BY PLANE—Orlando is served by some 40 airlines, so thankfully, competition keeps airfares among the lowest on the East Coast. In a typical year nearly 48 million people use Orlando International Airport (MCO;, making it the 9th-busiest in the country, so airfare deals are common.

How do you find those deals? Primary websites that collect quotes from a variety of sources (whether they be airlines or other websites) include,,, and Each has odd gaps in its coverage because of the way they obtain their quotes. Some sites have small booking fees of $5 to $10, and many force you to accept nonrefundable tickets that don’t include checked luggage for the cheapest prices. You can often save money by booking roughly 6 weeks in advance if you’re flying domestically, and 3 to 4 months ahead from abroad.

MCO is mostly a pleasure. Current security wait times are listed on its home page and if, on the way home, you realize you neglected to buy any park-related souvenirs, fear not, because Disney, SeaWorld, Kennedy Space Center, and Universal all maintain lavish stores (located before the security checkpoint, so leave time). The airport, 25 miles east of Walt Disney World, was built during World War II as McCoy Air Force Base, which closed in the early 1970s but bequeathed the airport with its deceptive code, MCO. Midmornings and midafternoons can be crowded for outgoing passengers, weekends can be clogged with cruise passengers. Midafternoon summer thunderstorms frequently cause delays, so try to fly in the morning. Also, make absolutely sure you get on the correct tram for your gate number, otherwise you’ll have to go through security all over again.

The main terminal is divided into two sides, A and B, so if you can’t find the desk for your airline or transportation service open on one side, it may be on the other side. Most major rental car companies are in a connected garage, no shuttles required. The airport puts out a free map app, Orlando MCO. You probably won’t need it to navigate, but it does post current wait times at security.
Rental car companies at MCO:

Alamo:; 800/327-9633
Avis:; 800/831-2847
Budget:; 800/527-0700
Dollar:; 800/800-4000
Enterprise:; 800/325-8007
Hertz:; 800/654-3131
National:; 800/227-7368
Payless:; 407/856-5539
Sixt:; 888/941-7498
Thrifty:; 800/367-2277
Very few airlines use Orlando Sanford International Airport (, or SFB, which despite the Orlando in its name is 42 miles northeast of Disney. SFB is connected to the Disney area by the Central Florida GreeneWay, or S.R. 417—the trip takes about 40 minutes and there are tolls, so new arrivals should have U.S. money on them, preferably quarters. European visitors might fly into Tampa International Airport (, or TPA, 90 minutes southwest.

BY TRAIN—Amtrak’s (; [tel] 800/872-7245) Silver Service/Palmetto route serves Orlando and Kissimmee. Trains go direct between New York City, Washington, D.C., Charleston, and Savannah. The privately funded Brightline service ( has been announced to connect Orlando International Airport with West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami in 3 hours, but it's still in the future.

Transportation to & from MCO:

BY RENTAL CAR—Economy rental cars start usually around $25–$30 a day, but vehicle shortages in 2021 pushed rates up to around $50 a day. For the best prices, make your reservation many weeks or months in advance. Having a prepaid reservation will not guarantee a car; a standard reservation works just as well. You might also discover that requests for longer rentals turn up fewer results than for short rentals; if that happens to you, you can always consider being naughty and reserving the shorter rental and then simply holding onto the car longer. Test the waters at a site such as Kayak, Orbitz, or Travelocity, which compare multiple renters with one click. Priceline and Hotwire have been known to rent for as little as $20 a day, but only when inventory is high.

If you rent a car, be alert as you exit the airport—you must decide whether to use the south exit (marked for Walt Disney World) or the north exit (for SeaWorld, Universal, the Convention Center, and downtown Orlando). Whichever route you take, you will pay a few dollars in tolls; some booths are automated and don’t accept bills, so have loose change. Also, at tollbooths, stay to the right, where the cash windows are; the left lanes are for e-passes. (You can rent e-passes from your rental car company, but if you’re staying within Orlando, you won’t use it enough to warrant the expense, and they will charge you for it per day.)

Always fill up before heading back to MCO, because gas stations near the airport’s entrance have been nabbed for gouging. Stations inside Walt Disney World charge a competitive price, but one not as low as outside the tourist zone.

Agencies might not rent to those 24 and under. Action Car Rental/Nü Car Rentals (both at 3719 McCoy Rd., Orlando; ([tel] 407/240-2700; or have awful service and inflated prices but they will rent to as young as 18-year-olds. Avoid them unless your age is an issue. Most companies won’t rent to anyone older than 85.
BY SHUTTLEMears Transportation (; [tel] 407/423-5566 or 855/463-2776) is the 800-pound gorilla of shuttles and taxis; it sends air-conditioned vans bouncing to hotels every 15 to 20 minutes. Round-trip fares for adults are $34 ($26 for kids 4–11, kids 3 and under free) to the International Drive area, or $38 per adult ($29 for kids) to Walt Disney World/U.S. 192/Lake Buena Vista. You’ll probably make several stops (it’ll take up to 90 min.) because the vans are shared with other passengers. As of 2022, it also operates a coach service, Mears Connect (; one-way tickets on Standard (on which you share the bus with others and make multiple stops) cost $16 for adults and $13.50 for kids aged 3-9. Round-trip tickets cost $32 adults and $27 kids 3–9. Express (still a shared bus, but direct service without stops) costs a flat $250 for up to 4 people, even if you have fewer people in your group. Express is only offered as a round-trip ticket, and it offers no special price for children. For the return trip to the airport, the bus will pick you up about 3 hours (domestic) or 4 hours (international) before your flight time.

Disney announced an end to its free airport motorcoaches (Disney’s Magical Express, run by Mears) as of January 1, 2022. 

Another coach service, the Sunshine Flyer, has a schtick—the buses are painted to recall old-fashioned railway locomotives, and staff dresses along with the gag. Mild gimmick aside, it's still essentially a coach transfer. At MCO, board at the Main Terminal Building on Terminal B, level 1 in the ground transportation area. For the return trip to the airport, the bus will pick you up about 3 hours (domestic) or 4 hours (international) before your flight time. Sunshine Flyer's operators promise that you will not wait more than 20 minutes to board the bus, and the ride to the resorts is scheduled so the last stop will not take more than 65 minutes. Buses have bathrooms. All rides are shared with other parties. One-way: $17 adult and $12.50 kids aged 3–8. Round-trip: $34 adult and $25 kids aged 3–8. It's smart to make advance reservations (you'll need your flight details first) at
If you have more than four or five people, it’s more economical to reserve a car service (do it at least 24 hr. ahead) and split the lump fee; a town car is $50 to $105 and an SUV or van for up to seven would be $100 to $190 round-trip from MCO (zooming to $225 from SFB). Try Mears (see above), Tiffany Towncar (; 888/838-2161 or 407/370-2196), or Quicksilver Tours (; 888/468-6939; starting at $50). Quicksilver often volunteers to toss in a free 30-minute stop at a grocery store so you can stock up on supplies.

Universal Orlando has its own small system, Universal SuperStar Shuttle Service (866/604-7557), that’s an add-on to its vacation packages, for $39 adults, $29 kids 3–9 (kids 2 and under free); you can’t buy it without a whole vacation package. Obviously, it doesn’t go to Disney properties.

BY RIDESHARE—Uber and Lyft are available. Meet them at the ends of the curbs at Level 2–Arrivals. You should pay $55–$60 for a standard ride to the tourist zones outside of surge periods. The airport tacks on a $5.80 fee, one of the highest such fees in the nation. The elimination of Magical Express has caused Uber and Lyft fees to skyrocket, so it's possible these prices will be even higher when you try to use the services. 

BY TAXI—Taxis are not the best bargain. It’ll be about $70 to the Disney hotels, $60 to Universal, not including a tip, which is cheaper than a town car.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.