When you visit Orlando, you’ll likely join millions of other travelers and fly into Orlando International Airport. OIA is about 20 to 30 minutes away from Walt Disney World and the other major attractions. The airport has a full array of transportation choices, including rental cars, shuttles, limousines, and cabs. The best one for your family depends on your vacation plans.
Shuttles and Towncars
If you’re staying at a Walt Disney World-owned hotel, Magical Express bus transportation is included with your booking. Other accommodations are easily accessible via Mears Shuttle Service, which operates buses and vans to virtually every hotel and resort in the Orlando area. Book your shuttle in advance and follow the instructions to the pick-up area at the airport. Mears offers pick-ups on both the A and B sides in the ground transportation area.
SuperShuttle is another option for airport transportation to and from your lodging. Like Mears, it runs vans and buses and needs to be booked in advance.
Mears Shuttle Buses
Mears shuttle buses are a quick way to get from the Airport to your Orlando hotel. Shuttle services are cheaper than cabs, but you share the ride. That means your family won’t be the only passengers, and you may stop at other hotels before reaching your destination. If you prefer a private vehicle and a direct ride to your hotel, book a town car through Mears or one of the many other services in the Orlando area.
Cabs are plentiful at Orlando International Airport and will take you wherever you want to go, although they’re more pricey than shuttles, with a meter-based fare. The official cab stands are located on both the A and B sides of the airport on the ground transportation level. They range from cars to vans that hold up to nine passengers, so you should be able to get a vehicle that accommodates your whole family.
Whatever you do, don’t accept any offers from drivers who approach you and offer their services. They’re not allowed to solicit business inside the airport, so anyone who tries to convince you to ride with him or her is acting illegally. You have no way of knowing if the company is legitimate, if the driver will honor the quoted price, or if the vehicle is properly insured. Use the official taxi stand if you don’t already have transportation arranged.
Lynx buses, which are part of Orlando’s public transportation system, operate out of the airport and go to Walt Disney World and International Drive. They’re not recommended for tourists, especially if you’re traveling with a family and juggling lots of luggage, because the trips are long and you endure many stops. For example, the drive to Disney is normally half an hour by car, but the bus takes 75 minutes or more and drops you off at the Ticket and Transportation Center rather than a hotel.
If you want to travel in style, book a limousine through Mears or another Orlando limo company. This is the most expensive option, but it’s great for special occasions. Imagine the thrilling smiles on your children’s faces when they spot a uniformed driver holding a sign with your family’s name on it and he leads them to a luxurious vehicle. They’ll feel like celebrities as they pull up at the hotel.
If you’re staying at a vacation home or want the freedom to come and go as you please during your vacation, opt for a rental car. Orlando International Airport has ten onsite car rental companies: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, E-Z, Hertz, L & M, National, and Thrifty. They have desks in both the A and B terminals for easy vehicle pick-up and drop-off.
The Beachline (528) and Greeneway (417) toll roads are near the airport and will get you to your hotel. 528 runs into I-4, the major Orlando expressway. Bring change and small bills to pay the tolls on 528 or 417.
Car rental agents may pressure you to buy a rental car insurance policy, which can be quite pricey. Check with your own insurance company and your credit cards to see if you’re already covered. Most automotive policies cover rental cars, and many credit cards give you free secondary coverage for rented cars if you use the card to pay for the rental. To rent a car check out our great deals on car rentals.