Are you planning a trip to Walt Disney World, the most magical place on earth, and wondering how to get there?
The most convenient place to fly into is Orlando International Airport (MCO), which is situated 16 miles away and takes between 20 and 30 minutes by car.
This airport serves both domestic and international destinations and is our airport of choice when we fly from Manchester or London, England.
Until the end of last year, passengers staying on-site at Walt Disney World would be able to arrive at Orlando Airport and board the Magical Express, a complimentary service that took customers to their Walt Disney World hotel free of charge.
However, as of 1st January 2022, this is no longer an option as the service was scrapped. Unfortunately, this means that there’s no longer a free way to get to Walt Disney World.
Now, our preferred way of getting 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.
Keep in mind that hiring a car or taking an Uber or a Lyft isn’t the only way to travel from MCO to Walt Disney World.
In fact, depending on your budget and the number of people you’re travelling with, alternative options may better suit your needs.
|Hire Car||25 min||$35||Hire A Car|
|Uber / Lyft||25 min||$40|
|Traditional Taxi||25 min||$40||Reserve In Advance|
|Shuttle Bus||60 min||$16||Book Online|
|Public Transport||150 min||$12|
Hire A Car
The most convenient way of travelling from MCO to Walt Disney World is renting a car and driving yourself.
Nearly everyone who chooses this option will keep the car with them for the duration of their holiday, returning it at the airport when they leave Orlando.
The advantages of having a car are obvious; you’re at leisure to explore all of Orlando’s best attractions without relying on public transport and taxis, and it’s usually the fastest method of transportation.
However, this option isn’t for everybody.
You need to be 21 to rent a car in America, and you should be a confident driver.
Orlando’s roads are fairly easy to drive on, but driving somewhere new can always be disorientating if you’re not used to it – Plus, if you’re from countries like the UK or Australia, remember that you need to drive on the other side of the road!
Renting a car and driving yourself from the airport to Walt Disney World is one of the quickest transportation methods and can take as little as 20 minutes in good traffic.
However, keep in mind that you could face delays at the airport when picking up the rental car, particularly if there is a queue.
Cost-wise, it largely depends on the size and type of the vehicle, primary driver and the particular insurance coverage.
The minimum you’re looking at is around $35 per day, but this can increase to around $80 per day if you hire a more expensive vehicle.
All of this is, of course, before the additional costs of fuel, parking and tolls.
As such, it’s worth considering every single cost before you decide on renting a car in Orlando, as many tourists visit the area each year and successfully see the parks without their own vehicle.
And if you just want to hire a car to drive from the airport? Remember that you’ll either need to drop it back at the airport or pay a one-way drop-off fee. As such, it’ll be more economical to take a taxi!
Uber or Lyft
The USA’s two most popular ride-sharing apps, Uber and Lyft, both serve Orlando Airport and offer a relatively affordable way to get private transport from the airport to Walt Disney World.
We use Uber and Lyft for the majority of our private trips in Orlando and in the United States as a whole, as they are often cheaper and easier to book when compared to traditional taxis.
A basic Uber from MCO to Walt Disney World costs $38 on average. However, this fare will increase if you choose one of the more luxurious models or travel during peak times.
When an UberX is $38 for a one-way journey from MCO to Walt Disney World, other cars are generally priced as follows;
|UberX Car Seat||$49|
|UberXL Car Seat||$64|
|Black Car Seat||$91|
|Black SUV Car Seat||$105|
However, if you’re travelling during peak hours when there’s a lot of traffic on the roads or a lot of demand for the Ubers available, then surge pricing will be activated, and as such, you’ll likely pay an additional 25% for each vehicle.
We’ve generally found that surge pricing most commonly occurs in Orlando between the hours of 7:30am – 10:30am and 4:00pm to 7:00pm.
Lyfts can often be slightly more expensive when compared to Uber’s base rates. However, if your Uber journey is currently under surge pricing, then you might find Lyft to be cheaper, so it’s well worth checking both apps to see who’s offering the best rates at the time of travel.
Here are some of the different rates from the Lyft fare estimate.
|Lyft (personal trip)||$50 – 60|
|XL (oversized travel)||$60 – 70|
|Lux (premium travel)||$70 – 80|
|Lux Black (luxury travel)||$90 – 105|
|Lux Black XL (spacious luxury)||$140 – 160|
If you find that travelling by Uber or Lyft is best for you, then be sure not to book before you’re through immigration and customs.
You never know how long these things can take, and if your taxi is left waiting for more than five minutes, it’ll leave, and you’ll be charged.
Instead, we highly recommend waiting until you’re completely ready at the dedicated pick-up location for Ubers & Lyfts before ordering your ride.
Uber or Lyft is best for people who want to get to their destination quickly but can’t drive or don’t want to hire a car.
The main disadvantage of taking an Uber or Lyft is that you’re relying on having a smartphone that’s connected to the internet, and while there is WiFi at Orlando Airport, there’s always a chance that your phone may not connect.
If you don’t want the stress of using your smartphone to arrange your transport from MCO to Walt Disney World, then you can get a traditional taxi instead.
Traditional taxis serve Orlando Airport 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and while they can be more expensive than Uber & Lyft, they are incredibly easy to organise.
To take a traditional taxi from Orlando International Airport to Walt Disney World, simply head to the taxi rank, which is located on Level One of the airport past customs.
There are plenty of signs, and you can ask any airport employees if you’re lost.
Then, you simply need to wait your turn for the next available taxi. However, keep in mind that you could be queuing for up to half an hour if you’re arriving at a peak time.
The ride from Orlando Airport to Walt Disney World should take between 20 minutes to one hour, depending on traffic. This also affects the taxi costs, as they run on a meter.
If there’s no traffic, expect to pay around $40, but keep in mind that this can go up to $80 and beyond in those peak traffic periods.
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 opperating the Magical Express service for over 17 years.
However, unlike the Magical Express, the shuttle is no longer 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 less.
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 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 shuttle leaves from Level One, which is well signposted within the airport. You’ll also be provided with complete directions as part of your tickets.
While there are public transport links between Orlando Airport and Walt Disney World, most people avoid them due to the sheer number of changes you’ll have to make between buses across Orlando – and let’s face it, who wants to add any more stress onto a travel day!
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.