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Orlando City Guide

Getting In, Getting Around Orlando

If you're visiting Orlando for the first time, you obvioiusly won't know the best ways to get around the city. The following tips should help.

From the Airport

Car rental: Orlando has a large rental car market. All the major rental companies are based at or close to Orlando International Airport. When reserving your vehicle, check to see if the rental company is located at the airport or if you have to take a courtesy shuttle to an offsite location. The car rental desks are located on Level 1 on both A and B areas, and signs are clearly posted to help direct you.

Most rental companies are just a few minutes ride from the airport, and they provide a shuttle service for convenience with departure points well marked with signs. When picking up your rental vehicle, make sure to get a map of the area and ask the agent to mark the best route to your destination.

Getting out of Orlando International Airport isn't easy if you're a stranger, mainly because several major roads converge on the airport. Drive slowly so that you have time to get into the right lane to exit the airport.

Taxi: Taxis are available, with well-posted signs located throughout the airport. Taxis are allowed to carry up to nine passengers, and the metered rate is irrespective of the number of passengers. Expect to pay $12 from the airport to an airport hotel, $35 to downtown Orlando, $50 to $60 to Kissimmee, and $60 to Walt Disney World. Limousines normally have fixed rates so agree on the fare before you set off.

Public transportation: Shuttle vans operate from the airport and go to downtown Orlando and all the main tourist destinations. They're a little cheaper than taxis, and it is cheaper to buy a roundtrip ticket. Expect to pay about $10 per person one way from the airport to airport hotels and $15 for a roundtrip ticket; $15 one way to International Drive and downtown and $25 for the roundtrip; and $23 one way to Kissimmee and $41 for the roundtrip. 

Lynx Orlando Transit Authority provides bus service from the airport to downtown Orlando. Buses are available on Level 1 of the airport's main terminal on the B Side at commercial lane spaces B12-14. Expect your ride to downtown Orlando to take 40 minutes and your ride to International Drive to be about 60 minutes. Fare cost is $1.50 per person.

Driving In

Rush hour: Interstate 4 is best avoided during rush hours -- 7 am to 9 am and 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Traffic is heaviest heading west in the mornings and is almost always backed up heading east in the evenings. When it's raining, everything slows down even more. If you have to travel on main roads during these times, give yourself an extra 30 to 45 minutes if driving more than 10 miles.

Rules of the road: Most Florida drivers don't know their vehicles have traffic indicators because they never seem to use them. A large number also ignore traffic lights, so great care should be taken at all intersections. Drivers regularly continue moving even though the traffic light is red. Unless posted otherwise, motorists are able to make a left turn on a red light -- provided it is safe to do so.

Getting Around

Public transportation: Lynx offers a bus service with routes to downtown, major attractions, and several neighborhoods. The standard one-way fare is $1.50, and a seven-day pass costs $12. You must have a pass or the exact fare. Passes can be bought at scores of Lynx Pass Partner outlets throughout Greater Orlando.

International Drive is serviced by I-Ride Trolleys from 8 am to 10:30 pm. They operate every 20 minutes; the single fare is $1, and a one-day pass is $3. You can get on and off where you please, but you must have either a pass or the exact fare.

I-Ride Trolleys run along International Drive between 8 am and 10:30 pm for just a dollar a ride.
©2006 Orlando CVB
I-Ride Trolleys run along International Drive between
8 am and 10:30 pm for just a dollar a ride.

Taxis, on foot, or by bike: Taxis are plentiful, but for a late-night treat in downtown Orlando, you can also take a horse-drawn carriage or rickshaw ride. Carriage rides are available in downtown Orlando beginning at 7:30 pm, so pick up one on Church Street.

Rickshaws are available in the evening along International Drive and the downtown area. They carry three to four people and are free for up to two miles, but keep in mind that the drivers work for tips only. Longer rides are negotiable. You can hail them or ask staff at your hotel or restaurant to call one.

Bicycles can be hired at many locations, but are best used in resort areas away from main roads. Because of the distances between hotels, attractions, malls and so on, it is usually best to drive to your destination.

Now that you know how to get around, where will you go first? See the next section for some suggestions on special events and attractions.