Orlando Airport, often abbreviated to MCO, is the nearest airport to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, just 16 miles away.
Until the end of 2021, guests staying onsite in a Walt Disney World hotel were able to take advantage of the Magical Express.
The Magical Express service transported guests from Orlando Airport to their Walt Disney World hotel free of charge. However, on January 1st 2022 this service was cancelled.
Instead, guests now need to make their own way to their Walt Disney World hotel. This can be done with a rental car, in a rideshare such as Uber or Lyft or on a paid shuttle bus.
The best way to get from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to Walt Disney World is in an Uber or a Lyft, which costs between $38 and $50. However, if you’re hiring a car in Orlando, picking it up from the airport and driving it to the resort is more convenient and cost-effective.
Which transfer method is right for you will likely depend on where you’re staying, how many people you’re travelling with, and your budget.
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⏱️ Time: n/a
💵 Cost: $22 a day
💻 Book Hire Car: Discover Cars
One of the most convenient ways of travelling from MCO to Walt Disney World is renting a car and driving yourself.
However, this also means that you’ll be responsible for the car for the duration of your vacation not just the single journey between the airport and your hotel.
As such it’s worth keeping in mind that the cost of hiring a car depends on several factors including;
- Hire duration
- Size and type of vehicle
- Age of the primary driver
- Insurance policy selected
- Hire company themselves
Therefore while hiring a car in Orlando can cost as little as $22 a day, it can also quickly go up to $50+ per day, depending on the type and size of the vehicle you’re looking to hire.
Hire companies are known for selling you unnecessary extras such as satellite navigation and toll passes, so be sure to do your research before booking.
Driving from Orlando Airport (MCO) to the Walt Disney World Resort can take as little as 25 minutes, although it can just as quickly take up to an hour when the traffic is bad (usually between 8am and 10am and 4.30pm and 6pm).
Remember to factor in how long it’ll take you to queue at the hire desk to collect your car, and then find the vehicle in the parking lot.
In some cases, I’ve found that this process takes longer than the drive to the Walt Disney World Resort.
If you’re returning your rental car to the airport then make sure you arrive at Orlando International Airport with plenty of time.
Also, make sure you not only consider the cost of hiring a car during your but also the cost of parking at the Walt Disney World Resort and hotels (where applicable).
These costs are easily overlooked yet can quickly double the overall cost of a rental car and making the benefits of having a rental vehicle negligible in comparison.
Parking At Walt Disney World
Standard parking at a Walt Disney World park costs $25 per day while preferred parking costs $50 per day.
Meanwhile, the cost of parking at a Walt Disney World hotel depends on the category of the hotel;
- Disney Value Resorts: $15 per night
- Disney Moderate Resorts: $20 per night
- Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts: $25 per night
Guests staying at the Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are able to benefit from one complimentary standard parking space.
Hire Car Locations Inside MCO
There are an extensive number of hire car operators inside Orlando airport.
However, I’ve always found it more affordable and convenient to hire a car in advance and simply pick it up on my arrival at the airport.
When hiring a car in Orlando (or elsewhere in the US) we use Hoppa, a search aggregator that allows us to compare the cost of different cars with different car hire companies.
Upon booking the hire car of your choosing you’ll be provided with the pick-up location for your hire car. Depending on several factors this may be inside Terminal A, Terminal B or Terminal C.
All three terminals at Orlando Airport are within a short walking distance, and all hire car companies are located on the ground floor which can be accessed by stairs, an elevator or an escalator.
The hire car company you book with will provide you with detailed directions to where you can collect the keys and any additional information about your rental in an email when booking.
All hire cars are located outside of the terminal in the parking garage.
You’ll be provided with directions on where to collect your vehicle from either in an email or upon picking up the keys at the rental desk depending on who you hire from.
⏱️ Time: 1.5 hours
💵 Cost: $30 – $100
💻 Reserve Rideshare: Lyft
Both Uber and Lyft serve Melbourne Orlando Airport and the Walt Disney World Resort.
The journey time between the two locations is much the same as a rental car (roughly one and a half hours).
An Uber from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to the Walt Disney World Resort typically costs between $30 and $100 depending on the level of service and the size of vehicle you require.
Meanwhile, a Lyft from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to the Walt Disney World Resort typically costs between $35 and $130 depending on the level of service and the size of vehicle you require.
It’s important that you don’t book your Lyft or Uber until you’ve passed through immigration, security and collected your baggage. If the driver is waiting for you for longer than five minutes, they may leave, and you’ll still be charged.
Instead, wait until you’re ready at the pick-up location, and then book your service.
With both Uber and Lyft, you can be picked up from either Terminal A or Terminal B.
No one terminal is cheaper than another. However, different services do charge different prices based on the demand.
As such if you’re looking to save up to $10 it’s worth downloading both Uber and Lyft and comparing the prices of your journey on each in real-time.
Prices are subject to change in real-time based on demand so make sure you only begin comparing prices once you’re ready to book.
Each terminal has a select number of different pick-up points outside.
You can use the navigation bar at the bottom of the application to select the pick-up point you’re closest to.
The pick-up points reflect the baggage claim locations you’re adjacent to inside the airport.
However, once you exit the airport you’ll also notice the baggage claim numbers are displayed overhead so you can ensure you’re in line with the one you selected.
Once you have selected a pick-up point you’ll be assigned a driver.
This process can take up to five minutes depending on the demand for drivers at that time.
You can use the message area to provide any additional information the driver might need to find you.
This is especially helpful if the pick-up area is crowded as you’ll only be given five minutes from the driver arriving to locate your vehicle before it leaves (at which point you’ll be charged a fee).
Meanwhile, you can use the map above to see where the drive is in location to your location.
Below the pick-up, location information is information about the driver and the vehicle so you can ensure you head to the correct vehicle as it arrives.
After your ride has been completed you’ll be emailed an itemised itinerary of your trip including any toll fees.
Meanwhile the application (Uber or Lyft) will ask you to leave feedback for your driver to help other passengers.
You can also use this time to give your driver an additional tip should you wish to do so.
As you can see my trip from Orlando Airport cost $29.98 before a tip.
This included a $14.03 base fare, a $1.93 toll charge, a $7.67 booking fee, a $0.55 temporary fuel surcharge and a $5.80 MCO airport surcharge.
These additional charges are typical of an Orlando airport pick-up with Uber and Lyft and are factored into your initial quote when you’re comparing prices.
Aside from Uber and Lyft, you can also take a more traditional taxi from Orlando Airport to the Walt Disney World Resort.
Independent taxi companies from around the area serve the airport 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so if you arrive without pre-booked transfers and a phone with no battery, you can still get from the airport to your accommodation.
The taxi rank is located on level one and is well-signposted overhead throughout the airport.
Depending on a number of factors including;
- The time of day
- Traffic in the area
- The number of other flights arriving at the same time
You may have to queue for up to 30 minutes for a taxi to become available.
Traditional taxis from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to Walt Disney World run on a metre, so the charges usually vary between $50 and $70 one-way.
Personally, we prefer to use Uber and Lyft when travelling from Orlando Airpot to the Walt Disney World Resort.
The journey is more convenient allowing you to see where the driver is and how long the journey is going to take.
However, the post-journey experience is also better too, allowing you to contact someone if you accidentally left something in the vehicle or if you have a complaint to make about your driver.
Private Airport Transfer
⏱️ Time: n/a
💵 Cost: $16 one-way per adult (over 10) and $13.50 for a child
💻 Reserve Transfer: Hoppa
While you can no longer take the Magical Express between Orlando Airport and Walt Disney World, there are still several alternative shuttle service options available.
Our personal favourite is Mears, who was responsible for operating the Magical Express service for over 17 years.
However, unlike the Magical Express, the Mears Connect Shuttle is not free and instead costs $16 one-way per adult (over 10) and $13.50 for a child.
This makes the shuttle the most affordable way of travelling from Orlando Airport to Walt Disney World but only for two people or fewer.
That’s because you’re paying per person, which as a result means that groups of three or more will find that the shuttle is more expensive when compared to the cost of a taxi.
Tickets for the Mears Connect shuttle can be purchased online in advance in both a one-way and return format, although there are no discounts for return journeys and also no luggage pick-ups and other similar perks that Magical Express guests used to enjoy.
The Mears Connect shuttle bus leaves from level one, which is well signposted within the airport. You’ll also be provided with complete directions as part of your tickets.
⏱️ Time: 2 hours 58 minutes
💵 Cost: $4
💻 Buy Bus Tickets: Omio
While you can take public transport in the form of a bus between Orlando Airport and Walt Disney World, we highly recommend against doing so as it’s incredibly time-consuming and a lot of hassle.
However, if you do want to take public transport from MCO to Walt Disney World, you’ll want to catch the 111 bus from the IOA transfer centre at the airport to Sea Harbor Drive and Grand Vacations Way.
Then you’ll want to go ahead and change to the 50 bus, which will drop you off at the WDW Transportation & Ticket Center.
Then from here, you’ll want to catch the bus to your hotel within the resort or the park you’re looking to visit.
Walt Disney World Travel Planning Guide
🎟️ Where To Buy Tickets for Walt Disney World?
If you’re based in the US or Canada, I recommend Klook for your Walt Disney World tickets.
Klook consistently has the most competitive prices. There’s also a range of different ticket options to suit all budgets and requirements.
Meanwhile, if you’re based in the United Kingdom. Then I recommend buying your Walt Disney World tickets from AttractionTix.
I personally use AttractionTix when purchasing theme park tickets. That’s because AttractionTix consistently has the most competitive prices and incredible customer service.
🏥 Should I Buy Travel Insurance for a Visit to Walt Disney World?
If you’re travelling to Walt Disney World for vacation, then travel insurance is recommended. Basic travel insurance coverage with Safety Wing averages between $5 – $10 per day and offers peace of mind.
However, if a trip to Walt Disney World isn’t part of a vacation. For example, you live locally. Then travel insurance isn’t likely to be necessary.
🚘 Do I Need to Rent a Car for a Visit to Walt Disney World?
You don’t need to rent a car to visit Walt Disney World. Instead, you can take an Uber or Lyft, as the theme park has pick-up and drop-off points.
Parking at Walt Disney World is expensive, so taking an Uber or Lyft can, in some cases, be cheaper.
However, if a trip to Walt Disney World only makes up a portion of your vacation, then you may want to rent a car. I personally use Discover Cars to find the best car rental when visiting the USA.