Getting to Orlando
By James | Last updated August 18, 2023
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Getting to Orlando by Air
Most air travellers arriving in Orlando will land at Orlando International Airport (code MCO) east of the city. Over 47 million passengers passed through Orlando International Airport in 2018, ahead of Miami as Florida’s busiest airport.
The former Naval Air Station at Sanford, now called Orlando-Sanford International Airport (code SFB) serves as a major airport for charter airlines, particularly from Europe. It is situated about 25 miles north east of Orlando and is connected to the main tourists areas by toll roads so make sure you have a supply of quarters to pay the tolls.
If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel then you can take advantage of Disney’s free Magical Express Bus Service from the airport to your hotel. Note this service does not operate from Sanford.
Getting to Orlando by Car
Orlando lies on Interstate I–4 which runs northeast/southwest across Central Florida from Tampa on the Gulf coast in the west to Daytona Beach on the Atlantic coast in the east.
Tampa is about a one and a half hour drive (85 miles) and Daytona Beach one hour (56 miles) from Orlando.
The other main Interstates, I–75 and I–95 run north/south with I–75 following the Gulf coast and I–95 on the Atlantic coast.
Miami is a four hour drive (230 miles) to the south and Jacksonville is a two and half hour (140 miles) drive to the north.
Getting to Orlando by Train
Orlando is very accessible by Amtrak railway with services from the North Eastern states. Both the Silver Star and the Silver Meteor services start their journeys in New York and pass through Orlando on their way to Miami. Shortest journey time is just under 22 hours.
The Sunset Limited service used to operate from Los Angeles on the Pacific West coast all the way to Orlando but following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, the service was terminated and there seems no plans to re-instate it.
If you live in the north east of the United States then you can take your motorcycle, car, van or SUV direct from Lorton just outside Washington DC to Sanford by the Amtrak Auto Train service. Total journey time is around 16 hours and is a lot less stressful than driving that sort of distance.
It a couple of years time it will be possible to get a high speed train from Miami to Orlando on the Virgin Trains USA service, formerly known as Brightline.
Getting to Orlando by Greyhound Bus
You can also reach Orlando by Greyhound bus with services from across the United States. There is one Greyhound bus station in the Orlando area plus another in nearby Kissimmee.
Fastest journey time from New York to Orlando takes around 25 hours.