Hughes Fioretti Photography specializes in corporate event photography, and since Orlando is a corporate events Mecca, many of our clients come in from other states. When traveling for work, sometimes every minute (and every dollar) counts, so we decided to put together a series of articles to help visitors experience Orlando like a local. We’ll kick off this series starting with how to navigate the Orlando airport like a local:
MCO (Orlando International Airport)
MCO currently sits as the 7th busiest airport in the United States, serving 40.3 million passengers in 2021. As of 2019, Orlando has been the fourth most visited city in the United States, just behind New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami. So what does that mean for you, a visitor to Orlando? It means the airport can be overwhelming and getting in and out can be challenging. Here are a few helpful tips so you can navigate the Orlando airport with ease.
There are two main terminals – A and B. Knowing which terminal you’re coming from helps with the baggage claim process, so don’t be afraid to ask your flight attendant if you miss the announcement – I always do. When you are driving in, the airport does a good job at displaying which terminals host which airline. The Orlando airport also recommends arriving 3 hours early for your flight since it tends to get very busy. The MCO website on terminals and posts the TSA wait times so you can plan ahead accordingly.
Getting to and from the airport
Taxis can be found on both baggage claim levels, so there’s no need to call ahead for one. If you’re loyal to Uber or Lyft, however, the designated pickup stations are not clearly marked in the airport, but can be found on the websites of both Uber and Lyft as well as in the app. For Uber Select users that are looking for a more stylish ride, that pickup point is on the first level by the Express Pickup Tunnel.
We’ve broken down a couple key Uber fares for you, Lyft rates are comparable:
MCO —> Downtown Orlando ~$34 UberX, ~$42 UberXL, ~$82 UberPremium.
MCO —> Disney Area ~$37 UberX, ~$50 UberXL, ~$84 UberPremium
MCO —> International Drive Area Similar rates as Downtown Orlando
Orlando rush hour is prominent on any major road leading to all three locations listed above. Usually lasts between 4pm-6pm Monday – Friday. Uber tends to incur “surge” prices during these times which can increase your rate x1.7, so plan accordingly.
The Lynx bus which runs routes from MCO to downtown, Florida Mall, Orange County Convention Center, the outlet mall, the Sand Lake SunRail station, and a few other places. One way rides are $2, or $4.50 for an all day pass. This pdf dives a little more in depth on the bus schedule and fare. The Lynx bus can be caught on the ground transportation level outside of Terminal A.
The SunRail doesn’t run directly to the airport, yet. For now, you can connect from the Sand Lake Road SunRail Station and catch the bus to the airport. This takes a little more navigation and preparation, but depending on your final destination in Orlando, this could be a viable option. Here is the website to explore station schedules.
Pro Tip: Costco offers a travel membership with special bundle deals on hotels, cruises, and rental cars. If you are part of the membership, you can book your discounted rentals through their website. You can even access a coupon code for discounts with companies like Alamo, Avis, Budget, and Enterprise.