Orlando International Airport (MCO) is located just six miles (10 km) from downtown Orlando. It handles over 47 million passengers each year, making it the tenth busiest airport in the United States. In 2017, MCO surpassed Miami Airport as the busiest airport in Florida.
The layout of the Orlando Airport can be confusing for those unfamiliar with it. There are two terminals (A-side and B-side) that split into two separate concourses. The concourses are connected to the central building via automated trams. Be sure to pay attention to your terminal and gate number so that you do not end up in the wrong area and need to go back through security.
- Airport Code: MCO
- Open 24 hours, but staff hours vary according to flight schedules
- Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the airport. Connect to “MCO Network”
History of Orlando International Airport
The airfield was originally constructed as a U.S. Army Air Force facility in 1942. After several years, the airfield was named Pinecastle AFB. In the 1950s, the base hosted SAC’s annual Bombing and Navigation Competition. In 1958, a tragic accident at the competition killed Colonel Michael Norman Wright McCoy. One year later, the base was renamed in honor of him as the McCoy Air Force Base. This name is the reason why the IATA code of Orlando Airport is MCO. It became a civilian airport in 1975 and changed its name to the Orlando Airport, but kept the original airport code. In 1978, the airport handled 5 million passengers. That number has grown to over 47 million passengers in 2018.
Getting to and from the Orlando Airport
Lynx public buses travel to popular tourist spots such as downtown Orlando, International Drive, Florida Mall/SeaWorld, Premium Outlets, and the Sand Lake Road SunRail station. Buses are available at Terminal A on Level 1, spaces A38 to A 41.
Taxis and Ride-Share
Ride-share companies (Uber, Lyft, Wingz) are permitted to pick-up and drop-off from the Orlando Airport. Passenger drop-off is on the Departures curb (Level 3) and pick-up is at Arrivals curb (Level 2).
Metered taxis are available at taxi stands located on the Arrivals Level (Level 2) at both Terminal A and B.
Parking at MCO Airport
Orlando International Airport has eight official parking systems. North and South Economy Lots are uncovered parking lots with a free shuttle to bring passengers to the airport. Transfer time is approximately 10 minutes. The Economy Lots are available for $10 per day. There are three parking garages within walking distance of the terminals. Parking Garages A and B are within 5 minutes walking of the terminal and cost $19 per day. Parking Garage C is further away and is connected to the terminals with an automated people mover (APM). The rate is $17 per day for Garage C. Curbside valet parking is possible for $28.76 per day. Valet is open from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm.
If you need long term parking at MCO Airport, it is better to check the off-site parking providers. These off-site parking lots near Orlando Airport are much cheaper than on-airport options. They have free airport transfer shuttles that will deliver you within a few steps of the terminals so you do not need to walk. Rates for off-site MCO parking range from $5.38 per day, making it a great way to save money for your vacation.
Orlando is a car-friendly city, which is why it is the largest car rental market in the world. If you plan to stay at one resort for your entire vacation, then you may not need a car rental because the theme parks have decent transportation from their hotels to their parks. However, if you are planning to visit multiple theme parks and/or staying off the resort property, it will benefit you to have your own car.
There are eleven car rental companies located on airport property. You will find their desks on the A-side and B-side of the Ground Transportation Level. Visit a comparison site, like Kayak, to get the lowest rates for car rentals.
Orlando Airport Hotel
The Orlando Airport has an on-site hotel that makes long layovers or early morning flights much easier. Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport is located inside the main terminal, directly above the security entrance. If you just need a spot to lie down or take a shower, they offer Day Rooms between 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
There are six lounges located throughout the Orlando Airport. Lounges are comfortable and relaxing, especially for those with long layovers. They typically have free drinks and snacks, comfortable chairs with chargers, and workspace facilities. Some lounges even offer designated rest areas and showers.
The Club at MCO has two locations (Terminal A and Terminal B). Both lounges have showers and designated rest areas. Their hours are 5:00 am to 10:00 pm. The daily rate is $40 per person for 3 hours.
American Airlines Admirals Club and United Club are both located in Terminal B. They do not have sleep facilities, but they do offer a spacious area to hang out. The fee is $59 per person. The American Airlines Club is open 4:00 am – 8:45 pm (except Sundays it closes 7:45 pm). The United Club is open every day 5:15 am – 8:00 pm.
The Delta Sky Club is for members only, so day passes are not possible. There are no sleep facilities, but the lounge area is very nice. It is open 4:20 am – 9:30 pm daily.
The USO Lounge is for members of the US Armed Forces and their families. They have a sleeping area, video games, and television area. It is open from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm.
About Michelle Joe: Michelle Joe is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences, and express herself through her blogs. You can find her on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook