Orlando International Airport is about half an hour from Walt Disney World, and the drive is easy if you take the 528 toll road to the I-4 expressway from the north airport exit or the 417 toll road from the south airport exit. Disney area hotels are clustered in several areas that are easily accessible from those roads. For example, the Celebration Suites at Old Town, Holiday Inn Maingate East, Baymont Inn & Suites Celebration, and Royale Parc Suites are all near Highway 192; the Holiday Inn Resort Lake Buena Vista, Grand Beach Resort at Lake Buena Vista, Grande Villas Resort at Lake Buena Vista, and Best Western inside Walt Disney World are all near State Road 535; and the Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham Orlando Convention Center is near International Drive.
It’s an easy drive if you decide to rent a car, but it’s not necessary to have a vehicle if you prefer not to drive on your vacation. Many hotels have free shuttle transportation to the theme parks, which means you can easily let someone else chauffeur your family around. Here’s a quick summary of the options for getting from the airport to your hotel in the Disney area:
Shuttle vans ferry passengers regularly between the airport and the Disney area hotels. You pay a per person fee to ride a shuttle, with the cost ranging from about $20 to $40 per person. That can get pricey for families with several children. Shuttles are reliable, but you might end up stopping at other hotels on their way to your lodging.
You’ll need to book a time in advance for your trip back to the airport, and you must allow enough time for any other stops the shuttle might make. If you miss it, you run the risk of missing your flight, so you must be sure your family will be ready at the appointed time.
A cab is a great option if you don’t want to share a vehicle or you want to go directly to your hotel, without any other stops. You don’t have to book a time in advance as you do with a town car or limo, which means no worries if your flight is delayed or your travel plans change at the last minute.
There are official cab stands at Orlando International Airport with car-sized cabs or vans to accommodate larger parties. Cabs are a good bargain for larger families because you pay once price, regardless of the number of people. Expect to pay between $30 and $60 each way, depending on your hotel location.
When you’re ready to return to the airport, the hotel clerks can help you get a cab for the final leg of your trip. The cab comes when you want it instead of forcing you to be ready at a pre-arranged time.
Town Cars & Limousines
Sometimes it’s fun to book a town car, or even a fancy limousine, to add a special flair to your trip. Like cabs, these vehicles charge a flat rate, regardless of the number of people in your party. Town cars start around $100 round trip, and prices climb steadily based on the size and type of vehicle.
A rental car is convenient, but it’s also expensive, especially if you visit Orlando during the peak season. Expect rates to start anywhere from $250 to $400 per week, depending on the time of year and the type of vehicle you chose. There are plenty of rental car companies right at the airport, so you can head right from luggage pick-up to the rental desk and then walk to the garage to get your car. Be sure to try our deals if you are looking to rent a car.
If you drive a rental car to the theme parks, you’ll pay an average of $16 to park, depending on which park you visit. On the plus side, once you pay at one of the four Disney parks, you can park at the other three for the rest of the day without paying again. That’s useful if you have a Park Hopper ticket. Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure share a parking garage, so you only pay once per day even if you visit both of the Universal parks.