Should Disney’s Magical Express Get Added to Disneyland

Magical Express #1

That is today’s question of the day: Should Disney add Disney’s Magical Express service to Disneyland?  For those that travel to Walt Disney World frequently and use the Magical Express service, like myself, it is a wonderful thing.  It takes the worry of getting your luggage, rental car, worrying about traffic, etc. away from your vacation.  You can focus on getting on the bus, getting to your resort, and starting your vacation.  So, why hasn’t this service expanded to Disneyland in California?

There Are Many More Airports to Fly Into

Just looking at the “Getting to Disneyland From the Airport” section of the Disneyland website, it lists six airport options for people to fly into.  For Walt Disney World, there are only two airport options (Orlando International and Sanford Airport) and Disney only provides service to and from Orlando International.  Six airports mean six different places to get clearance from the airport to run a shuttle service.  Also, six airports means the people flying to resort and spread out over a wider area and not condensed into one place.  This means the shuttles could travel to/from the airport only half full and, in long run, turn to revenue drag on Disneyland as running buses could be a profitable industry for Disney.

There Are Not As Many Disney Resorts at Disneyland

Disneyland only has three Disney-run resorts (Disneyland Hotel, Grand California, and Paradise Pier) compared to 17 resorts, 9 DVC resorts, and 1 campground.  Disneyland could offer Magical Express to the “Good Neighbor Hotels” that are around Disneyland.  But this is a problem on two fronts: 1) There are A LOT of “Good Neighbor Hotels” around Disneyland and 2) Those hotels are not wired into the Disneyland hotels reservation system.  The second point is more problematic than the first one.  Without being wired into the “Good Neighbor Hotels” reservation, Disney does not know how many people are arriving/departing on any given day.  This would make logistics in terms of bus management difficult.  Disney would not know how many buses it needs for the “Good Neighbor Resorts.”  The three Disneyland resorts would not be a problem but adding service to the “Good Neighbor Hotels” would be difficult.

LA Traffic is Much Worse than Orlando Traffic

Los Angeles traffic, especially at rush hour, is much worse than Orlando traffic.  Again, this is another monkey wrench into Disney bus logistics.  In Orlando, Disney knows within a couple of minutes when a bus is going to arrive at a resort on its journey from the airport.  In Los Angeles given its traffic woes, Disney would not have that certainty of arrival.  While it’s not a big deal when a guest arrives, it is a big deal on departure.  A big traffic jam could lead to a delayed bus and a delayed bus could lead to a missed flight.  The guest would blame Disney for the missed flight and Disney, without the right legalese in the Disneyland Magical Express agreement, could be on the hook for the guest’s expenses due to the missed flight.  Disney is not in the business of handing out money for missed flights.  This reason is probably the killer for Disney’s Magical Express at Disneyland.

The first two reasons have some positives to outweigh the negatives.  Missing a flight and the bad PR that could along with it makes Disney’s Magical Express not worth it for Disneyland.  It’s a great idea in theory but sometimes the greatest ideas in theory do not work in practice.  Disney’s Magical Express at Disneyland is one of these ideas.

Thanks for reading!

May 11, 2015 Edition of the Behind the Magic Podcast

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