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Traveling to Disney World: Best Tips

Updated: Apr 5

Walt Disney Resort sign in Florida
Walt Disney World Resort, Florida

Traveling to Disney World in Florida can be a bit of a hassle but here are The NYC Traveler's Tips For Your Disney Trip!

Get There:

Air: MCO, aka Orlando International Airport is still your best option for traveling to the Orlando/Kissimmee/Lake Buena Vista Disney World area. But, if you fly in to Tampa or Daytona, you will be about an hour to 90 minutes away, good to know if you want to rent a car. From either city, you just take Interstate 4 (I-4) and travel straight to Disney World. Be aware that your flight may not be direct from your point of origin.

Airport scene
MCO Airport

MCO: all of the terminals are not in one building. Terminal C is off by itself. There is a shuttle, scroll down to the bottom of this page on MCO's website and get all of the info. If you have to change flights and it's a different airline, be aware of which airlines are at which terminals. Best tip to travel to Disney World by plane: try to use the same airline for both flights (round trip).

Car: Are you traveling to Disney World by driving? All roads should lead to Interstate-4. A couple of major interstates connect, such as I-95 (near Daytona) and I-75 (near Tampa). There are other ways for traveling Disney as well but some are toll roads (and some don't take cash, they will bill you by mail) and some have lower speed limits. Speaking of tolls, if you drive from MCO Airport, there will be a few tolls along the road while traveling to Disney or Universal. Make sure you know all of the details with your car rental company before you drive off and travel to Disney.

Rental car sign in airport
Follow signs in the terminal to the rental car companies

After the Flight: Traveling to Disney World from MCO via Disney's complimentary Magical Express is no longer possible (and Universal never had a free one). But never fear: the company that was operating those buses took over the service for a fee. The service is called Mears Connect and they have a variety of offerings for traveling to Disney World: the traditional bus, a private van and more. If you're staying at Universal, see if the SuperStar Shuttle will work for you. For both companies, read the fine print, particularly for very early or very late flights or for flight delays.

Welcome to Orlando sign in MCO
Follow the signs to ground transportation

Do you still want to rent a car? Do you need it for your entire trip? You can still rent directly at the airport. Or, you can travel to Disney World with a car or bus service and rent a car from the car care location near Magic Kingdom. There are a couple of companies there. They will pick you up at your resort and when you return the car, they will drop you off anywhere in Disney World. You can also take a car service to Universal, Discovery Cove or Sea World rather than renting a car for the day. Going a longer distance? Think about renting a car to Tampa to go to Busch Gardens or Legoland in Winter Haven. The NYC Traveler Tip For Your Trip: Picking a car at one location and dropping it off at another actually costs more, so plan carefully.

Brightline: within Florida is the Brightline train service. They have 6 stations, one near MCO Airport. Sadly, a station that was originally planned to travel from MCO to Disney Springs did not happen (see Mears Connect as an option instead). However, if you are traveling to Disney World from other parts of Florida, this may be an option for you if you are not driving. Once you're at the airport, you can see our options above for getting to Disney World.

Amtrak: this national train service will bring you into the city of Orlando, about 30 minutes from MCO. It's not really convenient for getting directly to Disney but a car service will get you to either the resort or to the airport if you want to transfer to a bus service or rent a car.

The NYC Traveler Best Tip: fly or drive to Disney World.

Believe and Soar Magic Kingdom sign in Disney World
Magic Kingdom Dumbo Ride

Extra Bonus Tip For Your Trip: Are you traveling to Disney World after a cruise? Take the cruise transfer option to MCO Airport and catch a Mears Connect or car service to Disney. The cruise transfers tend to be lower in cost than a private car service directly from Port Canaveral. Are your cruising with Disney? They offer ground transportation from the cruise terminal to Disney World or the other way around for a fee.

So, these are The NYC Traveler Tips for traveling to Disney World. Next article: getting around Disney World itself.

Happy Travels!

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All photos and videos created and copyrighted by Marcia Crayton, unless otherwise noted.


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