Two stories in the local press about how Disney’s new service that provides airport to hotel transportation for resort guests, called Disney’s Magical Express, is threatening to drive many airport and limo drivers out of business. The Limo and Shuttle association claims Disney is getting access to the airport that they can’t get, which is true.
DME is essentially an expansion of the old Mears Shuttle system, with three differences. One, Only guests staying on property at Disney World can use the service. Two, the guest checks their luggage in at the originating airport and then doesn’t have to touch it again. It will appear in their hotel room via Disney’s system. Three, since the guests never needs to deal with luggage at the Orlando International Airport, Disney has been allowed to great guests as they exit security and direct them to the waiting shuttles.
The third point is where the drivers feel like they’re getting the shaft. But it isn’t logical for the airport to insist Disney greeters wait at baggage. So I don’t think the driver will win this point.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the drivers are going to like the answer to their problem. The airport current issues 600 licenses for access to limo drivers and shuttles. That number should probably be cut back to 400 or 500 since Disney is now servicing more and more guests. Disney has figured out how to skin the cat better and unless the shuttle and limo drivers can figure out ways to improve their service, their numbers will be culled. It’s better to provide the chance at a livable wage for most of them, rather than force all of them to take a cut in pay that makes the job unable to support a family.