Unsure about your travel options in Orlando?
Being a central Florida destination, Orlando has great road links in and around the city which are easily accessible especially if you have a car. Theme parks namely Disney and Universal are located just off the main highways and state roads in Orlando, making this an easy and seamless drive. However, if you do not have a car, don’t despair! There are plenty of taxis, shuttles and complimentary buses available between the major hotels and resorts that will get you to and from the main attractions.
One of the most favoured means of transport are car rentals as they provide you with the flexibility to get around Orlando easily.
There are many well-known and popular car rental companies to chose from, namely Alamo, Hertz, Dollar and many more!
Read below for some general yet useful tips about car hiring:
Make sure you bring your DVLA access code and Photocard driving licence with you as both are needed to hire a car in Orlando.
Having loose change on you (1 dollar notes in particular) before leaving the airport and generally when driving around in Orlando is handy as you will encounter some toll roads on route to your destinations.
You must be 21 or over in order to hire a car in Orlando/Florida.
Hiring a sat nav as part of your car package may be something to consider to make your journeys that much easier!
An important thought….
Your transport choices may depend on where you stay in Orlando and should be factored into your trip as some hotels and holiday resorts do provide transport services.
For example, those immersed in Disney and who stay at a Walt Disney resort are entitled to free complimentary access to Disney’s own transportation system – this consists of buses, monorails and boats. These services are accessible from 45 minutes before Disney theme park opening times (TIME) and operate up to one hour after closing time (TIME). It is also possible to walk to different areas of Disney’s resort as several sections of the resort are linked by lit walking paths. There are additional buses available from Disney’s spring area which run until 2:00am.
Disney’s transport services work on site only, meaning that they travel to different parks within Disney but not offsite to other attractions such as Universal (whereby you would need alternative transport here). However, if have young kids and plan to stay solely among the Disney attractions, this system may be ideal for you. Note: you don’t have to stay on site to use Disney’s transportation facilities – these are welcome to all!
Similar to Disney resorts, many hotels provide transportation facilities including shuttle bus services to and from the main attractions. Hence, it is a good idea to find out whether your hotel does provide these services which can often be found via their websites or by asking at the front desk when you arrive to your hotel.
Many of these hotel services do offer free shuttles to popular attractions such as Sea World, Walt Disney and Universal so it is worth while checking their deals as you might be able to save some money!
Bear in mind that hotel shuttles often have specific departure times to and from the hotel so you may need to plan with this in mind to ensure you make the most out of your day!
What about transport outside of Disney and major hotel resorts?
One of the main roads running throughout Orlando is the ‘International Drive’ ( or“I-drive”). Consisting of an enormous parade of flea markets, retail parks and restaurants, it is the perfect destination for all ages to visit.
If you don’t plan to hire a car, then international drive may be the best place for you to stay as there is plenty to do and has transportation services that access to some of the main attractions embedded in Orlando.
There is an I-RIDE trolley system that operates throughout the I-drive and is key for getting around the area. It provides access to a range of theme parks, such as Sea world and comprises of two routes which spread over 14 miles; The red line trolley travels along international drive from the Orlando premium outlets to SeaWorld and Aquatica, and then to the south Orlando premium outlets of international drive where it terminates (Vineland Avenue). Alternatively, there is a green line trolley that journeys through universal areas with the route beginning at Major boulevard, through to Universal Boulevard and then mirrors the same route of the red trolley. The red trolley arrives approximately every 20 minutes and the green trolley, every 30 minutes. This system runs daily from 8:00am -10:30pm.
Travel fares are relatively cheap, making it a very appealing system. There is the option to purchase single fare tickets (approximately $2 per ride and $1 for children 3-9 with a paying adult, 25cent for Seniors) as well as unlimited travel passes which range anywhere between $4 -$18, dependent on how many days you chose to use the system for. See here for the most up to date trolley ticket prices.
NOTE: Passes are not sold on the trolleys themselves –but do not fear! you can have purchased them online, through over 100 locations in the international drive area (including the official visitor center) or via your hotel at the front desk.
Try and carry loose change on you as some trolleys require exact change and drivers do not necessarily carry cash on them and will not be able to give you change.
Want to travel outside of the I-drive area? No problem!
There are shuttle services available for visiting between different attractions and for reaching destinations further away from the theme parks, such as the Kennedy Space Center, Coca beach and/or Tampa.
Some of the main shuttle services used are:
- Florida Fun Shuttle – journey to many different attractions including beaches and sporting events and provides port Canaveral transfers.
- Magic Shuttle – provide services to and from both Orlando airports as well as access to many main attractions, shopping and dining events.
- Maingate Transportation – offers town cars, shuttles and taxi services to and from the Orlando international airport as well as many Florida attractions.
There are also tour and charter buses available for longer/further destinations in Florida. Two of the main charter bus tour companies are:
Are there any public buses?
If you wish to explore the city of Orlando, then travelling by bus may suit you! The Lynx bus system travels throughout most of the city, including theme parks and the major tourist attractions namely Downtown to Disney parks and international drive as well as access to Orlando’s international airport.
They offer 1, 7 and 30 day passes which will depend on how long you want to spend using the bus system and where you plan to go so it may be worth planning this into your trip beforehand.
There are also ‘Lymmo’ buses that operate free of charge around the city centre, namely downtown Orlando. Click online here at www.golynx.com for access to all the routes and main attractions that these services cover or contact 407 841 5969 for further information.
What about trains?
Orlando’s Sunrail passenger system is a train service that primarily operates Mondays to Fridays. It covers three Orlando counties by travelling through several stations including Altamonte Springs, Winter Park and Florida’s hospital health village. You can purchase a ticket/travel card from a ticket machine at any of the involved train stations.
A relatively new service, this train now offers Saturday transport making it even easier to get around Orlando on the weekends. Fares do still apply.
Visit the official Sunrail website for a complete list of stations and map route this train service takes.
Whilst it is sometimes the easiest option, it is often more expensive than other means of transport. Here we provide some advice to avoid being overcharged:
Only use metered taxis as non-metered taxis are likely to rip you off! All of the mears cabs, such as yellow cab company (tel: +1 407 422 2222) and checker cab company) charge by the meter. Diamond cab co and Star taxis are other main taxi companies. All these taxi companies have reviews saying they are reliable services.
Orlando’s main roads do get busy (e.g. international drive) and traffic can build up quickly. Note that in a taxi, drivers are likely to charge extra for more stops and getting caught in the traffic.