    Such "horror stories" are mostly urban legend. There have been over 3 million users of DME thus far, with VERY few incidents. Are there a few horror stories out there? Probably -- no system is perfect. But there have been ALMOST NO PROBLEMS. The problem is, people read your post saying you've heard there are all kinds of horror stories, they tell this to other people, it spreads like that, and POOF -- an urban legend is born.

    If DME was so bad, it would be dead by now. It was supposed to end with the end of the Happiest Celebration this fall, but it has been extended through at least 2011. Sounds pretty popular and successful to me.

    Here's how the luggage handling works, to give you an idea of the sophistication of it all.

    a) Bags are off-loaded from the aircraft. Most of the major airlines drop off yellow tagged luggage at designated drop off points where they are then picked up by a different contractor and taken to a sorting facility. These drop off points are supervised by Disney CM's.

    b) Not all airlines use the drop off points. Many of the smaller ones just leave it to Disney CMs working behind the carousels pulling the yellow tagged bags off and setting them aside to be picked up and taken to the sorting facility. DME-tagged bags do not go out on the baggage claim carousels.

    c) In addition, there are Disney CM's assigned to every airline to catch the bags that the larger airlines missed taking to the drop off point. They also check every unclaimed bag against a manifest to insure that the bags are found even if by chance the guest forgot to put on the tag or it fell off (highly unlikely).

    d). All of the bags are scanned (the DME tags have barcodes) when they get to the sorting facility, again after they are put in a locked cage and again when the cage is put in a delivery truck.

    e) The delivery trucks all have GPS devices and their location can be pinpointed at any time. The computer knows which cages are on which trucks, and which bags are in which cages.

    f) The bags are scanned again when they arrive at the resort and again when taken to a guests room.

    g) Disney is well aware of where the bags are at all times. As you can see above, each bag's tag is scanned 5 times during its journey.

    h) If a bag is delayed the resort will call a central DME office at the airport to begin the process of tracking it down. DME will take the responsibilty of finding your bags for you even if it was lost by the airline and never arrived at MCO in the first place. This saves you from having to wait in line and fill out forms in your airline's baggage office.
    Quote Originally Posted by jerren
    We really like the grocery stop offered by the towncar/limo services since the cost savings on water/breakfast items usually cover the cost of the service.
    You can also get a grocery delivery from at least 3 different services. This way, you get the savings of a grocery stop WITHOUT the expense of the car service.
    Quote Originally Posted by jerren
    It looks like a glorified Mears bus service which we have had issues with in the past.
    mears is involved, but Disney is in firm control of the whole thing.

    DME uses several subcontractors. One of them is Mears. Mears provides the buses and drivers, but Disney does all of the decision-making and policy-making. Think of it as Mears is the muscle but Disney is the brains. It's a bus service with Disney's special flair for customer service.

    In the old Mears days, Mears did all of the planning and dispatching. They waited until buses filled up, plus you had to wait outside, they made all kinds of stops along the way, and it was often a pretty decent mess. DME is completely different. The buses wait no longer than 15 minutes before leaving, but this often doesn't occur because DME knows who is going to show up when (you need advance reservations, you can't just walk-up, unlike the old Mears system), so if they know almost everyone they're expecting is already there, the bus leaves.

    Also, DME makes no more than 4 stops. Four is rare, however, it's usually 2 or 3. And the stops are VERY brief.

    Here's what DME is NOT: it's not private, it's not personalized. If you want to be pampered, if you want just your family in the vehicle with you, if the idea of a chauffeur holding up a sign with your name on it makes you feel like you're truly starting your vacation off the right way, then by all means DME is not for you. But if you want quick, reliable, FREE transportation, then DME is great!

  10. #10

    • Disney Memory Maker
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Kissimmee, Florida, United States
    Posts
    8,671

    Re: Disney Magical Express or Towncar?

    Oh and most of those "horror stories" were from the service's first month of operation. They have fixed many things since then.
    Quote Originally Posted by danyoung
    Also keep in mind that DME just upped the time requirement at the end of your trip. Your bus now will pick you up at your resort FOUR HOURS before your flight time. Seems a bit much.
    Is this due to the security increasements (liquids, etc)?
    “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” - Walt Disney

  11. #11

    • New Member
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    178

    Cool Re: Disney Magical Express or Towncar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taggart
    Well DME IS Mears.
    DME is NOT Mears. Mears provides the buses and the drivers. Disney provides the management. There are several other subcontractors in addition to Mears, such as ARINC (computer technology and logistical planning) and BAGS Inc. (homeward bound baggage handling).

    The old-fashioned Mears service was substandard. What was it that people didn't like about it? Was it the buses themselves? Was it the drivers themselves. Probably not. The worst thing about it was the way it was run, the way it was managed, the way it was conceived as a service. Well, Mears has nothing to do with running DME, nothing to do with managing DME. Mears provides the buses and the drivers, Disney runs the rest of the show.
    Quote Originally Posted by taggart
    Heres another way to look at it:
    Say your flight arrives at 7pm and you want to enjoy the parks some before they close. With a towncar you can head right to the resort or wherever you need to go. With DME, you wait. Sometimes the wait can almost be an hour long. It's definitely not magical and definitely not express.
    I VERY, VERY STRONGLY DISAGREE.

    The average reported time from plane landing to DME resort drop-off is 70 minutes. For me, I didn;t count from the plane, since we made multiple stops along the way, but I timed it from the time I got into the DME line until I was dropped off at CBR. It took me 53 minutes. That's darn good time, and that puts me right around the average mark, if you include whatever time it would have taken me to get from the plane to the DME Welcome Center line.

    How long would it take with a car service? Let's break this down, shall we?

    Let's say 10 minutes to get off the plane, walk to the baggage claim area. Let's say you wait at baggage claim for a total of 15 minutes until you have all your bags (and this is generous, because we've ALL waited much longer than that, ESPECIALLY during one of those Central Florida thunderstorms, because the MCO rampers don't work outside during htreats of lightning). Then maybe at least another 5 minutes for your driver to leave you to get the car from the garage and pull it up. Then another 5 minutes to load the luggage, dispense with any paperwork, etc. Then it's about 30 minutes or so driving time no matter what vehicle is bring driven, bus or towncar. 10+15+5+5+30=65 minutes.

    Take off the initial 10 minutes from plane to baggage claim, for comparison to my case, and call it 55 minutes. I made the trip in 53 minutes. I beat this typical example by 2 minutes.

    People who insist that DME is slow are either not talking from experience, or are not talking from the collected experience of literally MILLIONS of satisfied customers. Are there exceptions to my rosy picture? Of course there are! But there are exceptions to everything. The point is, for the VAST MAJORITY of DME users, DME was great.

    I made it to my resort quickly (on a crowded Mother's Day afternoon), so I'm thrilled that I didn;t pay for a car service to get me to my resort quickly. Also, I got a grocery delivery, so I didn't miss out on saving money with a grocery stop.

    PLUS, a grocery stop takes time, doesn't it??? Usually 20-30 minutes if I'm not mistaken. I didn't have that delay. I got to my resort on the Express!

  12. #12

    • New Member
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    178

    Re: Disney Magical Express or Towncar?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDisneyInquisitor
    Oh and most of those "horror stories" were from the service's first month of operation. They have fixed many things since then.
    Is this due to the security increasements (liquids, etc)?
    Yes, DME upped the pick-up time when the new security measures came online. It's because it's taking longer to clear security. Longer lines inside the airport means having to show up earlier.

    Before the change, the standard DME pick-up was 2.75 to 3 hours before flight, and the standard car service pick-up was 2.5 hours prior. So yes, taking a car service would have saved you 15 to 30 minutes. Personally, I'm not willing to pay about $120 for an extra 15 minutes or so, but that's just me. If I ever start earning $480 per hour I'll let you know if I change my mind.

  13. #13

    • Member
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    The Colony, TX
    Posts
    743

    Re: Disney Magical Express or Towncar?

    Personally, if I came off the plane and wanted to get to WDW as quick as possible, I'd take the towncar. You still have to wait for your luggage, but they'll help you with the luggage and put it in the car for you. And the service is direct.

    But if you're not on a strict schedule, I'd go with DME. It's free, it's comfortable and they'll take your luggage directly to the resort. I can't really speak from too much experience. I usually rent a car and have only used it once. And we had carry on luggage only, so we didn't have to worry about losing luggage. We landed around 6:30 and went to the buses and were the only ones there for about 20 minutes or so. And when you're trying to get to the hotel and check in so you can get to the MK for early entry, it's frustrating, but in the grand scheme of things, 20 minutes wasn't too bad. We were staying at Pop Century and our driver stopped there first. It wasn't a bad experience at all.

  14. #14

    • New Member
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    178

    Re: Disney Magical Express or Towncar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerren
    I have heard horror stories of lost/delayed luggage.
    Another thought on the so-called horror stories, to put it all in perspective.

    There are many people who simply don't do their homework and don't know how to prepare for using DME. There are people who had no idea that there would be a lag between their arrival and the delivery of their checked luggage. I've read people telling "horror stories" that they had a dinner ADR scheduled for 30 minutes after their arrival at their resort and didn't have their dinner clothes because the dinner clothes were in their checked suitcases. Or the young parents who were irate because their baby's formula was in the checked luggage (this before the latest security restrictions). But if those people had known what to expect, there would not have been a problem. The horror story in each of these cases was not that DME didn't work well, but rather that the people didn't know how DME worked.

    Allow me an illustration as an example. When you go into a table-service restaurant (anywhere, not just in WDW), you understand that there is a lag between the time you walk in and the time you are served your food. You know this in advance and you control for it by not having your kids totally famished before going in, or bringing crackers or something for them to nibble on while waiting, etc.

    But just imagine if you didn't know about the time lag. Let's say you expected food IMMEDIATELY as soon as you walked in. Someone who expected this would post the following "horror story:"

    "You wouldn't believe how terrible this restaurant was. First off, we had to wait a minute or two to talk to the hostess and you know what happened? She asked my name and gave me a beeper and told me I was going to have to wait 10 or 20 minutes for a table. I thought this was pretty horrible and rude, but we did it because we needed to eat. Then when we got seated at out table, FINALLY, our waitress wasn't waiting there for us. She sauntered towards our table about 2 minutes later like nothing was wrong! So I was already annoyed with her for that. Then we had to look through the menu and order. Well, that was reasonable, but the dang waitress didn't wait by our table while we looked at the menu, we had to wait another 5 minutes for her to come back. GEEZ! And you wanna know what was the WORST thing??? After we ordered our food, it took 15 MINUTES until our food was served to us. What were they doing, killing the cow back there? I order food, and they take their good ol' sweet time getting it to me. NEVER AGAIN!"

    Of course this example is absurd, because we all know that when we go into a table-service restaurant there are certain things that we must wait for, and we expect that and control for it.

    SAME WITH DME. IF YOU KNOW THE LUGGAGE WILL ARRIVE ABOUT 2 HOURS AFTER YOU DO, YOU EXPECT IT AND CONTROL FOR IT. I don't know about the rest of you, but no matter where I fly I always pack a carry-on with the assumption that the airline will delay my luggage. This way, I'm always prepared and I won't let a luggage delay affect the beginning of my vacation. Since I do this anyway, a DME lag of about 2 hours is pretty meaningless to me. And since you don't have to wait for your luggage, you can just go and have fun. When my luggage arrived inside my room, I didn't know it because we were in the pool with our kids enjoyng the start of our WDW vacation! We packed our swim things and a change of clothes in our carry-ons.

    I used DME on its 4th day of operations. I did my homework, I knew what to expect, and I was completely satisfied. I'm happily using it again in November.

  15. #15

    • New Member
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    178

    Re: Disney Magical Express or Towncar?

    If I had carry-ons only, NO CHECKED LUGGAGE, and minutes were truly precious, then sure, I'd take a car service. Without having to wait at baggage claim, I would assume that a car service would consistently take less time than DME.

    With DME, the wait in line at the DME Welcome Center and again in the bus queue is pretty much a wash with the car service procedure of waiting at baggage claim and then waiting for the driver to return (although DME COULD BE significantly quicker if there are delays at baggage claim).

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. [News] Changes to Disney Magical Express Service
    By Jerren in forum Walt Disney World Resort
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 02-19-2009, 02:10 AM
  2. [Question] Magical Express
    By MadameGracey73 in forum Walt Disney World Resort
    Replies: 39
    Last Post: 06-07-2008, 03:53 PM
  3. Magical Express?
    By clockworkmonkey in forum Disney Cruise Lines
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-30-2008, 05:53 AM
  4. Disney Magical Express
    By Loomis in forum Walt Disney World Resort
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 01-06-2008, 04:53 PM
  5. Disney Magical Express, how reliable is it?
    By Charmed-One in forum Walt Disney World Resort
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 09-20-2007, 04:32 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •