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Parking at Orlando
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When it comes to parking at Orlando Airport, there is a wide variety of options to choose from, including on-site within walking distance of the terminals, off-site with free transfer buses and valet services by which a chauffeur collects your car from the terminal.
The airport has parking garages in Terminals A and B and the Terminal Top Parking area, which, in total, provide 9,300 spaces. It’s worth bearing in mind that the first 40 minutes of parking are free and there is a maximum stay of 60 days. These car parks offer the luxury of being able to walk directly to the terminal after parking, so there is no shuttle ride required.
The airport offers satellite parking in the Blue, Red and Gold parking areas with a free shuttle service every 10 minutes. The first 10 minutes are free of charge and there is a maximum stay of 120 days. Although the areas are not covered, they are fenced and patrolled and all three are located within a two-mile (3.2-kilometer) radius of the airport.
These are services provided by third parties and it’s a simple case of having to drive to the terminal gate, where a chauffeur will be waiting to take your vehicle to a car park for you. On your return, they will be waiting with your vehicle outside the terminal at the agreed meeting point. It’s a great stress-free way to begin your trip.
Aside from the wide range of car parking options available, there are also Express Pick-Up and Curbside Drop-Off points, which are available from 10am to 1am, as well as the Cell Phone lot a mile (1.6 kilometers) from the airport.
There is parking available for disabled drivers in all airport car parks, whilst for those with large vehicles, there is the option to park in the Blue Satellite Parking Lot or in the parking reserved adjacent to the B Terminal Parking Garage.
Orlando International Airport (MCO) is the 14th-busiest in the US, serving over 40 million passengers a year, over 80% of which travel within the US. It is also the fourth-largest in terms of size, covering a staggering 20.8 square miles (54 square kilometers). The Greater Orlando area, being the most popular travel destination in the US, is served by five other airports and, alongside Miami International Airport, MCO acts as the international gateway for Florida.
The airport is a focus city for Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines and a hub for Silver Airways, with some of its most popular routes serving South America, Canada and the United Kingdom.
With over 30 airlines transporting passengers and cargo to around 100 domestic and international destinations, Orlando Airport is always a hive of activity.
MCO Airport is located just under 10 miles (16 kilometers) south east of Orlando, Florida in the 32827 ZIP code area and is close to Florida’s major cities, tourist attractions and beaches. If you are traveling from the airport to downtown Orlando, you have a variety of transport options.
Taxis to all destinations can be found on the lower levels (level 1) of both terminals A and B and it takes around 20 minutes to reach downtown Orlando. An alternative method is via the Lynx public buses located in Terminal A, where you can take bus 11 from stops A38-A41 or bus 51 from stops A38-A41. The former operates every 30 minutes, depending on the day and time, and the journey takes around 35-40 minutes. The latter leaves every 60 minutes and the journey lasts approximately 50 minutes.
There are also various shuttle buses and hotel buses that leave from the bus station for those who want to reach other tourist destinations, cities and hotels.
Orlando Airport was founded in 1942, then known as McCoy Air Force Base, by the US Army Air Forces and was used by the military in the 1950s for the annual Bombing and Navigation Competition and later during the Cold War. The 1960s also saw it gain joint civil and military use, but the airport was eventually given to the city of Orlando in 1974, acquiring international status and its current name in 1976. The next three decades saw construction and expansion coinciding with a dramatic rise in passenger numbers. Designed to handle around 23 million passengers, it already caters to almost double that amount. However, investment is on-going at MCO to upgrade its service levels to cater to its high passenger demand.
Orlando Airport offers a wide variety of eating, drinking, shopping and services but it’s worth bearing in mind that certain locations within the airport have much more to offer than others. To get to grips with what is where at MCO, it’s important to know that the building is symmetrical, with a huge main atrium welcoming passengers who then move to sides A or B of the building, which are again divided in two (1 and 2, 3 and 4 respectively).
If you are thinking of grabbing a bite to eat, landside main terminal (Level 3) has the widest variety of restaurants, but be sure to check the security lines first so you have plenty of time to reach airside. Outside the food court, you’ll find the shopping mall offering pretty much everything from Disney souvenirs to clothes. The airside terminals have much more limited options than the older sections of the terminal, 1 and 3.
You’ll also find a full range of additional services with free WiFi available throughout the airport and even a Business Center at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, which adjoins the airport on Level Three. If you have time to kill, there’s also the airport’s permanent Art Collection to take in, with pieces distributed throughout the terminal complex.
If you have any special requirements for your time at MCO, it’s advised that you contact customer services ahead of your arrival on +1 407 825-2001. Here is a non-exhaustive list of the services and facilities available:
A full list of facilities and services can be found on the official Orlando International Airport website.
If you are traveling through MCO Airport, you might want to think about booking a hotel and parking package so you get a good night’s rest and ensure your car is parked safely during your trip. It is especially useful if you have an early morning flight and want to set off feeling fresh.
The Hyatt Regency Hotel, located in the main terminal of the airport, offers various types of accommodation with parking included. Standard rooms offer one king-sized bed or two queen-sized beds, rooms with a view provide sound-proofed windows to watch take-offs and landings and the deluxe and suite options take the luxury to another level. Business travelers can also enjoy the sound-proofed rooms with spacious work areas to get productive. The Hyatt offers packages with covered parking spaces included in lots that are patrolled by the Orlando Police Department.
There are numerous hotels located close to Orlando International, offering options ranging from budget to luxury accommodation. The following is a sample of hotels that offer park, stay and fly packages with a complimentary shuttle to the airport: Orlando Airport Marriott (2.7 miles, 4.3 kilometers), Wingate by Wyndham (2.6 miles, 4.2 kilometers) and the Ramada Suites (2.8 miles, 4.5 kilometers), Comfort Suites Orlando Airport (4.2 miles, 6.8 kilometers from MCO).
MCO Airport has a permanent art exhibition throughout its terminals. If you have time on your hands, why not go for one of the art tours available in both Terminals A and B so you don’t miss anything? Be sure to go through Terminal A between gates 100 and 129 to see Duane Hanson’s famous hyper-realistic ‘The Traveler’.
It may sound like a cliché, but pre-holiday shopping is a favorite for a reason. You can make the most of the huge landside mall with its wide variety of stores, stock up in the duty free shops (located in the West Hall of the main terminal, Airside Terminal 1 and 4) or take a trip to one of the Disney stores. Be sure to call into the Del Sol store, too; even if you don’t buy anything, their color-changing clothes are fun to look at (especially for the kids).
Orlando Airport isn’t particularly famous for its dining scene, but there is still a wide variety of options available. Whether you want to grab a quick bite before a flight or you have hours to kill over a luxury meal, you can find something to suit your taste here. If you arrive early morning, Hemispheres at the top of the Hyatt hotel is superb for a combination of hearty breakfast and incredible views.
Head up to Level 9 of the Terminal Top Parking Garage or the Cell Phone Lot to the observation area, where you get excellent views of the planes landing and taking off. In order to get there, you need to fill out a “Use of Facilities Form” and hand it in alongside valid photo ID to the Public Affairs Office on the 3rd floor of the Main Terminal.
Feel like a bit of pampering before setting off? You can start your holidays feeling refreshed with a visit to The Terminal Gateway Spa (Airside 2) or the XpresSpa (Airside 1, 3 and 4), which offer manicures, pedicures, facials and massages, among other services. They are open every day from 7am to 9pm.
Open from 10am to 6pm at the Hyatt Hotel, the Day Use Rooms let you get away from the crowds and recharge your batteries. You can have a swim in the outdoor heated pool, take a trip to the gym or simply snooze in one of the luxurious guest rooms. You also have access to the restaurants available within the hotel and, since the hotel is on-site, you can still wander around the airport as much as you like, too.
With cheap day passes on offer, the Club Lounge at MCO won’t break the bank and, once inside, you can take advantage of children’s zones, complimentary food and drink, showers and restrooms. The escape from the hustle and bustle outside is sure to keep everyone happy.
MCO has everything from Disney and NASA stores to color-changing fountains and a salt-water aquarium, so there’s no excuse for boredom in the children during your visit.
Who can take a trip to Orlando and not visit Disney World? At around 16 miles (26 kilometers) from the airport, you can get to the largest theme park resort in the world in just 30 minutes. You can visit its four theme parks, shopping centers and dining districts to entertain the entire family for hours.
Famous for its roller coasters and karting, Fun Spot delivers exactly what its name promises. It’s only a 20-minute drive from the airport and is known as one of the best and most convenient ways to while away some time before a flight from Orlando International.
Central Florida’s largest shopping center is just a 12-minute drive away from MCO. With over 250 retail, dining and entertainment options, The Florida Mall is the epitome of American shopping experiences. It’s got everything from the biggest high-street brands to children’s play areas, free WiFi and even baggage check for before you get to the airport.
If relaxing isn’t your thing, Orlando’s Watersports Complex will be the place for you. It’s got everything from waterskiing to wakeboarding (or even kneeboarding) and, whether you’ve done it before or you’re a first-timer, this place has something for you. At only six miles (9.7 kilometers) from the airport, you can burn off some real energy before a long flight.
Located 13 miles (21 kilometers) south west of the airport, Gatorland offers you the chance to see thousands of gators and crocodiles and, if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the rare white alligators. For those feeling brave, why not take the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line for an aerial view of the alligators?
At just under 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the airport, it’s well worth hopping on a bus to Downtown Orlando, the heart and soul of Central Florida. With its parks, center of commerce, fine restaurants and fantastic shopping you could easily spend the day just wondering round and soaking it all in. If you fancy taking in some culture but don’t want the hassle of planning the whole thing, you can join an organized tour of the city. Click here to find out what tours are on offer.
A true way to experience the Everglades in Central Florida is through a Boggy Creek airboat ride. You can take one of their scenic nature tours and swamp excursions with the chance to see alligators, turtles and wading birds, so you’ll get the full Florida treatment during your visit.
If you fancy a round of golf while waiting for your flight, you’ll be hard-pressed to find somewhere better than Florida for it. There are two public courses within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of the airport. North Shore Golf Club is an 18-hole course with spectacular views and excellent rates and Ventura Country Club, though the community is private, is another 18-hole course open to the public.
You’ll find most of the world’s major airlines at Orlando Airport and they operate from the two designated sides, A and B. Southwest, Jetblue and Frontier Airlines all operate from side A, whereas Delta, American and Silver Airways all depart form side B.
Here are all the airlines and the terminals from which they operate at MCO:
|Emirates||Ticketing A, Baggage B|
|Rouge Air Canada||B|
|Sun Country Airlines||B|
|Thomas Cook Airlines||B|
Orlando International Airport is well-located in central Florida at the ZIP code 32827. I-4 is the nearest interstate and runs across Florida from Daytona Beach to Tampa Bay. Exit the I-4 onto state road 528, Martin Andersen Beachline Expressway, for Orlando International Airport parking and terminals. Alternatively, you can take the I-95 onto 528 or exit the I-4 earlier on the 417 to drive onto the 528. It’s a good idea to check with traffic news services for the best option on your day of travel, since roads can become very busy around MCO.
Orlando International Airport is served by the regular local bus service, Lynx Bus. This operates local routes that run every 30 to 60 minutes to and from destinations such as SeaWorld, Downtown Orlando, Destination Parkway and Florida Mall. You can pay as you board the bus. If you want to plan your trip or check timetables, you can do so by clicking here.
Shuttles to the airport run from most of the big hotels and from several tourist destinations in Orlando. Some of the best-known services are the Disney’s Magical Express, Mears Transportations and InterPlez Transportations and they’ll take you straight to the airport.
Summer 2017 brings a brand-new Brightline station to Orlando International Airport, which will connect it to West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
Most of the complaints from travelers in Orlando International Airport revolve around waiting times. Security screening, which takes place in the landside terminal, can take a long while with queues of around an hour at a time. You then have to take a tram to get to airside. If you combine this with long check-in times, it can make the whole process an arduous and stressful one. If you have flexibility, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the lightest travel days, but on any given day of the week, it’s advised that you get to MCO at least two hours in advance to avoid stress.
With its symmetrical layout and main landside concourse, many passengers have problems locating the right service. Whether it’s parking, baggage reclaim or taking a transport service, double-check which side of airside you need; Orlando’s terminal is split into side A and side B.
Although the airport itself is open 24 hours a day, the vast majority of shops and restaurants do close for the early hours. Some shops close as early as 6pm, so be sure to plan ahead if you want to rely on the airport to pick up essentials before flying.
Orlando Airport’s app is well worth downloading as it provides you with information about parking, counter locations, the status of your flight, dining and shopping options and will help you navigate the airport itself. You can even use it to access the MCO radio station.
There are designated smoking sections across the street from the terminal on the first and second levels at MCO. If you are catching a connecting flight, you will be required to leave the airport and go back through security on your return if you want to smoke.
You’ll often see Orlando International Airport referred to by its airport code, MCO, which appears to be unrelated to its name. This is because the original code was kept from the airport’s former days when it was known as McCoy Air Force Base, named after Colonel Michael Norman Wright McCoy, a commander who lost his life in the 1958 Bombing and Navigation Competition. The airport became Orlando International Airport in 1976 when it was converted to accommodate fully for civil aviation.
Orlando International is a 24-hour airport, but that doesn’t mean that it makes for a comfortable night’s sleep. Landside, there are benches, armchairs and some small couches, whilst airside offers wooden benches and armchairs. If you decide to brave it, bear in mind that the car rental level is warmer than the departures level and that peace and quiet is not something you are likely to find, so pack some earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. If you aren’t convinced, there is the Hyatt Hotel on-site and numerous hotels that offer a free shuttle service to and from the airport.
UberSELECT, also known as UberBLACK, an upscale version of the ride-share program, is authorized to pick up passengers in the Express Parking area behind the car rental counters on level 1. This finally came into action at the end of 2015 after a complex relationship between Uber and MCO. In a dispute over airport fees and permits, the airport had banned Uber from picking up or dropping off passengers but the lawsuit was eventually dropped and the new service was introduced. If you do decide to request an Uber ride, check your driver’s plates, photo and name match what you have received on your app, as it can be a very busy area with a great number of pick-ups.
MCO Airport is set just under 10 miles (16 kilometers) south east of downtown Orlando, close to the center of the Florida Peninsula in the south east of the USA. It is located in the 32827 ZIP Code and its inland location, which gives it some protection from hurricanes, is one of the reasons Disney chose to build its resort there. The location also makes it an ideal gateway point to and from Central and South America and the UK and Europe, which is reflected in its most popular routes.
MCO offers free WiFi in all public areas of the airport using the SSID “MCO Internet”. It’s worth noting that personal hotspot devices interfere with the airport’s WiFi, so if your connection doesn’t seem particularly good, turn off personal hotspots and move away from other passengers who might have active devices.
Walt Disney World is located around 16 miles (26 kilometers) from Orlando International Airport. If you are staying at one of the resort’s hotels, you can take the complimentary Disney’s Magical Express. This means you can reach the resort in around 30 minutes and you don’t have to collect your bags because it’s all done for you. You can find the service in the main terminal Side B, Level 1.
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