ORLANDO, Fla. — The trip from Orlando International Airport to Walt Disney World marks the beginning of a “magical” vacation for many theme park fans.
What You Need To Know
- Sunshine Flyer is a new airport shuttle service that takes visitors to Disney World resort hotels
- The buses have designs that are themed to rail transportation from the 1920s
- The service comes after Disney ended its Magical Express service after more than 15 years
In years past, visitors could use Disney’s Magical Express, the complimentary shuttle service, to get to their resort. But the service, which began in 2005, ended earlier this year.
To fill the void, a few other services have popped up, offering visitors different ways to get from the airport to the Disney World resort hotels — but they’re not free.
There’s Mears Connect, operated by Mears, the same company that operated Disney’s Magical Express service.
And then there’s Sunshine Flyer, which officially began service this month. It’s a partnership between Transportation Management Services (TMS), Academy Bus Lines and Empire Coach Line. TMS alone has 25-years’ experience providing transportation for large events such as the FIFA World Cup and the NBA Finals.
When executives found out Disney’s Magical Express was ending, they saw an opportunity.
“There are more options in the travel world, with rideshare and everything, but that doesn’t fit for all families,” Sunshine Flyer vice president Tony Glibkowski said. “We always thought that the model of motorcoach transportation is that it’s worked in its simplicity, and it should continue to work going forward.”
Sunshine Flyer is offering a themed travel experience. The buses are designed after 1920s rail transportation, such as locomotives or passenger cars. And no two buses will have the same design. The theme extends to the drivers and staff, who are dressed as conductors and engineers.
On board the bus, there are USB chargers and a restroom. The TVs above the seats play silent black-and-white cartoons and trivia.
The buses also are wheelchair/ECV accessible, with a lift at the back of the bus.
Sunshine Flyer has about 12 wrapped buses in its fleet, with more being added in the coming weeks. By June, the company hopes to have about 35-40 buses.
The company is using technology to make routes are operating as efficiently as possible.
“We have a dynamic routing system that doesn’t just pick up and drop off at all the routes in a circle, that’s inefficient,” Glibkowski said.
According to its website, passengers will not have to wait “more than 20 minutes to board the bus” once they enter the Sunshine Flyer staging area.
“The ride to the resorts is scheduled so the last stop will not take more than 65 minutes,” the website says.
As far as pricing goes, it’s $17 for adults for a one-way ticket and $34 for round trip. For children ages 3 to 9, the cost is $12.50 for one-way and $25 for round trip.
For more information, visit sunshineflyer.com.