major gateway to Walt Disney World is Orlando
International Airport (tel. 407/825-2001).
Flying time is 2 1/2 hours from New York, 3 1/2
hours from Chicago, and 5 hours from Los Angeles.
Carriers serving Orlando International include Air
Tran (tel. 800/247-9726), America West
(tel. 800/235-9292), American Airlines (tel.
800/433-7300), Continental (tel.
800/523-3273), Delta (tel. 800/221-1212), Northwest
(tel. 800/225-2525), Southwest (tel.
(800/435-9792), TWA(tel. 800/221-2000), United
Airlines (tel. 800/241-6522), and US Airways
From the U.K.
Carriers serving Orlando International include American
(tel. 0345/789789), British Airways (tel.
020/8897-4000; outside London, 0345/222111), Continental
(tel. 0800/776464), Delta (tel. 0800/414767),
Northwest (tel. 01293/561000), TWA
(tel. 0800/222222), United (tel.
0800/888555), and Virgin Atlantic (tel.
Between the Airport and Town
Public buses operate between the airport and the
main terminal of the Tri-County Transit Authority
(1200 W. South St., tel. 407/841-8240), in downtown
Orlando. Although the cost is only 75¢, other
options are preferable because center-city Orlando
is far from most of the hotels used by theme-park
Taxis take only a half hour to get from the
airport to most hotels used by WDW visitors; they
charge about $25 plus tip to the International Drive
area, about $10 more to the U.S. 192 area. Depending
on the number of people in your party, this will
cost more or less than paying by the head for an
Mears Transportation Group (tel.
407/422-5566) will meet you at the gate, help you
with your luggage, and whisk you away, in either an
11-passenger van, a town car, or a limo. Vans run to
Walt Disney World and along U.S. 192 every 30
minutes; prices range from $12.50 one-way for adults
($8.50 for children 4-11) to $22 round-trip for
adults ($16 children 4-11). Limo rates run around
$50-$60 for a town car that will accommodate three
or four and $90 for a stretch limo that will seat
six. Town & Country Transportation (tel.
407/828-3035) charges $30-$40 one-way for up to
seven, depending on the hotel.
Use the Beeline Expressway (Rte. 528) to get to
the hotels from the airport. Follow the expressway
west to International Drive, or stay on the Beeline
to I-4 and head either west to Walt Disney World or
east to downtown Orlando. Call your hotel for the
Lines (555 N. Magruder Ave., tel. 407/292-3422
or 800/231-2222) serves Orlando from most American
Disney World has three exits off I-4.
If you want to have your car in Orlando without
driving it there, board the Auto-Train in
Lorton, Virginia (tel. 703/690-3355), near
Washington, DC. Its southern terminus is Sanford,
Florida (tel. 407/323-4800), some 20 miles north of
(tel. 800/USA-RAIL) operates the Silver Star
and the Silver Meteor to Florida. Both stop
in Orlando (1400 Sligh Blvd.).
public transportation in Orlando is practically
nonexistent and taxis are expensive because of the
distances involved, it is by no means absolutely
necessary to rent a car when you are in the area. If
you are staying at a Disney hotel or purchase a
multiday passport instead of buying daily admission
tickets to the Disney parks, your transportation
within Walt Disney World is free. Outside Walt
Disney World, just about every lodging is linked by
private shuttle to area attractions. However, should
you want to visit the major theme parks outside Walt
Disney World, venture off the beaten track, or eat
where most tourists don't, then a rental car is
most important artery in the Orlando area is I-4,
which links the Atlantic Coast to Florida's Gulf of
Mexico. However, the interstate actually runs north
and south in the Orlando area. So think north when
I-4 signs say east and think south when the signs
The gas islands at the Disney Car Care Center
near the Magic Kingdom are open daily until 90
minutes after the Magic Kingdom closes.
The major car-rental companies represented in
Orlando are Alamo (tel. 800/327-9633; in the
U.K., 020/8759-6200), Avis (tel.
800/331-1212; in Canada, 800/879-2847), Budget
(tel. 800/527-0700; in the U.K., 0800/181181), Dollar
(tel. 800/800-4000; in the U.K., 020/8897-0811,
where it is known as Eurodollar), Hertz (tel.
800/654-3131; in Canada, 800/263-0600; in the U.K.,
020/8897-2027), and National InterRent (tel.
800/227-7368; in the U.K., where National is known
as Europcar InterRent, 0345/222525). Fortunately,
Orlando offers some of the lowest rental-car rates
in the United States. Rates begin at $28 a day and
$136 a week for an economy car with unlimited
mileage. This does not include tax on car rentals,
which is 6%.
In the United States you must be 21 to rent a
car; rates may be higher if you're under 25. You'll
pay extra for child seats (about $3 per day),
compulsory for children under five, and for
additional drivers (about $2 per day). If you are
not a U.S. citizen, to pick up your reserved car you
will need the reservation voucher, a passport, a
driver's license, and a travel policy that covers
Every theme park has a parking lot-and all are
huge. In fact, Disney prides itself on noting that
the Magic Kingdom's parking lot, with its 12,000
parking spaces, is the second-largest lot in the
universe (after Houston's Astrodome). Always write
down exactly where you park and take the number with
you. Although in theory Goofy 45 is unforgettable
(sections of the Magic Kingdom lot are named for
Disney characters; Epcot's are named after
environments, such as Space and Energy; Disney-MGM
Studios' are film genres), a day full of
unforgettable experiences in the Disney parks may
prove it otherwise. Trams make frequent trips
between the parking area and the parks' turnstile
For each lot, admission is $5 for cars, $6 for
RVs and campers, and free for Walt Disney World
resort guests with ID. Save your receipt; if you
want to visit another park the same day, you won't
have to pay to park twice. Parking is always free at
Typhoon Lagoon, River Country, and Blizzard Beach.
Mass Transit in Orlando
you are staying in Orlando proper, you can ride
public buses to get around the immediate area. To
find out which bus to take, ask your hotel clerk or
call the Lynx Information Office (1200 W. South St.,
tel. 407/841-8240) for more information.
From the Hotels to the
Scheduled service and charters linking just about
every hotel and major attraction in the area are
available from Gray Line of Orlando (tel.
407/422-0744), Mears Transportation Group
(tel. 407/422-5566), Phoenix Tours (tel.
407/859-4211), and Rabbit Bus Lines (tel.
407/291-2424). In addition, many hotels run their
own shuttles especially for guests; to arrange a
ride, all you have to do is ask your hotel's
concierge, inquire at the front desk, or phone the
One-way fares are usually $6-$7 per adult, a
couple of dollars less for children 4-11, between
major hotel areas and the Disney parks.
Mass Transit within WDW
Disney World has its own transportation system that
can get you wherever you want to go. It's fairly
simple once you get the hang of it. All charges for
transportation are included in the price of your
multiday passport. Monorail, launches, buses, and
trams all operate from early in the morning until at
least midnight, although hours are shorter during
early closing periods. Check on the operating hours
of the service you need if you plan to be out
Motor launches connect WDW destinations located
on waterways. Specifically, they operate between the
Epcot Center resorts-except the Caribbean Beach-and
Disney-MGM Studios and between Discovery Island in
Bay Lake and the Magic Kingdom, Fort Wilderness, the
Wilderness Lodge, and the Polynesian, Contemporary,
and Grand Floridian resorts.
Buses provide direct service from every on-site
resort to both major and minor theme parks, and
express buses go directly between the major theme
parks. To Typhoon Lagoon, you can go directly from
or make connections at the Transportation and Ticket
Center-called TTC, Disney Village Marketplace, Epcot
Center, and the Epcot Center resorts including the
Beach Club and Yacht Club, the Caribbean Beach
Resort, the Swan, and the Dolphin.
The elevated monorail serves many important
destinations. It has two loops: one linking the
Magic Kingdom, TTC, and a handful of resorts,
including the Contemporary, the Grand Floridian, and
the Polynesian Village, and the other looping from
the TTC directly to Epcot Center. Before this
monorail line pulls into the station, the elevated
track circles through Future World-Epcot Center's
northern half-and circles the giant silver geosphere
housing the Spaceship Earth ride to give you a
preview of what you'll see.
From the Epcot Center resort area, trams operate
to the International Gateway of the park's World
fares start at $2.45 and cost $1.40 for each mile
thereafter. Sample fares: To WDW's Magic Kingdom,
about $20 from International Drive, $11-$15 from
U.S. 192. To Church Street Station, downtown,
$20-$25 from International Drive, $30-$40 from U.S.