Archive for Tips

Tips On Using Disney’s Magical Express

Magical Express is a great service that Disney offers free to their resort guests.  Magical Express offers transportation to your resort and back to the airport.  There are a few added benefits that add to the experience over other shuttle services.  First of all, it is a free service.  So be sure to have your travel agent add it to your reservation if you are flying.  You simply need to provide your travel agent with your flight numbers and carrier, and you are good to go.  Besides it being free, Disney will also handle your luggage for you.  Details about the program are below.

Several weeks prior to your vacation you will receive a booklet in the mail that looks like this:


Along with the booklet, you will find luggage tags.  There should be luggage tags for each person in your party.  If you need more tags, or didn’t receive enough for everyone in the party, call 866-599-0951.  You can also call this number if the flight information in your booklet changes or is incorrect.  If you put the yellow tags on your suitcases before leaving home, Disney will pick them up at the airport for you and deliver your luggage to the resort.  If you use these yellow tags, it is very important that you put anything in the carry-on that you might possibly need for several hours after arriving at your resort.  Put the yellow tags on your luggage (one per bag) at home before checking your bags at your home airport.


If you would rather collect your luggage yourself, DO NOT PUT THE TAGS ON THE SUITCASES.  Putting the tags on your luggage will mean you don’t see it until the resort.  When you arrive in Orlando you can head straight for the Magical Express Welcome Center, if you used the luggage tags.  If you did not use the luggage tags and want to get your luggage, stop at the baggage carrousel and claim your luggage before heading to the welcome center.  If you arrive after ten PM, you must pick up your luggage and do not use the tags.  You will not receive your luggage that night if you use the tags.  If you have a later flight, but arrive before ten, you will receive your luggage that night.  Keep that in mind, as you may be receiving your luggage at midnight for a late evening flight.  Plan on three hours to get your luggage.

If you for some reason do not have your luggage tags, but want Disney to pick up and deliver your luggage, take your baggage claim tickets with you to the welcome center and skip Baggage Claim.

Inside the booklet, you will find directions as to where you will go when you get to the airport.   When you arrive, proceed to the main terminal.  You will look for the B side of the airport.  Take the escalator or elevators down to level 1.  You will pass several car rental counters.  Magical Express is at the end.  If you have your booklet, proceed to the queue area beyond the counter where you will be asked for your booklet.  If you have not signed up for Magical Express or did not remember to keep your booklet with you, then go to the counter.  Only one person in your party needs to do this.


When you arrive at the queue, they are going to want to see the vouchers in your book.  They will also ask you how many pieces of luggage you checked and are having delivered to the resort.  If you opt out of using the yellow tags, tell them that you have your luggage with you.  If you didn’t have tags, but don’t have your luggage with you, provide them with your baggage claim tickets.  You will be directed to a line and wait to load a bus.  The buses will stop at several resorts.  When you get to the bus, the driver will need to see your vouchers.  Be sure to have them out and ready.  If you have luggage to load, the driver will load that.  Otherwise, you are free to get on the bus.  The driver will make sure to announce when he/she is at each resort so you know which stop is yours.  When you arrive at your resort, people will get off of the bus before the driver unloads the luggage.  Please note it is customary to tip the driver.  If you have luggage, more is appropriate.  If you do not have luggage, you are free to go to the check-in counter at your resort.  As you are walking to the registration area of the resort, chances are good that you are going to walk past the bell/luggage services part of the resort.  This will be beneficial to know where it is at for your return home.


Departing from your resort back to the airport it quite easy.  The day before departing you will receive a letter on your door regarding your pick-up time.  The pick-up location is the same place that you were dropped off.  You need to be at that location at the stated time, which is 3 hours prior to your flight domestically and 4 hours prior internationally.  You will be dropped off at one of several locations at the airport.  The driver will give directions.  Once at the airport you will proceed to the airline counter and follow normal procedures.  If you do not receive a letter on your door, call the front desk.  They can assist with this.

Disney’s resorts offer Resort Airline Check-In at the resort for domestic flights on certain airlines (see below or in your booklet for details).  This service is available to all resort guests, regardless if they are using Magical Express.  The procedure is very similar to checking in at the ticket counter at the airport.  If you are using Magical Express, your boarding passes should arrive along with the letter in your room.  There will be instructions on how to pay your baggage fees, if any.  If not, just head to the counter that is located outside the resort, which is where you must go to drop off your luggage.  Make sure that you have everything out of your suitcases, because this is the last time that you will see them until you get home.  It is also appropriate to tip for these services.  This will save you the time of standing in line at the airport.  Once you have arrived at the airport, you simply go to security.  This service is offered during the hours of 5 AM to 1 PM.  You must check in at least three hours prior to your flight and no more than twelve hours prior to your flight.   When you arrive at the airport, you will have plenty of time to get through security, shop a bit, or grab a bite to eat.


Departure days can seem problematic with check-out times and departure times not coinciding.  There is an easy solution to this at a Disney resort.  Luggage service can store your luggage and carry-ons for you.  If you have a later flight, just have them hold them and continue with your day.  Be sure to give yourself a few extra minutes to pick these items up before the Magical Express bus arrives.  Pick up for your return trip to the airport picks you up at the same place it dropped you off.

All artwork ©Disney

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Dieting at Disney – Easy or Impossible?

When you think of vacations at Disney you probably don’t think about dieting. If you are like me, you are thinking of Mickey Bars and cupcakes from Starring Rolls.  Let’s face it dieting on vacation isn’t all that fun.  But healthy eating at Disney can be done will just a few adjustments.

Weight Watchers posted a blog about some adjustments you can make to stay on track and not come home with the dreaded “vacation 5″.  (That’s five pounds, if you can’t read my mind.)

(The article is mistaken about where to get some of the items or where restaurants are located – but I will cut the author some slack – they were probably hungry at the time they were writing.)

Heavyweight Nightmares—and Lighter Bets

Below, PointsPlus Target busters to plan for, sidestep or be certain to share with others:

In the Magic Kingdom

PointsPlus Target buster: Huge medieval-style smoked turkey leg (each weighs up to 1.5 pounds and has a reputed 1,000 calories) at Lunching Pad.

Lighter bet: Veggie wrap at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café.

PointsPlus Target buster: Brownie sundae from Mrs. Potts’ Cupboard — the number of PointsPlus values is way too high for something you order from a window and eat standing up. Leave an indulgence like this for a nice table, where you can savor every bite.

Lighter bet:  Citrus swirl (vanilla soft serve with orange slush) from Sunshine Tree Terrace. Or try a fruit smoothie, sold at most WDW table-service restaurants; Disney trimmed calories by 70 percent about three years ago by switching to nonfat yogurt and real fruit purées.

PointsPlus Target buster: Funnel cakes from Sleepy Hollow.

Lighter bet: Pineapple spears and juice from Aloha Isle.
At Epcot

PointsPlus Target buster: Caribbean Pork Ribs with Chipotle-Vanilla Glaze and a side of Shutters’ Potatoes at Shutters at Old Port Royale, Caribbean Beach Resort.

Lighter bet: Greek salad and Kouzzina appetizer sampler with chicken skewers and grilled pita at Kouzzina by Cat Cora, Disney’s BoardWalk.

PointsPlus Target buster: Coffee Margarita — made with two liqueurs, coffee, banana and ice cream — at La Hacienda de San Angel (Mexico Pavilion).

Lighter bet: Skinny Margarita with salt on the rim.

In Animal Kingdom

PointsPlus Target buster: French-fry basket at Flame Tree Barbecue.

Lighter bet: Fruit plate with honey yogurt at same BBQ hot spot — for a cooling starter, side or finish.

PointsPlus Target buster: 1/3-lb Angus cheeseburger at Restaurantosaurus.

Lighter bet: Veggie sub with provolone at same place (skip the sweet-potato fries, or share with the table).

Insider tips from Orlando-area Leaders “I love Epcot, and it’s truly Weight Watchers–friendly, with big open spaces for scenic walking and delicious food. You can find all sorts of healthy items, including portion-controlled options like hard-boiled eggs and side salads. I usually eat at the Land because they grow their own produce on-site and have a wide assortment of fresh foods to choose from. Or else I make a pit stop in Japan for sushi rolls.” –Stephanie Statuto
“You can bring your own food into Disney World or buy fresh fruit in the parks. Kids can choose healthy fruits with their meals, and grown-ups can find grilled chicken, rotisserie chicken, veggie burgers, turkey sandwiches, tuna pitas and veggie flatbreads. I also like the oatmeal and the noodle bowls with stir-fried veggies at Sunshine Season Food Fair in the Land Pavilion at Epcot.” –Kerri Ginel 


And don’t forget about exercise on vacation!!!  There is no need to actually workout at the resort fitness center – just go to the Parks!!!

Walk. The average guest logs 5 to 6 miles a day — probably without even realizing it! Check this chart for the typical distance between popular areas.

Path (Point A to B) Distance (miles)
BoardWalk Resort in Epcot area to Disney’s Hollywood Studios 0.9*
Around Barefoot Bay at Caribbean Beach Resort in Epcot area 1.4
Magic Kingdom entrance to Space Mountain 0.5
Animal Kingdom entrance to Safari 0.9
Around World Showcase Lagoon (Epcot international pavilions that surround the water, including Canada, United Kingdom, France, Morocco, Japan, The American Adventure, Italy, Germany, China, Norway and Mexico) 1.2
*All values are approximate.


See.  That was painless and you will still have fun on your vacation without wrecking your diet.

Happy, Healthy Dining and Snacking!!!


Tips for Walt Disney World Grocery Delivery

Tips for Walt Disney World Grocery Delivery from Shop The Magic

Photo courtesy Disney ©

We get asked all the time “What should I order?”  So here are a few tips to help you when deciding what to have delivered to your resort.

  • Order snacks that you can take to the parks or home with you if you don’t finish them.  Granola/cereal bars, gummy snacks, crackers, etc.
  • Order a case of water.  One bottle on property is $3.50.  You can get a whole case for that!
  • Sunscreen, and a lot of it.  It’s hot and sunny down here and the little bottles you carry on the plane don’t last long.
  • Baby items such a diapers take a lot of space in your luggage.  Let us deliver them.
  • Celebrating a special occasion?  We can deliver cakes and other baked goods.
  • Enjoy an alcoholic beverage in your room.  Relax in your room and don’t pay the inflated resort prices.
  • Food allergies and dietary restrictions are no problem.  Tell us what you want.

Shop The Magic charges the exact price of that item in the store.  If it’s on sale, you are charged the sale price.  If it’s BOGO (buy one get one free) you get 2.

Don’t waste precious vacation time shopping for groceries, go have fun!
Your order will be with Bell Services upon your arrival.  Just call them when you are in your room to have them delivered to your room.

For more information visit our Grocery Order page.

Ready to order?  Send us a message at

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