Taking a family trip to Universal Studios in Orlando is exciting, but it comes with a lot to think about and plenty of plans to make. If you are traveling to Orlando via airplane, you will likely be flying into Orlando International Airport, also known as MCO.
The Orlando International Airport (MCO) is the airport that is closest to Universal Studios Orlando and will be your most convenient and, in the long run, most affordable option when visiting the Orlando area. Another thing you will want to consider when making your plans is how you will be getting from the Orlando International Airport to Universal Studios.
When it comes to transportation, you have several options to consider, all of which will successfully get you to your destination, but picking the right option for your family is what is important.
It is recommended that you go straight from the airport to Universal Studios. This will save you time and money when it comes to transportation. Additionally, this will provide you with more options for transportation services.
Today we will be covering everything that you need to know about getting from MCO to Universal Studios.
How Far is Universal Studios from the Orlando International Airport?
Let’s start with the basics, exactly how far is MCO from Universal Studios? Well, according to GPS, Universal Studios is approximately 18 miles from Orlando International Airport. The 18-mile route runs you anywhere from 20-40 minutes, dependent on the route and time of day.
In comparison, there are a few other airports that are in the area, but they are not nearly as close or convenient as MCO. For reference, if you choose to fly to another airport, you can expect the following:
- Orlando Sanford International Airport: Approximately 37 miles and anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour for travel
- Tampa International Airport: Approximately 85 miles and nearly a two-hour drive
Transportation Options to get from Orlando Airport to Universal Studios
As I mentioned above, there are many options to choose from when it comes to travelling from Orlando International Airport to Universal Studios. Those options include:
Universal’s SuperStar Shuttle
Universal Studios does offer an Airport Shuttle service to those that are staying at Universal Studios Resort. The Universal SuperStar Shuttle service is available between 7:00 am and 8:00 pm.
If you choose to use this service, you will obtain your luggage from baggage claim and then proceed to the Hotel Transportation Desk on Level 1 at your assigned terminal. There you will be greeted by a Universal Studios Representative, and they will guide you to your transportation.
This service is an additional fee that will run you a roundtrip cost of $39 per adult and $29 for children ages 3-9, but this cost can be built into your hotel package.
There are a number of public taxi services that are available for transport; you can typically find taxis lined up outside the airport waiting for guests that need their services. Taxi services will typically run to around $40. However, they are not always the most convenient if you are traveling with a family simply due to the size of the vehicle.
With the introduction of Uber and Lyft, you can order a rideshare service that will accommodate your family’s size, and they will get you where you need to go. Uber Orlando and Lyft Orlando services will cost you around $20-$70.
Rideshare service pricing is variable pricing meaning that it can vary extremely depending on the time of day, traffic, and the demand for service compared to the supply of drivers in the area.
Rental Car Services
If you prefer to drive on your own, there are a number of rental car services available at the Orlando International Airport. Of course, keep in mind that with choosing to use a rental car, you will have additional expenses. These additional expenses include:
- The cost of the rental car for the duration of your stay
- Highway tolls
- Parking Costs, each Universal Resort Hotel has its own parking structure, and they do charge a nightly rate to park there ranging from $14-$18 nightly. If you choose to stay off-site, parking fees may be applicable as well; however, that will vary from hotel to hotel. You will, however, be required to pay a parking fee for visiting the parks.
- The daily rate for Universal Studios parking starts at $27 and can go up from there, dependent on the level of parking you choose and the time of day.
Which Transportation Service Should You Choose?
Now that you have seen the variety of options, it’s time to pick which transportation service you would like to use. The answer to that question is not so cut and dry. Each travel situation will be different, and one service may work better for your family, while another would be best for my family. What I can tell you is our experience and how each service has worked for us.
- The Cheapest: The service that will likely cost you the least amount of money in the long run, is the Universal SuperStar Shuttle. You can work this expense into your hotel package, and it is a one-time round trip rate for each member of your family rather than risking a variable rate for something like ride-share.
- The Easiest: It depends on what you define as easy, but we have found that renting a car is the easiest option for our family. While it is costlier, it provides us with the ease and control to be able to cater to our family’s needs.
- The Quickest: Again, the quickest option to get you from the airport is probably going to be with a rental vehicle, especially if you already have your vehicle rental pre-booked. Using a rental service just brings you back to having that control and the ability to make your trips on your time.
If you have an upcoming trip to Universal Studios and are getting some planning done, I hope that this guide has provided you with some knowledge and information that may be necessary when you are booking your trip.
Getting from Orlando International Airport to Universal Studios is fairly straightforward due to the number of resources and options that are made available to travelers.
What form of transportation works best for your family? Feel free to share with other readers and us in the comments.
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