Highlights – Magic of Disney, Universal Store, Chic-Fil-A, Kennedy Space Center, Seaworld, Lego Store.
This is one of America’s busiest airports, people from all over the world arrive here to visit Disney World. Orlando is home to a world of attractions with Disney World at the top of that list followed by Universal Orlando, Seaworld, LegoLand and many others. Orlando is just a fun place to be, and easy vacation which doesn’t require too much planning logistically, You get into the airport and usually you can get bused off to many Disney or Universal associated hotels and once in those bubbles you are well taken care of. When you’re leaving Orlando be aware your gates may change, always try to keep up the date on the gate your flight is on via your airline app, I’ve had it twice where my gate was changed and I had to run to different terminal.
The layout of this airport has 4 terminal shaped like a big cross, with more popular vendors in the center and the gates along the 4 locations split into Side A and Side B with trains to get from the main terminal to all 4 locations. Terminal 1: Gates 1-29, Terminal 2: 100-129, Terminal 3: 30-59, Terminal 4: 70-99.
Getting to Lake Buena Vista or Orlando
If you’re staying in a Disney or packaged Hotel, it’s going to be the easiest and potentially cheapest to take the Hotel Shuttles you can opt in or may come free with your hotel bookings. From my experience the Disney hotels will offer the free shuttle but you need to opt into it, so check with your hotel before you book. If you have to pay and have a larger group you may want to get an UberXL or a regular Uber, Uber in Orlando is prevalent they consistently have cars at the airports, outlet malls, parks and hotels so much so that it’s never an issue to get one but try to stay out of the Uber surge times to save some cash. It takes about 30 minutes to get to Lake Buena Vista where Disney is located or about 15-20 minutes around where Universal is located. If you’re planning on going to Kennedy Space Center or the beaches it might be worth it to rent a car from the airport and drive to your Hotel but beware that the parking lots at the big parks are always packed.
Food at MCO
There are a lot of repeat vendors at MCO, if you find a place you’d like to eat I would suggest grabbing it and going to your terminal. There is not many choices but this airport is mainly, if you require something on the go. There are a few bars or sit down places like Outback Steakhouse or Cask and Larder. Also notable fast food joints like Chic-Fil-A, Chipotle and the golden arches most of which are located inside the central area. I’d suggest grabbing a quick bite inside the center area of the airport before heading near the gates, but the more interesting things at this airport is the souvenir shops.
Souvenir Shopping at the Orlando Airport
This is what makes this airport stick out from the rest. If you missed out buying anything during your time inside one of the attractions and have regrets you potentially could find whatever you wanted again here. There are multiple World of Disney locations and Universal as well as Lego, Seaworld and the Kennedy space center. Prices are roughly the same as inside the parks, but the variety of items are usually limited to just the popular items.
Things to Do in the Airport
Not Much, just grab your food and souvenirs and wait to get on your flight.
How long does Security or TSA take?
I’m not too sure what to say here you could need 1.5 hours for international flights or you could need 30 minutes but I’d lean towards at minimum 1.5 hours, I’ve had it where they were very slow and herded everyone like cattle from an unorderly line into one line then slowly had each person go through to get their bags checked and everyone would get scanned, which maybe one of the slowest, confusing and irritating TSA lines I have experienced, On the other hand the last time I was there the line was orderly but really slow after about 20 minutes the staff all of a sudden decided to used trained Canine dogs and had everyone pack up all their belongings and walk around in a large U while the dogs circled in the middle looking for trace chemicals which are banned from airplanes, this was maybe the fastest TSA line I have ever been in. Not exactly the most settling feeling for safety but at least you know banned substances will be flagged by the dogs. The annoying thing about this airport is they will prioritize passengers from connecting flights and stop the line to let those flights in then start processing the regular line again.