Your Guide to Orlando International Airport

If you are flying to your Walt Disney World vacation, you’ll be transiting Orlando International Airport.

Here is our guide to navigating the airport as smoothly as possible plus an overview of all that the airport has to offer.

Note: there is an airport that calls itself “Orlando” Sanford International Airport. It is not in Orlando, rather it is in Sanford which is 45 to 50 miles from WDW making transport to WDW much more expensive and requiring extra time. Also Disney’s Magical Express does not service Sanford International Airport! Using this airport is not recommended unless you are renting a car and wasting your time is not a big deal.

Arrival at Orlando International Airport (MCO, KMCO)

When your airplane arrives at the gate you will be in one of 4 outlying gate buildings (the airport calls these “Airsides”). Each of these buildings has 2 to 3 corridors with gates radiating from a central area. In the central area you’ll find all of the shopping and dining venues as well as the tram to the main terminal.

The automated, above ground, subway car style shuttles will whisk you to the main terminal fairly quickly without much of a wait.

As you exit your airplane look for and follow the signs for Terminal and Bag Claim. These will lead to your terminal’s central area. In the central area look for the sign for Shuttle to Terminal & Bag Claim, this will lead you to the shuttle to the main terminal.

MDT Guide to Orlando International Airport

The automated, above ground, subway car style shuttles will whisk you to the main terminal fairly quickly without much of a wait.

MDT Guide to Orlando International Airport

Main Terminal

The main terminal sits in the middle of the Airside buildings, which are located at its 4 corners.

MDT Guide to Orlando International Airport

Orlando International Airport Main Terminal. TSA low Waits (morning)

The main terminal has a central common area with dining, shopping, lounging areas and TSA screening. There are 2 sides to the airport, the north A (Orange) Side and south B (Green) side that have airline ticketing, baggage claim, and transportation options.

MDT Guide to Orlando International Airport

Each side is 3 stories with ticketing on the “main” third level, vehicle arrival and baggage claim on the second, and ground transportation on the first.

MDT Guide to Orlando International Airport

As you exit the shuttle from your Airside building continue to follow signs for “A B Bag Claim and Ground Transportation”.

MDT Guide to Orlando International Airport

Once in the main terminal you’ll either proceed to your baggage claim (A or B) or Disney’s Magical Express.

MDT Guide to Orlando International Airport

If you are picking up your bags yourself you’ll need to know whether you need to go to Baggage Claim A or B! Check your airline app, airport monitors, or your flight attendant might have told you. Head for that baggage claim.

After claiming your bags, or if you only have carry-on either head down to your side’s first floor for ground transportation, out the doors on the second floor for Uber or Lyft pickups, or to the B side first floor for the Magical Express.

If you are riding Disney’s Magical Express (within baggage service hours 5 am-10 pm) you will head to the B Side. You’ll see the signs for Disney’s Magical Express which is located on the first floor.

FYI – Depending on the time of day, the main terminal can be very busy and congested.

Of note in the Main Terminal is Disney’s Earport, a merchandise location for those last minute purchases and some fun photo ops.

MDT Guide to Orlando International Airport Disney Earport

Orlando International Airport Disney Earport

Orland International has a USO Lounge on the A Side first floor (outside security).

Ground Transportation

The first floor of both the A and B sides houses Ground Transportation. That is: rental cars, limos, taxis, Magical Express (B Side only) and pickups via personal vehicles.

Transportation Options

Rental Cars – Numerous Rental Car Companies have counters on-airport on the A and B sides. These are:

  • Advantage
  • Alamo
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Dollar
  • Enterprise
  • E-Z
  • Hertz
  • National
  • Payless
  • Thrifty

Other companies have off-airport locations accessible via shuttle vans.

Be sure to check for military, government and USAA discounts!

When departing the airport in your rental:

  • For WDW use the south airport exit (portions are tool roads, currently about $1.25)
  • For the Orlando ITT, SeaWorld, Universal use the north airport exit (portions are tool roads, currently about $3.50)

Ride-Hailing Services – Uber and Lyft pick up on level 2. As you exit from Baggage Claim check FOR the sings with numbers located above the pickup area by the road. Text this number to your driver for ease of pickup.

One-way rides to WDW start at about $30

Uber – Free ride up to $15 by signing up via this link for Uber (or use the promo code steveb14703ue if the link doesn’t work). This promo is for your first ride only, any value not used expires so this is perfect for a ride from Orlando International to WDW.

Lyft – $5 credit towards your first ride when you sign up for Lyft using this link. This promo is for your first ride only.

Airport Shuttles – There are numerous companies that offer shuttle and limo service from the airport to all Central Florida locations.

Military Disney Tips has negotiated a Military Discount with Orlando Shuttle Service. This special offer is exclusive to MDT Readers, you’ll get $15 off the basic round trip pricing of private transportation to ANY Orlando hotel or resort when you book at Orlando Shuttle Service. Just enter the promo code MDT15. This code is valid online or via phone.

MDT Guide to Orlando International Airport Disney's Magical Express

Disney’s Magical Express – If you are using DME for your transportation to your Disney Resort head to the B Side first floor, then follow the signs. The DME station is at one end of the first floor.

MDT Guide to Orlando International Airport Disney's Magical Express

MDT Guide to Orlando International Airport Disney's Magical Express

Disney’s Magical Express Check In

You’ll need to have your magic bands on by this point. There are several podiums to choose from. When it’s your turn one person in your party will scan their magic band, the cast member will confirm your resort with you, and you’ll be told a line to enter.

When your bus arrives and begins to load, each person in your party will have to scan their band at the end of the line. You’ll then be told at which bus parking spot to board.

MDT Guide to Orlando International Airport Disney's Magical Express

Magical Express Queues. Morning with no lines, later in the day and evening is much worse.

MDT Tip: Have you’re Disney’s Magical Express paperwork that you received in the mail easily accessible in case there is an issue scanning your band(s).

Departure from Orlando International Airport

Orlando International Airport is a very busy airport!

Lines at the TSA Checkpoints can be very long!

MDT Guide to Orlando International Airport

TSA Lines during a busy period, for only 2 Airsides

Plan accordingly! Note: Disney’s Magical Express usually picks you up 3 to 3.5 hours prior to your flight!

MDT Tip: Disney Resorts and Shades of Green offer airline check in and bag check at your resort. This is a fantastic service which will save you time at the airport where you can head straight to the gate. See our Airline Checkin Review.

Arriving at Orlando International Airport (before you depart)

Okay, we gotta pick a road. Arrivals or departures? We’re arriving, but then we’re departing. Which one Snake?

Eddie – from Disney’s Touchstone Pictures Big Trouble

  • If you are using Disney’s Magical Express – You’ll be dropped off on the first floor
  • Shuttles will also drop off on the first floor
  • Limos may drop you off on the third floor or the first
  • Uber and Lyft will drop you on the third floor
  • Rental cars follow the signs for rental car return. Both A and B sides have one

Ticketing, check in, and shuttles to departure gates are located on the third floor.

Airport Facilities

As mentioned above, the main terminal sits in the middle of the Airside buildings, which are located at its 4 corners.

The main terminal has a central common area with dining, shopping, lounging areas and TSA screening. The Main Terminal has a food court, lounging areas, stores, restaurants, and a hotel.

MDT Guide to Orlando International Airport Disney Earport

Disney’s Earport

The 4 Airsides have all 119 gates, stores, and restaurants.

There are 2 TSA Security Checkpoints which serve:

  • Airside 1 & 3
  • Airside 2 & 4

The Airsides are accessed only via a shuttle train from the central airport building after passing through TSA screening.

  • Airsides 1 – Gates 1-29
  • Airsides 2 – Gates 100-129
  • Airsides 3 – Gates 30-59
  • Airsides 4 – Gates 70-99

Each Airside has a central area with the Shuttle Station and the dining/shopping locations. Two to three long hallways containing the gates extend outwards form here.

MDT Guide to Orlando International Airport

An Airside Central Area

Dining

Here are the dining locations that are available:

Restaurant Main Terminal Airside 1 Airside 2 Airside 3 Airside 4
Auntie Anne’s X X
Bahama Breeze X
Burger King X X
Carvel X
Chick-fil-A X
Chili’s X
Chipotle X
Cinnabon X
Cold Stone Creamery X
Firehouse Subs X
Jersey Mike’s Subs X
Manchu Wok X
Macaroni Grill X
McDonald’s main X
Moe’s Southwest Grill X
Nathan’s Famous Subs X
On the Border X
Outback X
Panda Express X
Ruby Tuesday X
Qdoba X
Sbarro’s X
Starbucks X X X X
Villa Italian Kitchen X
Wendy’s X
Zaza Cuban Dinner X X

The Main Terminal has Disney, Universal, SeaWorld, and Kennedy Space Center stores. Many other generic shopping options are available in a the Main Terminal and Airsides.

MDT Guide to Orlando International Airport

Helpful Links:

TSA Pre check sign up, Recommended!

Orlando International Airport Official App – MCO app

Orlando International Airport Offical Site – With Security Wait Times

May your travel through MCO be smooth!

Over to you. Do you have any tips for the Orlando Airport? Tell us in the comments section below!

This guide will be helpful to your non-military family and friends, so be sure to share!




Planning a Disney Trip? Want to get the best military discounts that are available? Feeling a little confused? See our:

Learn about the Disney Armed Forces Salute the best military discount that there is for Disney. For where to stay see our Resorts/Hotel Overview Page. Disney doesn’t discount dining for the military, but there are a few places on property that do, see the Dining Overview Page to learn where plus more dining info. You can also learn about Transportation Options. Be sure to check out our Technology Overview to learn about Magic Bands and My Disney Experience to see how they work with military tickets. Walt Disney World visitors might be interested in staying at Shades of Green, WDW’s Military Only Resort.

See: Top 8 Reasons to Use An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner

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Walt Disney World for Military Families 2019 - Available in Print, Kindle, and Digital PDF Download

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Disneyland for Military Families - Available in Print, Kindle, and Digital PDF Download

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EzPacking Cube Organization System, Tame Your Suitcase! - MDT Readers get 15% off with MILITARYDISNEY at checkout

Other Planning Resources

My Disney Experience - The Official Disney iPhone App (Free iTunes Download)

Buy Your Magic Bands at the Disney Store

Best Ever First Timers WDW Book The Easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit

YourFirstVisit.net The premier website for first time visitors to Walt Disney World!

The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World The Ultimate WDW Guide!

TouringPlans.com - The website of the Unofficial Guide - Crowd Forecasts, Pre-made Touring Plan, plus lots of detailed info

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