On January 1, 2022, the western world will turn the page on a new calendar year. But for visitors to Walt Disney World, that date will also mark a significant change: the official shutting down of Disney’s Magical Express. Could that date mark be the end of the so-called “Disney bubble” for good?
Since the coronavirus pandemic took hold last year, the phrase “Disney bubble” has become linked to the NBA bubble that was situated on Disney property. But before that, the “Disney bubble” used to refer to the fully immersive experience some visitors opted to pay for on trips to Walt Disney World. In short, for those who were staying on Disney property, the park offered Disney-branded transportation from the airport, so guests could theoretically partake in Disney-only experiences from the moment they picked up their bags at the Orlando airport.
That transportation, called Disney’s Magical Express, still exists, and will still be operational until December 31, 2021. But according to Attractions Magazine, Disney’s Magical Express is going offline on January 1, 2022.
“As consumer needs and preferences change, we will no longer offer Disney’s Magical Express service starting with arrivals in 2022,” a Walt Disney World Resort spokesperson said in a statement. “At the same time, we’re also introducing new ways for guests to enjoy their visits, including early theme park entry for Disney Resort hotel guests.”
After January 1, 2022, the “Disney bubble” will officially be punctured. There was no concrete reasoning given for the closure of this service, but it seems odd for Disney to leave money on the table by closing this down – you’d think the company would want to offer that complete immersion (and yes, take as much money from people as possible) in as many areas as they can. We have to assume the pandemic factored into this decision, and assuming things get significantly better, I wonder if the bubble will be rebuilt in a post-COVID world. But for now, the dream of a fully immersive experience from the airport to the hotel and parks and back dies in 2022, and Disney fanatics will just have to get a cab from the airport like the rest of us.
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