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Guests walk on Main Street, U.S.A., in front of Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World on Sept. 30, 2020. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

ORLANDO, Fla. — Walt Disney World will discontinue Disney’s Magical Express bus service and end its Extra Magic Hours benefit for hotel guests in 2021, the company has announced. Later this year, resort guests will begin getting 30-minute head starts in all four theme parks every day, Disney says.

Disney Magical Express, a free service that carries visitors from Orlando International Airport to Disney resort hotels, will not be available starting with arrivals on Jan. 1, 2022. It will operate for existing and newly made reservations for 2021 stays.

Meanwhile, Extra Magic Hours, which granted Disney hotel guests additional time inside Disney World’s theme parks, is being retired. The benefit, which gave early morning or end-of-day access to select parks on select days, has not been offered since the parks reopened from the pandemic-related shutdown in July.

Instead, Disney will let its hotel guests into any of its theme parks 30 minutes before opening time. That will be available every day, not on a moving schedule as in the Extra Magic Hours era. This access will begin this year, but a date was not announced.

“The new early theme park entry benefit helps us better spread visitation across all four theme parks, while providing added flexibility by giving guests extra early park time on each day of their vacation and in the park of their choosing,” a Monday post on the official Disney Parks Blog said.

Consumer preferences have evolved since Disney’s Magical Express was introduced in 2005, a Walt Disney World spokesman said.

“Vacationers have more options to choose from than ever for transportation, including ride-share services that save time and offer more flexibility to go where they want, when they want,” the blog post said

In November, Walt Disney World and Brightline announced an agreement to build a station at Disney Springs for its high-speed rail service, which is set to connect to South Florida and Orlando International Airport. Track currently is being put into place, and service to OIA is slated to start in 2022.

On-property buses will continue to operate between hotels and parks, as well as the monorail system and Disney Skyliner gondolas, the post said. Buses that connect OIA with the Disney Cruise Line terminal are part of a separate service that will continue.

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