So your plane has just landed at the Orlando International Airport (MCO). You and your family are incredibly excited to get to Universal Orlando and start your EPIC vacation.
Except now you are wondering…
How do I get from the Orlando Airport to Universal Orlando?
Below, I will detail SIX ways to get from the Orlando Airport (MCO) to Universal. I tried to consider all scenarios, such as whether you need car seats, have a large party, budget options, private rides, etc.
You can use any of these options to go directly to any of the THREE Universal theme parks – Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, or Volcano Bay Water Park. These transportation options can also get you to any of the EIGHT Universal Orlando resorts and hotels.
Just make sure your driver knows exactly where you need to go, and you will have no problems! 🙂
Orlando Airport to Universal Orlando:
If you need information about car seats, scroll to the bottom to see a complete breakdown.
Option #1: Take Universal’s SuperStar Shuttle from MCO!
One of the easiest ways to get to Universal Orlando from the airport is to take the SuperStar Shuttle! This is the official transportation option offered by Universal.
Where can Universal’s SuperStar Shuttle take you?
The shuttle ONLY goes to Universal Orlando Resort Hotels, which includes:
- Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites
- Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites
- Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
- Universal’s Aventura Hotel
- Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
- Loews Royal Pacific Resort
- Hard Rock Hotel®
- Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
If you are staying at any of the eight resorts above, then the SuperStar shuttle is an easy and affordable option.
How much does Universal’s SuperStar Shuttle cost?
At the time of this writing, here are the rates for the SuperStar Shuttle. Prices INCLUDE tax.
- Adult: $23
- Child (3-9): $21
- Children 2 & Under: Free
- Adult: $39
- Child (3-9): $36
- Children 2 & Under: Free
Where can you find the SuperStar Shuttle at the Orlando Airport?
After you collect your luggage from Baggage Claim on Level 2, you will go to Level 1 (Ground Transporation) and look for the Hotel Transportation Desk.
You will find a representative from Universal Orlando who will guide you to the SuperStar shuttle from there.
If your flight arrives BEFORE 7 am or AFTER 8 pm, you will receive specific instructions from Universal to get on the shuttle.
How do you book a ride on the SuperStar Shuttle?
- The easiest way to buy tickets for the shuttle is to do so when you book your Universal hotel. You can add the SuperStar Shuttle as an additional service as you checkout.
- If you are using a travel agent, let them know you need the SuperStar Shuttle. They can book it for you.
- To add on the SuperStar Shuttle AFTER you have booked your resort, call 1-866-604-7557. You can do this up to 24 hours before your scheduled flight.
Let Universal know if you need a car seat, and they will have it waiting for you.
How long does it take to get to Universal Orlando using the SuperStar Shuttle?
The driving time from the airport to the Universal area is about 25 to 30 minutes.
But you may have to wait at the airport until all of the scheduled guests have arrived at the SuperStar shuttle, which can hold up to 25 people.
Also, you may stop at other Univeral Resort Hotels before getting to yours, which can add a considerable amount of time.
Taking the SuperStar Shuttle offers many advantages:
- You can book, plan, and pay for your ride beforehand. Then, all you need to do is arrive, show them your ticket, and get on the shuttle.
- The shuttle provides roundtrip service. It will pick you up at your Universal hotel and take you back to the airport when your vacation is over.
Option #2: Hire a private car service to get to Univeral Orlando!
Do you know the people at the airport holding a sign for someone near the baggage claim? These are often private car services waiting to take their clients wherever they need to go!
Before you skip this option as a way to go from the airport to Universal Orlando because it sounds too expensive, please keep reading. I think it’s a great solution for many families, but often ignored.
First, let’s go over a few of the advantages that most private car services offer:
- You can schedule and pay for a private car service beforehand, so you have one less thing to worry about on your travel day.
- They will meet you directly at the airport, often with a sign with your name on it, ready to take you DIRECTLY to Universal Orlando. No waiting for a shuttle, rental car, or taxi. And no sharing the ride with anyone else.
- Many companies include a short grocery store visit on the way!
- Help with your luggage.
- FREE car seats! You should be able to use car seats for as many children as you have included in the package.
How much does a private car service cost from MCO to Universal Orlando?
It depends on which company you select, but the average cost is between $100 to $150 one way. Typically, you will get a discount for booking roundtrip.
I don’t think a private car service is much more expensive than the other transportation options on this list. Especially if you consider some of the other benefits you receive and factor in the time you will save and the stress you won’t have. 🙂
If you want a private car service, check out Quicksilver Tours and Transportation.
Quicksilver offers several incredible benefits and is highly recommended. If you book with them, you can expect your driver to be waiting at baggage claim with your name on a sign. They even monitor if your flight is late. 🙂
They offer the following vehicles, depending on your specific needs:
- Town Car or Luxury Sedan – Holds up to 4 passengers and is the least expensive option.
- Vans – Up to 10 passengers! Great for big groups as everyone can split the cost.
- Luxury SUVs that hold up to 6 passengers.
In addition, if you want, they offer a FREE 20-minute grocery stop on the way to your resort. Not to mention a FREE car seat.
This is the view as you check out with Quicksilver Transportation.
You can look at their transportation rates to Universal Orlando HERE. They can take you directly to any of the Universal hotels or theme parks.
If you decide to use Quicksilver, please mention Resort Rat as you check out. It helps support my site, along with helping Quicksilver keep track of how their customers find them. Thank you. 🙂
Option #3: Use a rideshare service (Uber/Lyft) to Universal
A popular way to go from the Orlando Airport to Universal Orlando is to use a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft.
Unfortunately, I can’t give you an exact price for how much it costs to go from the airport to Universal using a rideshare since the prices constantly change depending on the day and time. The prices also change based on how big of a vehicle you require.
For example, here were the costs and options to go from MCO to Universal on a random Monday morning.
Remember that these prices are ONE WAY! You must also consider the cost of using a rideshare to get back to the Orlando Airport.
The prices don’t look so bad if you require a smaller vehicle. But if you need something larger for your party’s luggage, booking an UberXXL becomes more expensive. Also, please note that it says, “Prices are lower than usual.”
It’s even pricier if you require a car seat. Here is what Uber has to offer if you need one. Just remember the exact price will change depending on when you arrive.
One advantage of taking a ride share to Universal Orlando is that you won’t have to wait long for your ride.
At almost any time of day, you should wait less than 5 minutes for your driver!
Once you collect your baggage and walk outside to the curb, you can be on your way to Universal a few minutes later. No waiting for a shuttle bus or standing in line for your rental car!
Where can I find the rideshare pickup at the Orlando Airport?
Don’t worry, it’s really easy to find!
First, you need to pay attention to your Terminal. MCO has three terminals: A, B, and C.
- Terminal A: The rideshare pickup is on Level 2 (Arrivals) unless it’s between 9:00 pm and 2:00 am, then it’s on Level 3.
- Terminal B: The rideshare pickup is on Level 2 (Arrivals) unless it’s between 9:00 pm and 2:00 am, then it’s on Level 3.
- Terminal C: The rideshare pickup is on Level 6.
Once you are on the correct level and outside by the curb, you should see signs showing where to stand for “Ride App Pickup.” The Lyft app even shows you which door to meet your driver based on the Terminal.
The biggest disadvantage to using a rideshare is you can’t plan it ahead of time, and the cost isn’t fixed. You have to trust that once you get to MCO, you can use the app to order a vehicle and find the correct pickup location.
Also, the costs can increase drastically due to “surge pricing.” If you arrive in Orlando on a Saturday or Sunday morning, you can almost guarantee the prices will be higher than what you see above because so many other people are arriving for their vacation.
If you have never used Uber or Lyft, you have to be comfortable with a stranger driving you in their car who is not part of a traditional company.
I know many people would rather take the certainty of one of the other options on this list.
Option #4: Take a traditional taxi from MCO to Universal
Yes, it is still possible to take a normal taxi! Some people like this option because they trust a taxi more than a driver from Uber or Lyft since the cab is associated with a local company. And as you can see above, there are A LOT of taxis waiting for you at the Orlando Airport!
To take a taxi from MCO to Universal, you will need to head to the following area, depending on your Terminal.
- Terminal A: Ground Transportation Curb (Level 1) in spaces A22-A25
- Terminal B: Ground Transportation Curb (Level 1) in spaces B30-B34
- Terminal C: Arrivals Curb (Level 6)
The taxi driver can’t tell you the exact price to get to the Universal area, as flat fares are prohibited by law. All fares are determined by the meter inside the taxi, which depends on the total length of the trip. And the rate is the same, regardless of how many passengers you have (up to 9).
However, it’s estimated that a one-way taxi ride from the airport to the Universal Orlando parks or resorts will cost $50 to $70.
A taxi will typically cost a bit more than Uber or Lyft. But many taxis have car seats available, especially some of the bigger vans, so this is a great option if you have toddlers.
Here are a few taxi companies that operate from the Orlando Airport. There should be plenty of taxis available when you arrive, but you can also try to schedule ahead of time if that makes you feel more comfortable.
Option #5: Rent a car at the Orlando Airport
If you don’t like any of the options above, you can always rent a car to get to Universal!
The advantages are that you have complete freedom for your vacation to go wherever you want. Renting a car might be a great option if you plan to visit places other than Universal, such as Disney World, Sea World, or other areas in Orlando.
Since Orlando is one of the world’s biggest markets for rental cars, every major rental car company operates here.
In addition, Enterprise, Hertz, and the other big carriers are located at the airport on Level 1 in Terminals A and B and Level 4 in Terminal C. This means you don’t have to deal with an additional shuttle to get your rental car! 🙂
I would not recommend renting a car if you ONLY need it to get from the airport to your hotel and back again. This would be a crazy amount of money just for a few trips. Any of the other options on this list would be a cheaper solution.
In addition, you have to pay a daily fee to park your car at any of the Universal Orlando resorts. The cost depends on which hotel you are staying at, but the price is between $15 to $28 per day!
Option #6: Ride in a party bus or limo to Universal Orlando!
Are you coming to Orlando for a bachelorette party, wedding, or other celebration?
If so, why not start your trip to Universal the BEST possible way by taking a party bus or limousine? 🙂
You can have one of these vehicles pick you up right at MCO. And if you have a large party, it’s not even that expensive if everyone splits the cost! Seriously, check out rates with a local company HERE.
It’s not even a problem if toddlers are in your group, as you can request car seats when you book.
What is the CHEAPEST way to get from the Orlando Airport to Universal?
It’s hard to say which option is the least expensive. It depends on the number of people in your party. Also, it depends on the current costs of taking a rideshare service (Uber/Lyft). Their prices constantly change depending on availability and “surge pricing.”
But in general, the least cheapest option is typically either taking the SuperStar Shuttle or an Uber. The SuperStar Shuttle is probably the most affordable for a solo traveler or maybe a group of two. Taking an Uber/Lyft becomes less expensive as the group gets larger because you pay per car ride, not by the number of riders.
Another option that is definitely less money than anything else on this list is the Lynx bus service, which provides public transportation in Orlando. It would only cost a few dollars per person!
But you have to figure out their route map. In addition, the approximate time it would take is roughly 1.5 hours from MCO to Universal.
But if you are on a strict budget, then you will LOVE the rates.
What is the BEST way to get from the Orlando Airport to Universal?
The best option depends on your unique circumstances.
- Shuttle service: Cheapest option for solo travelers or small groups. It gets more expensive as you add more people. You also share your ride with other people, and this is probably the option that takes the longest.
- Private car service: Best for people who want a private ride that is waiting for you.
- Uber/Lyft: Best for procrastinators who didn’t line up any other options. 🙂
- Taxis: Best for people who don’t like Uber and Lyft!
- Car rentals: Best for people who want to visit other areas in Orlando outside Universal.
- Party bus or limo: Best for celebrations or large groups!
How long is the drive from the Orlando International Airport to Universal Orlando?
The distance between MCO and Universal Orlando is approximately 17 miles (27 km). The drive should take about 25 – 30 minutes, depending on traffic.
Of course, the exact time and distance vary depending on which Universal resort you need to be dropped off at or which theme park you are going to.
What is the best way to travel from Orlando Airport to Universal if I need a car seat?
If you have toddlers, I know it is VERY important to find transportation to Universal that includes a car seat. So here is a brief rundown of everything the above options can provide:
Universal’s SuperStar Shuttle:
- Make sure to request a car seat when you make your reservation. If you need to add a car seat to an existing reservation, call 1-866-604-7557.
- So that you know, car seats are not required when riding on the shuttle.
Private Car Service:
- Car seats should be no problem if you hire a private car service. Just make sure to let the company know what you need before arrival.
- It’s easy to request a vehicle with Uber that has a car seat you can use. While in the Uber app, scroll down to see the car seat options.
- Uber Car Seat vehicles only provide ONE car seat. Also, there may be limited availability for an Uber Car Seat vehicle, so you may have to wait for one at MCO.
- It’s also very easy to bring an inflatable car seat, which you can use while riding in the Uber. Check out some of the best options here on Amazon.
- As of this writing, Lyft does not have the option to request a vehicle with a car seat. Therefore, you must bring your own car seat to travel with Lyft.
- Many taxi vans have a car seat if needed, but it’s not guaranteed.
- If you decide to rent a car, you can also rent car seats or boosters from your provider for an additional daily cost.
- To save some money, you can also bring your own. Getting an inflatable car seat is also very easy, so you don’t have to carry your large, heavy one from home. Check out some of the best options here on Amazon.
Just so you know, rideshares and taxis are exempt from child passenger laws in Florida.
So it is completely up to you to determine if you require a car seat. Below is what the current law states:
(6) The child restraint requirements imposed by this section do not apply to a chauffeur-driven taxi, limousine, sedan, van, bus, motor coach, or other passenger vehicle if the operator and the motor vehicle are hired and used for the transportation of persons for compensation.”
What questions do you have about traveling from the Orlando International Airport to Universal Orlando?
Please leave a comment below! I will do my best to research and find you an answer.