Is The Sunshine Flyer the Magical Express Replacement We’ve All Been Dreaming Of?

by | Dec 21, 2021 | WDW Blog, WDW News, WDW Resorts

Use code BOGO2023 to buy one, get one calendar

Looking for a Magical Express replacement in 2022? The Sunshine Flyer is a new themed transportation service between Orlando International Airport and Walt Disney World Resorts. Scroll on for details and our review.

The Most Magical Place on Earth can be surprisingly stressful to get to and from. And in 2021, Disney announced that it would be discontinuing its Magical Express transportation service between Orlando International Airport and Walt Disney World Resorts in 2022, potentially making the journey even more of a pain.

But now, a new ride option between the airport and WDW is available. It’s called The Sunshine Flyer, and it looks to be a fantastic way to start off your next Disney vacation. So is this the Magical Express replacement we’ve been waiting for?

What Is the Sunshine Flyer?

The Sunshine Flyer offers a unique way to travel to Disney from the Orlando airport. The vehicles are modeled after old-fashioned locomotives or passenger cars, and staff will be dressed as 1920s rail conductors and engineers.

the-sunshine-flyer-5_wdw-transport_magical-express-replacement

Photo courtesy of The Sunshine Flyer

Each bus will provide entertainment for the entirety of the journey. And, even better, The Sunshine Flyer will support Make-A-Wish Central & Northern Florida by donating 50% of ticket sales for the first 50 days of service to honor the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World.

the-sunshine-flyer-_wdw-transport_magical-express-replacement

Photo courtesy of The Sunshine Flyer

How Can You Get Tickets?

The Sunshine Flyer began operating on Feb. 1, 2022. Tickets are available at TheSunshineFlyer.com.

Note: Reservations are accepted up until four days before service.

How Much Does It Cost?

You can either buy a one-way ticket or a round-trip ticket, depending on your travel plans. The prices are as follows:

  • One way: $17 per adult; $12.50 per child (3-8 years).
  • Round-trip: $34 per adult; $25 per child (3-8 years).

    the-sunshine-flyer-3_wdw-transport_magical-express-replacement

    Photo courtesy of The Sunshine Flyer

Where Is The Sunshine Flyer Located?

Once you land at Orlando International Airport, follow signs to the Ground Transportation area in Terminal B, Level 1.

After checking in at the desk, you’ll be directed to your vehicle. Wait time is no more than 20 minutes, and the total ride time will be no more than 65 minutes.

the-sunshine-flyer-4_wdw-transport_magical-express-replacement

Photo courtesy of The Sunshine Flyer

the-sunshine-flyer_wdw-transport_magical-express-replacement

Photo courtesy of The Sunshine Flyer

Avoid disappointment by booking your airport transportation aboard The Sunshine Flyer today.

REVIEW: The Sunshine Flyer Is a Magical Disney World Transportation Option

WDW Magazine Communications Director, Tatjana Lazar, recently took a gifted ride from Walt Disney World to MCO via The Sunshine Flyer. We asked her to provide a review of her experience. Here’s what she said:

While waiting for my ride back to MCO from Pop Century, I witnessed a number of buses and car services pulling up to carry guests off to the airport. They were mostly generic and not very memorable vehicles.

But when my purple Sunshine Flyer coach, named The Starfish, pulled in, I was pleased to say, “Oh, there’s my ride!”

purple-sunshine-flyer_magical-express-alternative_lazar

This purple Sunshine Flyer bus was Tatjana’s transport from Pop Century to MCO. Photo by Tatjana Lazar

The fun paint job and friendly driver helped me feel like the Disney magic wasn’t quite done yet.

 

After handing my bags over to be loaded into the coach, I climbed aboard. The bus was about 50% full, so I knew it had already made a number of pickups before coming to Pop Century.

 

I found a window seat and settled into a plush and comfy chair for my ride to the airport. The coach made just a couple more stops to pick up guests at Art of Animation and Caribbean Beach before heading off to its final destination.

chairs-seating_sunshine-flyer-magical-express-replacement-disney-world_lazar

The chairs were so comfy. Photo by Tatjana Lazar

Along the way we were treated to some cute animated shorts featuring trains. It’s worth noting that these were not Disney animations, but Max Fleischer shorts. They did help pass the time though! Especially since I’m not able to look at my phone or read in moving vehicles without getting motion sick.

 

When we arrived at MCO, we parked in the area formerly occupied by Magical Express, and our driver unloaded all our luggage.

 

I did get the chance to see the blue Sunshine Flyer, named The Manatee, while I waited for my luggage.

 

There are a number of Sunshine Flyer coaches, and each one has a different paint job. So be sure to challenge your travel companions to a guessing game of which color will be picking you up on your future Sunshine Flyer rides!

 

Overall, my experience with the Sunshine Flyer was quite pleasant, and I would absolutely consider using them on my next Walt Disney World vacation.

Other Magical Express Alternatives

Mears is the main replacement for Magical Express, and while it’s been operating out of Orlando longer than The Sunshine Flyer, we’ve got to admit it doesn’t feel as magical as The Sunshine Flyer.

Alternatively, we’ve also tried out Quicksilver Tours and loved it. It’s pricier than The Sunshine Flyer, but it’s private and comes with stops at a grocery store. And, you know, you may end up in a limo. 🤷

Thank you to The Sunshine Flyer for our gifted ride from Pop Century to MCO during a recent trip to Walt Disney World!

Not sure if you’re going? You can just get more information about a potential Disney vacation.

Destinations To Travel 2021 Disney World ReservationsKnow your dates?
Disney Travel Agent Quote
Just need advice for now?
Disney Vacation Planning Help

Disney’s Magical Express Is Ending Starting With Arrivals In January 2022

No More Magical Express? Try Quicksilver Tours for Your Disney Airport Transportation

Written by Catherine Hiles

epcot-clothing_creations-shop_chiu
Catherine Hiles is a mom of young kids and therefore an avid Disney+ watcher. While it's her kids who request Disney soundtracks to play in the car, she often finds herself driving solo while belting out "Into the Unknoooooooooooown!" She also enjoys eating and running, although not at the same time.
Catherine Hiles

Written by Catherine Hiles

Catherine Hiles is a mom of young kids and therefore an avid Disney+ watcher. While it's her kids who request Disney soundtracks to play in the car, she often finds herself driving solo while belting out "Into the Unknoooooooooooown!" She also enjoys eating and running, although not at the same time.