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News Disney's Magical Express to end after 2021

aliceismad

Well-Known Member
Disney does not have an attendance problem. There are more people willing to go and pay than Disney can comfortably accommodate.

There are two approaches to resolve this. Disney could increase capacity but this is a long game solution years in the making. It would take billions of dollars to be placed at risk.

Or Disney can reduce the attractiveness of the product in terms of value. Increase theme park parking fees and add resort parking fees and force customers to utilize the service. Many customers on the financial edge are now out. These visitors already had limited funds Disney could extract. This change will increase revenue while lowering expenses. Maybe the resorts go back to being at 75% capacity but when you increase margins it does not matter.

Also, this has been in the works for some time. There is no doubt the huge road infrastructure investment was done with more cars in mind.

Road system capable of handling 20% more cars? Check.
Fees in place to maximize profits from more cars? Check.
Eliminate expense of handling luggage and all the risks that go with it? Check.
Blame the vacationer from wanting flexibility? Check. (although this flexibility would be even greater with MDE)
Start to build an excuse why the internal transportation is eliminated (everyone has their own car)? Check.

We will see reduced services across the board in all areas long before any new service is introduced. And the people will still come.
This is a pretty good point. If Disney can create a situation where they maybe get a few less guests, but have those guests pay a little more, they may be aiming to come out with higher profits and better guest satisfaction.
 

JiminyandTink

Well-Known Member
Yikes, wasn't trying to upset anyone. I also certainly wouldn't equate a discontinued bus service to mistreatment of women.

In any event, the point is we enjoyed Disney long before the Magical Express.

The hard truth is, the service will still probably be there. It just won't be free.
No, sorry I hoped you didn't take it like that, my bad, it was the first example that came to mind. That's why I tried to start my comment the way I did.

My point was that both things can be true, my apologies.
 

TTLUTS

Active Member
Every park opens at least 30 minutes early, every single day and has for years. This is nothing new, nor is it something to crow about like it's something special and exclusive.
Right and I agree, but now you cant get in........Just the hotel guests......so this screws over non hotel AND hotel guests..........

WTH Disney? They need to hire a new PR firm
 

cmb5002

Well-Known Member
I wonder how long until Disney eliminates bus transportation around the resort?

I don't actually think they will eliminate it for various reasons, but I wouldn't be surprised to see them cut back significantly. If Uber/Lyft are more efficient than DME for transport from the airport, why not also just have guests use them to get around Disney property? Especially if they bring back Minnie Vans and can charge guests more money. Plus if it leads to more guests driving and parking their cars at resorts/the parks, then that's even more revenue!

Buena Vista Drive from All Star to Disney Springs can't even handle normal high season traffic .
This. Most of the roads around Disney would not handle the added traffic that internal bus transport alleviates. Replace every bus on the road with 10 cars at peak hours and just imagine how quickly every intersection would fail and have lanes stacking up.

Plus all their accommodations for busses in the recent bag check improvements. I just don't see this, until there's another alternative to busses.
 

Brian Noble

Well-Known Member
You're overlooking one of the key gains of DME - keeping guests 'inside the berm'.
I think the problem of Uber/Lyft/cabs existing was there even with ME in place. I suspect that by this point most WDW guests have experienced using a ride share service and are comfortable enough with it that they could already use it to leave property.

IMO the real issue is rental cars. I suspect that the parking fees are now viewed as a sufficient disincentive to rent a car, when comparing the residual marginal revenue from a captive audience vs. the cost of the service.
 

daringstoic

Active Member
Every trip, I sit and check the rates at the All Stars and Pop vs. the hotels near Disney Springs. I've always made a spreadsheet with rates + resort fees + airport transportation vs. WDW hotels, factoring in Magic Bands and ME. The difference usually comes out to within $20-30 for the stay so I've always gone with a WDW resort for convenience, but this really changes the equation. I'm positive we won't see a corresponding drop in hotel prices even though we were already paying for the service in the room rates.

I've done 4 WDW-only trips with my fiance since we started dating. I think our next one will be time to introduce him to Hogwarts and the rest of Universal since we'll almost certainly be staying off-site and have to rent a car anyway.
 

Disstevefan1

Well-Known Member
Something that makes no sense...
(Unless they are replacing it with some kinda of new "Paid" on demand service.. like Uber)

I mean, really, this makes ZERO sense for a few reasons.. Not the least of which is Disney wanted to keep people on the property, not encourage them to rent car's.
That does sound like Disney. Stop DME then after a short time introduce a “new” service using the exact Mears busses but this time for a price.

Prior to DME Mears had bus round trip transportation to WDW. They will be back I presume.
 
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TTLUTS

Active Member
Last time I went to WDW I did a split stay at Universal. I considered the downside of not having the transportation to MCO included with my hotel, but ultimately the added cost of an Uber ride to the airport wasn't even remotely significant enough to make me reconsider.

I don't think the added expenses and/or hassle of losing ME is going to have a noticeable impact on attendance. It's a small blip when one looks at the cost of a WDW vacation. Disney fans are devoted. It's going to take more than this to send people offsite.

It's definitely a bummer and a degradation of the "Disney magic" that keeps people devoted. It's nice to step off the plane and feel like ones vacation has started. No luggage to deal with. No trying to find transportation. No stress of driving a rental car in a strange city. Just walk to the ME check in, easy and stress free.

Will this have some impact? I'm sure it will. Universal has some nice and affordable hotels, and it's no longer the simpler option to stick with WDW. With resorts charging for parking, the decision to use a rental car in the absence of ME is less appealing.

Ultimately, this offers no upside for guests, but most will not change their habits.
Maybe this one thing doesn't, but when you add no free magic bands, EMH being replaced with inferior product, no FP+, no dining, etc., all of these add up
 

Monorail_Red_77

Well-Known Member
Well, this sucks. The Magical Express was one of the best things about staying in-park. And what the hell is Disney going to do with those busses?

Raise prices and cut services - great business model, Iger. You idiot.
Those Magical Express busses are not owned by Disney, They are owned by Mears Transportation, just like the Disney Cruise Line busses. Both services are contracted through Mears.

Being a local I never used ME, but I always thought it was a great service and part of the magic. Just like Extra Magic hours, etc. Which by the way are also going away. To be replaced with Early Entry which sounds like a failure already as it only let you in 30 mins early.

So much cutting....
 

corran horn

Well-Known Member
You're overlooking one of the key gains of DME - keeping guests 'inside the berm'. While you say it's only minor costs, you've also basically had the guest 'break through' a barrier that kept them in your camp. If they have to buy an uber once... it's alot easier for them to buy an uber twice... etc. Once they have a car, its easier to drive elsewhere, not just their first destination, etc.

DME was a 'win-win' for Disney in that it offered what was a huge monetary value for customers.. and therefor easy to convince customers to 'buy in' and give up other things... like flexibility or mobility. Both to the advantage of Disney. Disney was effectively 'buying' customers to lock-in to the Disney bubble.

Now, Disney is voluntarily giving up their advantage to keep alternatives at bay... effectively moving Disney 'further' from the airport. Seems short-sighted.

If you're gonna have to get a car, why not go to Universal too?

Both short-sighted and also declining by degrees. It's a two-fer!
 

aliceismad

Well-Known Member
Very disappointing decision. Remember when Disney was trying to go green (e.g. no plastic straws)? No they're just packing more cars on the road?
Maybe they're aiming to replace them all with magical electric automatic driver busses. They'll market it as a thrilling, only slightly dangerous journey over the Florida interstate to begin your Disney adventure. $100 per person. $200 if you want them to deliver bags.
 

TTLUTS

Active Member
Disney does not have an attendance problem. There are more people willing to go and pay than Disney can comfortably accommodate.

There are two approaches to resolve this. Disney could increase capacity but this is a long game solution years in the making. It would take billions of dollars to be placed at risk.

Or Disney can reduce the attractiveness of the product in terms of value. Increase theme park parking fees and add resort parking fees and force customers to utilize the service. Many customers on the financial edge are now out. These visitors already had limited funds Disney could extract. This change will increase revenue while lowering expenses. Maybe the resorts go back to being at 75% capacity but when you increase margins it does not matter.

Also, this has been in the works for some time. There is no doubt the huge road infrastructure investment was done with more cars in mind.

Road system capable of handling 20% more cars? Check.
Fees in place to maximize profits from more cars? Check.
Eliminate expense of handling luggage and all the risks that go with it? Check.
Blame the vacationer from wanting flexibility? Check. (although this flexibility would be even greater with MDE)
Start to build an excuse why the internal transportation is eliminated (everyone has their own car)? Check.

We will see reduced services across the board in all areas long before any new service is introduced. And the people will still come.
Couldn't disagree more......Disney doesn't have an attendance problem, but it has in the past and it certainly will in the future..........Don't be naive and think that these things don't affect hotels bookings because they do..........If this economy goes south and inflation picks up and goes through the roof (which is about too in the next 2 years), Disney hotel booking will be greatly affected
 

spresso81

Well-Known Member
It is amazing how much Disney feels like they can keep cutting without driving away customers. I have a 2 YO and new baby on the way. I have been to WDW over 20 times in my life. To think it may be me and not my wife (who never even went as a child) who puts the breaks on future vacations is crazy to think. It is just hard to justify going when most of the old perks are gone, show quality keeps dropping and it is unclear when and how Covid-restrictions will be lifted.

Never mind prices continuing to out pace inflation by a good measure.
 

doctornick

Well-Known Member
You're overlooking one of the key gains of DME - keeping guests 'inside the berm'. While you say it's only minor costs, you've also basically had the guest 'break through' a barrier that kept them in your camp. If they have to buy an uber once... it's alot easier for them to buy an uber twice... etc. Once they have a car, its easier to drive elsewhere, not just their first destination, etc.

DME was a 'win-win' for Disney in that it offered what was a huge monetary value for customers.. and therefor easy to convince customers to 'buy in' and give up other things... like flexibility or mobility. Both to the advantage of Disney. Disney was effectively 'buying' customers to lock-in to the Disney bubble.

Now, Disney is voluntarily giving up their advantage to keep alternatives at bay... effectively moving Disney 'further' from the airport. Seems short-sighted.

Yep.

I don't have an Uber/Lyft app and have only used them with friends who made arrangements. I just don't, in my life, have much of a need for it. Our vacations are using driving somewhere or international and we usually stay in city centers where we use public transportation or walk.

While I don't anticipate doing it for Disney (as I mentioned before, we'd probably do a reserved in advance shuttle), if I ended up putting Uber/Lyft on my phone and used it, I'd probably start using it more. That could change the dynamics of us visiting WDW.

And I'd guess a lot of repeat Disney vacationers - specially those who stay on site - are the types who via inertia just do the same things and avoid change and probably don't use Uber/Lyft since they are used to the "convenience" of having everything included. Disney should want to avoid having to have those people try something new; Disney won't like it if habits change.
 

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