With the elimination of Magical Express, what are your options for transportation to and from the airport? Read this review of Sunshine Flyer to see if you may want to use this option in the future.
One of our readers recently used the Sunshine Flyer option for transportation to and from the airport. They were gracious enough to share their thoughts! For more information on this service and pricing details, see our post HERE.
See the full review below:
I just visited Disney World and decided to book travel in the Sunshine Flyer for our commutes to and from the airport. I figured I’d give you guys my review since it’s such a new service.
First of all, I booked the service in late December as soon as I heard about the service. My confirmation number was 45. So that tells you how early I booked! My trip was scheduled for February 2 to February 7, 2022. I was literally one of the first people to ride the bus!
When we arrived at the airport, there were still a few signs that said “Magical Express” around the airport. Obviously the airport hasn’t gotten around to changing them all. This was still helpful because I knew the new services all pick up in the same location as the Magical Express did.
I did have trouble finding the Sunshine Flyer though. It is NOT in the exact same place. Instead it is all the way at the other end of the big hall. There was zero signage to let you know where to go. So it took awhile.
Once I got there, the check in process was very archaic. Zero technology was being used, and zero boarding passes were looked at. Instead, the lady had a clipboard with all our names printed out. She marked us out with a highlighter when we got on. It felt like we were getting on school bus field trip.
The bus itself was very nice and clean. It was well themed, and the driver was dressed up like a train engineer. There was only one other group on the whole bus. That group had some kids and they were wearing a sunshine flyer hat which had clearly been given to them by the engineer. That was nice to see. The trip to the resort was uneventful.
The way back was completely different. We were supposed to be notified 24 hours in advance about when exactly our bus would pick us up. We never got an email. I had to call the company mid-day while I was enjoying EPCOT, which is not ideal. When I got them on the phone, they told me that the email should arrive between 24 hours prior and 7 hours prior. I don’t know if that is normal, but it is definitely different from what my confirmation emailed said.
In addition to this, they told me my bus would arrive at 12:15 pm. I said that can’t be correct because my flight leaves at 12:52. He put me on hold and checked things out. After a few minutes, he apologized and said my bus would arrive between 9:00 and 9:15 am. I’m honestly not sure what would have happened if I hadn’t called.
When the bus arrived at 9:15 am, it was not themed. It was just a normal bus with a massive sticker on the side that said “Sunshine Flyer.” You could still read the graphic under the sticker, and it said “Empire.” I’m not sure what Empire is, but it’s probably the name of a bus manufacturer.
The bus itself was clearly brand new, which was nice. However the check in process here was even more clunky than the first one…if you can believe it. There was no clipboard or bus tickets. Instead, the bus driver was literally on his phone talking to someone who was confirming the riders. He asked us what our name was, and he then relayed that information to whoever he was taking with.
During the drive to the airport, the bus driver was not wearing a mask which was a bit weird to me. I didn’t really mind it, but if Sunshine Flyer is going to require us to wear masks, it should be required for the drivers to wear one as well.
Clearly they have a lot of kinks to work out. I hope they get it together. Right now this is a hard “would not recommend” rating for me.
Have you taken a trip on the Sunshine Flyer yet? What are your thoughts on it? Please share your experiences with us in the comments below and on Facebook.
I was not impressed with Sunshine Flyer. We had a long wait to board a bus to get to our
resort from MCO. There was no place to sit while we waited outside. Staff seemed frazzled and disorganized. Next time I will use a different service.
After reading the reviews of Sunshine Flyer verses Mears, I am worried about my trip in November. I think I will have to shell out more money for a safer trip using Uber or cab. Tell me what you think.
I was able to take a ride myself and here are my thoughts: https://www.kennythepirate.com/2022/04/28/review-is-the-sunshine-flyer-the-best-option-for-disney-world-airport-transportation/
Overall I think Sunshine Flyer has done an outstanding job given the high demand for it right at the beginning.
I almost cancelled our Sunshine Flyer reservations because of this review, but decided to try it for myself. Our trip was in March 2022. Overall it was very positive and I would use sunshine flyer again. On our arrival day, our plane was delayed by several hours. I wasn’t sure if it was going to cause problems with the bus, but they were really great about it, we just showed them our reservation code and they let us on the bus. Just a note that at the time of our trip they were still using a clipboard. When you are looking for the bus you have to go OUTSIDE to check-in, they are on the B side of the airport opposite end where the Magic Express used to pickup. We had a “train” bus both times. The bus appeared to be brand new, it was very nice. Cheesy old cartoons played on the tvs. We did not receive conductor hats but I saw other passengers with them. We were the first resort to be dropped off so I can’t say how many other stops there were. As for the end of the trip, I was nervous about receiving confirmation on pick-up but I received a text message and email the day before. On the day of pickup we were told to be outside our resort at 9am, the sunshine flyer arrived at 9:15. There were already passengers on the bus and we stopped at Art of Animation after us so there were at least 3 pickups. We arrived at the airport with plenty of time. The driver was great. We had a group of 6 of us and we are not light packers so there is no way we could have fit in one Uber. So this was a good option for us. Of course I miss Disney Magic Express but this is a decent alternative.
Agree- terrible experience. Avoid! I wish I would have researched prior because it seems their poor service is consistent!
Here we come Happy Limo!!!
As a bus driver this sounds like they may only own one or 2 buses and are faking it until they make it. The empire buses are them just subletting random buses in the area to pretend like they are sunshine drivers. Disney does this also with the charter buses filling in for the real transport resort shuttles. Any bus like dynamax, academy mears and several others picking up at resorts are 3rd party rentals as a similar case as sunshine seems to be doing.
Just use Uber XL + Car seat especially if you have kids. (XL without kids) Slide down on the price screen to see it. They put it way on the bottom. Paying for 2 Uber rides is way more efficient cheaper and faster than any of these bus options if you need more room.
Be careful with Mears as well……. they completely forgot to pick us up for our return to MCO even with the confirmation email stating what time to be ready.
We took the trip on Feb 7th. Horrific customer service, pick up schedule for 4 hours prior to flight and guy called to say bus was there 25 min earlier than time they told us (which we didn’t receive until 11p the night before). Told him we had just sat down to eat at QS at resort and he said the bus would go to another resort and be back in 15 minutes. FIFTY minutes later it showed up, after my son and I had gotten indigestion eating our food so fast to be ready for them 15 min after the phone call. Aaaand they only drop off at Terminal B, so if you’re flying anything other than Delta be prepared to walk…with your luggage. I’m sure they have a lot of kinks to work thru still, but we won’t be taking them again.
We had the same experience finding them in the airport upon arrival. It wasn’t pleasant. The driver wasn’t dressed up,but a woman who was assisting was. On our reservation back to the airport, they scheduled us to be picked up TWELVE hours before our flight. What?? I called, in the middle of being in magic Kingdom. The guy was clueless. He said we don’t run as late as your flight leaves, so that’s why it’s AM. I said this wasn’t mentioned when I booked. No one informed me, and we’d need to be picked up at 7pm… that’s not like midnight buddy..well needless to say I had to call twice, literally 5 minutes apart, and the guy said everyone left for the day..I JUST talked to him.. then a few minutes later he said, oh you talked to me. Seriously?? He wasn’t pleasant at all. I canceled, he said we’d get a refund.. they messed up not me. No refund yet. They need to get their act together if they think they’re going to compete with Mears.
We used Sunshine Flyer Feb 5-12. Both times no themed bus just regular, no paper hats for kids, and no videos playing. The service was quick going . However, on the return trip our driver seemed confused where all the resorts were located. We were picked up at 1:30 from Yacht Club for a 5 o clock flight, after other stops we arrived at the airport around 2:25. The one thing I would say is to have more organization at pickup area.
I had no problems at all with sunshine flyer. Our situation was different, we had a flight cancellation and i had to call them to update. They were on time at the Port Orleans resort to pick us up. We used mears connect for the trip from airport to Port Orleans French quarter resort and it was on time. I am not worried about how they checked me in to get on the bus.
Thanks I’ll be using Mears Connect.
Both trips with Sunshine Flyer to and from the airport were both red Empire buses. Zero theming and entertainment on board, my kids were so disappointed. Both drivers seemed confused about locations for pick up and drop offs, made wrong turns and we were late getting back to the airport. Really wanted this to work out with losing the Magical Express. I hope they get things figured out, but even so, we won’t be using them again.
We had a very similar experience on our trip Feb 1 – Feb 8. Getting to the pickup location at the airport was hard to find, but thankfully we randomly saw some people holding sunshine flyer signs and we followed them. Seemed odd. Then we had to wait about 30-40 min for a bus to arrive to take us to the resort – they were kind about this delay and gave our kids nice toys and all adults a Starbucks gift card to compensate. The bus to the resort was themed and they had TVs inside showing vintage Mickey cartoons which our kids enjoyed.
The departure experience was also much like yours. Didn’t get any confirmation about when we would be picked up. We called but they told us we would be notified in 1-2 hours – but nothing ever came. Got back to our resort to pack up and get ready for the leaving the next day while also trying to call them to get info on pickup time. We received their voicemail recording several times before actually getting through to someone. Then when I did get through to someone finally, she could not tell me anything about my pickup time and was pretty unprofessional in her responses. The best she could do is give me an email address to contact to find out my departure time. I did not think the email route was going to work, but at that point we had no other option. They did eventually email us back with a pickup time and claimed their auto communication system must not have been working properly. We were skeptical about whether they’d show up or not but they did. But the bus that showed up was just like you described only ours was an Academy bus with a Sunshine Flyer sticker slapped on one side – but ours was not brand new on the inside. And the TVs weren’t on with cartoons for the kids on the way back. Felt like a big bait and switch when comparing arrival and departure rides. I also would not recommend unless things change for them. Definitely not the same vibe they give off in their cute little promo video.
We have reservations on the Sunshine Flyer the end of May. I hope they have all the bugs worked out by then!
Worried about future travel
Scratch that! Seems Sunshine Flyer is the competition to Disney Resort package transportation:( I look forward to hearing from you again when you are back in town regarding the experience!
Oh no! This sounds so sad. :( I hope now that Disney is officially adding The Sunshine Flyer to resort packages that the experience (& operations) will get better. Thank you for your first hand feedback.