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Mears Connect Disney World Airport Shuttle Guide

There are several options for getting to and from Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Walt Disney World Resort.

Your options include rental cars, taking a taxi cab, taking a ride share like Lyft or Uber, or taking a shuttle service, such as Mears Connect or the Sunshine Flyer.

In this post, I’ll go over the most popular option: the Mears Connect bus.

What is Mears Connect?

Mears Connect is a shared ride shuttle service that provides door-to-door transportation to and from Walt Disney World Resort hotels.

Visitors can enjoy the convenience of being dropped off at their resort and then picked up by Mears Connect without having to worry about driving or parking in busy areas.

If you’re familiar with Disney’s previous service, Mears is actually operated Magical Express for Disney!

How much does Mears Connect cost?

Photo of a MEARS Connect coach bus with a manatee graphic on the side.

The cost of Mears Connect depends on what type of shuttle service you want.

Standard service is a shared ride on a motor coach with stops at multiple resorts. Express service is also shared, but goes direct to your chosen resort.

Standard round-trip fares start at $32 per adult (age 10+) and $27 per child (age 3-9). Children under three years old ride free with an adult ticket holder when traveling on standard routes.

One-way tickets are available for half the round-trip price.

Express round-trip fares start at $250 for up to four people, plus $55 per person after 4, plus tax.

For example, if you were to book express service for a family of 5, the cost would be $305 plus tax.

There is no surge pricing when using Mears Transportation Services – even during major holidays and other busy seasons.

The price will always be the same throughout the year, no matter what time of year you visit. I love that!

Eligible Hotels & Resorts near Walt Disney World

Photo of signage outside Disney's Pop Century Resort at Disney World.

Mears Connect services a vast number of Walt Disney World resorts and other hotels in the immediate Disney area.

As of February 4, 2023, all Disney resorts are eligible:

  1. Animal Kingdom Lodge, including the Villas at Jambo House and Kidani Village

  2. Art of Animation

  3. All-Star Movies

  4. All-Star Music

  5. All-Star Sports

  6. Beach Club Resort

  7. BoardWalk Inn & Villas

  8. Boulder Ridge Villas

  9. Caribbean Beach Resort

  10. Contemporary Resort, including Bay Lake Tower

  11. Copper Creek Villas & Cabins

  12. Coronado Springs

  13. Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, including the villas

  14. Old Key West

  15. Polynesian Village

  16. Pop Century

  17. Port Orleans – French Quarter

  18. Port Orleans – Riverside

  19. Riviera Resort

  20. Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

  21. Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser

  22. Wilderness Lodge

  23. Yacht Club

In addition, guests staying at nearby resorts listed below are eligible:

  1. B Resort & Spa

  2. Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort

  3. Gaylord Palms Resort

  4. Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace

  5. Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista

  6. Holiday Inn Orlando – Disney Springs

  7. JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort

  8. Orlando World Center Marriott

  9. Shades of Green at Walt Disney World Resort

  10. Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek

  11. Waldorf Astoria Orlando

  12. Walt Disney World Dolphin

  13. Walt Disney World Swan

  14. Walt Disney World Swan Reserve

  15. Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek

  16. Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs

  17. DoubleTree Suites By Hilton Orlando Disney Springs

As if that wasn’t enough, Mears is working on adding more hotels and resorts in the future!

How to book the Mears Connect bus

To book a ride, simply fill out the form on the Mears Connect website.

You can book up to 24 hours in advance and make changes up until then as well.

Be sure to check the terms and conditions for cancellations and refunds before making a reservation – some restrictions may apply if you change your plans!

Where to find the MEARS Shuttle at Orlando Airport

Photo of a sign pointing to the MEARS Shuttles at MCO airport.

When you arrive at Orlando International Airport (MCO), collect your luggage at baggage claim if you checked any. Then head straight to the shuttle boarding area.

Although Disney’s Magical Express bus service did not require you to collect your own luggage, Mears Connect does.

Thankfully, though, they are looking into bringing luggage service back in the future. No word on when though, but I’ll be sure to keep you updated via this post.

The Mears Connect shuttle is located in the same location as Disney World’s former Magical Express shuttle waiting area.

To find it, go to Terminal B, Level 1, where the Ground Transportation level is located. Follow signs that guide you to “MEARS Shuttle.”

Typically this will mean exiting the terminal after arriving at MCO airport, then going down 2 separate sets of escalators.

The escalators are not aligned, so it’s not immediately obvious; once you go down the first set, you’ll need to walk diagonally to the right to get to the second set escalator.

Check in and boarding

Photo of the waiting area for the Mears Connect Disney World Airport Shuttle at MCO.

The day before service, you’ll receive an email with your “ticket,” which has a QR code on it.

You’ll also receive a text message with a link to this ticket about 15 minutes before your flight is scheduled to land.

Follow the directions listed in the section above to get to the Mears Shuttle boarding area.

Scan the QR code on your ticket at the scanner machines next to the check in host. If you have any troubles, one of the hosts will assist you.

For example, I couldn’t get my ticket to scan – but once one of the hosts helped me out, we determined that I was holding my phone too close to the scanner, so it couldn’t read the whole code.

From there, you’ll be directed to a line to wait in, based on your resort.

Another host will direct you to a bus outside the waiting area once one becomes available.

Wait time to board the bus can be anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes on average. But I think I only waited 10-15 minutes max!

NOTE: Car seats and booster seats are allowed, but not required on the bus.

All in all, it took roughly 30 minutes, give or take, to get from the airport to Pop Century. Getting to your preferred hotel might take longer or shorter, depending on where you’re staying.

What are the buses like?

The Mears Connect motor coaches are similar to any other coach bus, just like Magical Express.

The only big difference is that instead of Disney characters on the side of the bus, you’ll see a colorful mascot.

Each bus has its own mascot, modeled after an animal from Florida, such as sea turtles, dolphins and manatees.

Overall, the buses were very clean and comfortable. If you have luggage, the bus driver will assist you with storing it under the bus, as well as retrieving it once you arrive.

Return ride to Orlando International Airport (MCO)

Pick up from your resort is scheduled roughly 3-4 hours before your return flight departure time; approximately 3 hours before domestic US flights and 4 hours before international flights.

If you booked standard service, your pick up time might be slightly more than 3-4 hours, depending on where your resort is on the bus’ return route.

For example, I stayed at Pop Century the first time I used Mears Connect. My resort was first on the pick up list and thus my pickup time was 3.5 hours before my flight time.

Pick up locations for return service to MCO airport is the same as the drop off location.

In my experience thus far, the pick up and drop off point was the exact same spot as it was for Disney’s Magical Express.

However, I can’t guarantee it will be that way for every resort that is eligible for this service, so if you aren’t sure where to wait, ask the front desk staff at your resort.

Mears Connect vs Sunshine Flyer

Both Mears Connect and Sunshine Flyer are shared bus shuttles between the Orlando airport and Disney area hotels and resorts.

Here’s how they compare:

Mears ConnectSunshine Flyer
Hours of Operation24/7, except for select holidays4 AM to 11 PM
BookingUp to 24 hours aheadUp to 4 days ahead
Pricing for standard service$32 round trip from adults 10+
$27 round trip for kids 3-9
Free for kids 3 and under
$39 round trip for adults 13+
$22 round trip for kids 3-12
Free for kids 3 and under
ServicesStandard and Express shared busStandard shared bus and private shuttle
Mears Connect vs Sunshine Flyer Comparison Chart

In a nutshell, if you’re traveling with kids, the Sunshine Flyer will likely be a less expensive option for you. But if you’re traveling with just adults or a solo adult, it will be a bit more expensive.

Mears Connect vs Uber or Lyft

Mears Connect is a shared bus service, which means it’s cheaper than Uber or Lyft.

In fact, on average, an Uber or Lyft ride will cost about the same one-way as it does for a round-trip ride on Mears Connect or Sunshine Flyer!

That said, it will be a flat fee for the ride versus per person. So if you’re traveling with more than 2 people, it might work out better for you.

Is Mears connect worth it?

Mears Connect is a great option for those traveling on a budget and looking for a safe, reliable ride.

It’s also perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to deal with parking or driving themselves to or from Orlando International Airport.

Mears Connect is just one of the many transportation services available in Orlando, so be sure to look into other options as well before booking your trip!

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