Mears versus Sunshine Flyer

Oh no! The beloved Magical Express has discontinued and is no longer available! This was a complimentary airport shuttle from MCO to Disney owned Resorts. There are now several different options available but all have pro's and con's. The two favorites seem to

be Sunshine Flyer and Mears Connect.


 

Mears and Mears Connect

Mears is a a car service, airport and cruise transfer. When you click the website it brings you to their home page. This lets you check out how to reserve a transfer. Mears Connect is located in Terminal B at the Orlando International Airport in the same space where Magical Express once boarded.


Click Reserve now, then it says "Where can we serve you?" Option one is Florida, second option is Orlando- MCO. Next is where you go to book your ride! For EX- if I were staying at Disney's Contemporary I would select Orlando International Airport, then I would select Contemporary Resort, the date, how many passengers and if I had a promo code. It will then take you to the following page where you confirm if your locations are correct. It will state your pick up location and it will state your drop off location.

There are a few options that you can choose from;

  1. Shared Ride Shuttle- The shared ride shuttle service is an economical transportation option. If you choose this option you will click the link and it will take you to a connecting site Mears Connect. Here you can choose from either their Standard or Express service. Express is direct to your destination and standard means you may be the second or third stop on the way to your destination. The average price for Shared Standard Service at Mears is $16 dollars for adults and $13.50 for children each way! Average $145 dollars for a family of 5. The express is only offered for round trip service and is $250 for up to 4 people. This means you will head direct to your destination with no additional stops.

  2. The other option is a Luxury Service offered by Mears. These include Luxury SUVs, sedans or vans. The average is $156 dollars for a family of five.


After you select which transfer you want a trip summary will come up. Then you will put your trip details in and additional services such as brief stops and if you need a car seat. After that you are done!


Mears Connect is a great last minute option especially if you are flying solo. They almost always accept walk ups and the price is great. If there isn't an Uber or ride share option available right away or the cost is high then walk down to terminal B and see if you can hope a ride on a Mears Connect bus.


 

Sunshine Flyer

The next popular option is Sunshine Flyer. When you click the website it brings you to their home page. This lets you check out how to book, it even has tabs for what to expect, pricing, resorts and FAQs in case you have questions.



Reservations are accepted up until 4 days before service. The Sunshine Flyer starts at 4:00 AM and services flights starting at 7:00 AM. The last bus leaving the airport is at 11:00 pm.


Image from https://sunshineflyer.com/

There are three easy steps to booking!

  1. Booking Details and Flight Information

  2. Provide your flight information

  3. Select tickets then book!

Sunshine Flyer claims that they will get you from MCO to your resort in under 65 minutes! The buses are modern, clean, and spacious, the staff helps with bags at the airport and destination and they have an easy to find location and simple boarding process tool. No ride share lines or surge pricing! They are currently offering a promo where Children Ride FREE through September 5th for ages 3-9.


Pricing for Roundtrip is $32 dollars per adult. For a family of 5 the average through September 5th would be $64 dollars because the children are free.


The buses are beautiful inside and include charging ports at every seat plus seat belts for the future conductors.


This is $81 dollars cheaper then Mears! What's the difference you ask?! Mears transport runs 24 hours a day. So if you have a late arrival of 6:00 PM or later you may want to go with Mears just in case. What if your flight is delayed? You may miss the last Sunshine Flyer bus at 11:00 PM and need to find and pay for another alternative to get you to your destination.


Now that we have gone over the two most popular transfers which would you choose?! And you can book any of these options with your favorite travel advisor at Coasters & Castles Travel!


Which would you choose?

  • Sunshine Flyer

  • Mears

Testimonial:

I got to use Sunshine Flyer for the first time last week. It was just myself and my two boys so with the kids ride free promo it made the most sense! They are located at the far side of Terminal B, all the way on the opposite end of where Magical Express used to be so we had to walk pretty far since our baggage claim was in Terminal A on the other side. Then we checked in right outside at their podium and were told to wait inside until our resort was called. We waited about 15 -20 minutes so not too bad and we were the first stop! Our bus was also going to The Polynesian.


For the ride back I got an email two days earlier that confirmed out pick up time. It was three and a half hours prior to our flight departure. I have TSA pre check so I can skip the regular TSA security lines so I emailed them back to see if I could get a later pick up. Their phone line were not working but they did call me to discuss about an hour later. They were great and were able to get us on a bus for a half hour later than scheduled, but it is always a good idea to arrive to MCO early especially if you have to check a bag. We ended up stopping at two other resorts on our way over so that's good to keep in mind. That can add another 30 minutes to your trip. I spoke to the driver and they actually asked her to swing by to just grab us at Saratoga Springs on her way to Port Orleans so they made a special accommodation just for us.


I also learned that if you are not at the bus stop when they arrive they will call you then give you a minute grace period. After that the driver will call their supervisor and make the decision whether to wait any longer or not. But it's good to know that they will reach out to you first so always provide a good number where you can be reached at and have your phone nearby! But all the staff was fabulous and the buses were beautiful so we had a great time! We got to sit in the front row both times since there was only one or two other parties on the bus with us so my kids loved it!


Melissa Lenox

Gold Vacation Specialist with Coasters & Castles Travel

 

Sydney Burkhart is a Vacation Specialist with Coasters & Castles Travel. She specializes in theme park destinations. She loves Disney the most. Her favorite attraction is Small World and favorite food is Casey's Corner on Main Street.





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