5 Ways from Sanford Airport to Universal Orlando (2024)

Universal » 5 Ways from Sanford Airport to Universal Orlando (2024)

How do you get from the Sanford Airport (SFB) to Universal Orlando?

orlando sanford international airport to universal orlando

Many people LOVE flying into the Sanford Airport because it is fairly small, and the crowds are not typically overwhelming. It’s much easier to navigate than the Orlando International Airport (MCO). But, due to its smaller size, there aren’t as many transportation options.

Below, I will detail FIVE ways you can get from the Sanford Airport (SFB) to Universal Orlando.

You can use the options below 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.

Universal Orlando is about 36 miles (58 km) away from the Sanford Airport. The drive takes roughly 45 to 60 minutes, depending on traffic.

No matter what your situation, you should be able to find an option that fits your needs. I tried to consider all scenarios, such as whether you need car seats, have a large party, budget options, private rides, etc.

Sanford Airport to Universal Orlando:


Option #1: Take a PRIVATE shuttle to Universal Orlando!

sanford airport to universal studios orlando by private shuttle

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 SFB to Universal 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 shuttles offer:

  • You can schedule and pay for a private shuttle 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.
  • 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 shuttle service cost from SFB to Universal Orlando?

It depends on which company you select, but the average cost is around $200 one way. Typically, you will get a discount for booking roundtrip.

If you are interested in a private car service, check out Quicksilver Tours and Transportation.

Quicksilver has 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 take a look at their rates for transportation to Universal HERE.

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 #2: Rent a car!

sanford airport to universal by rental car

You can always just 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, SeaWorld, or other areas in Orlando.

I would not recommend renting a car if you ONLY need it to get from SFB to the Univeral area and back again. This would be a crazy amount of money just for a few trips. Most of the other options on this list would be a better 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!

But if you rent a car, you don’t have to stop at your resort to drop off your bags. You can go directly from the airport to the theme parks or CityWalk!

All of the carriers listed below are located right at  SFB. This means you don’t have to deal with an additional shuttle to get your rental car! 🙂

  • Alama / Avis / Budget / Dollar / Enterprise / Hertz / National

Lastly, if you only need a rental car for a few days, you can look at doing a ONE-WAY car rental. That is where you rent the car at the Sanford Airport but then drop it off at a different location. Many rental car companies have an office incredibly close to Universal Studios Orlando.


Option #3: Take a rideshare – Uber or Lyft – to Universal

sanford airport to universal by uber or lyft

The most popular way to go from the Sanford Airport to Universal is to use Uber or Lyft. You can use a rideshare to get to your resort OR go directly to Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay Water Park, or CityWalk!

This option has TWO big advantages:

Reason #1: The price!

Unfortunately, I can’t give you the exact price from the airport to the Universal area using a rideshare since the prices constantly change depending on the day and time.

But, in my experience, it usually costs less than $70 one-way! For example, on a random Thursday morning, I tested the cost if you were to get a ride from SFB to Universal. You can see the results below for Uber.

Please consider how LARGE of a vehicle you will need, as you may have lots of suitcases you need to fit. If so, you must book an UberXL, which costs more.

Reason #2: Using a rideshare is the fastest way to Universal Orlando!

The other huge advantage of taking a ride share to Universal is that you won’t have to wait long for your ride. At almost any time of day, you should wait less than 10 minutes for your driver!

Where can I find the rideshare pickup at the Sanford Airport?

I know this part can seem a little intimidating, but don’t worry too much. With the popularity of services like Lyft and Uber, it is easy to find the location where your driver can pick you up.

At the Sanford Airport, you can find the rideshare pick-up area across the street from Baggage Claim areas 1-3 on Level 1.

Once you walk across the street, you will see signs pointing you in the correct direction. You will eventually get to a designated zone for Uber and Lyft pickups.

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 SFB, you will be able to use the app to order a vehicle and find the correct pickup location. Also, the costs can increase on occasion due to “surge pricing.”

If you have never used Uber or Lyft, you have to be comfortable with a stranger driving you in their car that is not part of a traditional company.

I know many people would rather take the certainty of one of the other options below and sacrifice the cost and speed that rideshares provide!


Option #4: Take a traditional taxi from SFB to Universal Orlando

Many people trust a taxi more than a driver from Uber or Lyft since the taxicab is associated with a local company.

To take a taxi from the Sanford Airport to Universal, you must head across the street from Baggage Claim areas 1-3 to the designated pick-up area. This is the SAME spot where you get picked up by Uber or Lyft.

sanford airport to universal studios

Just so you know, the taxi driver can’t tell you the exact price to get to the Univeral 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 Universal area resorts or theme parks will cost around $100 one-way.

A taxi almost always costs 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.

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. The Sanford Airport has a list of taxi companies you can contact to pre-arrange a ride.


Option #5: Ride in a party bus or limo from SFB to Universal!

Are you coming to Universal Orlando for a bachelorette party, wedding, or other celebration?

If so, why not start your trip the BEST possible way by taking a party bus or limousine? 🙂

sanford airport to universal by party bus or limo

You can have one of these vehicles pick you up right at SFB. 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.


Frequently Asked Questions:

How long is the drive from the Sanford International Airport to Universal Orlando?

The distance between SFB and Universal is approximately 36 miles (58 km). The drive should take about 45 minutes, assuming there is not much traffic. But this is Orlando, so there will probably be traffic, and it will take longer!

Please note that the answer to this question varies slightly depending on which Universal resort you are going to. It also changes a bit if you are going straight to City Walk, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, or Volcano Bay.

As you can see on the map below, there are a few different ways you can make the drive.


Does Universal’s SuperStar Shuttle operate from SFB to Universal?

No, unfortunately, the SuperStar Shuttle only operates at the Orlando International Airport (MCO). Universal does not provide any way to get to the Universal area from the Sanford Airport.


What is the CHEAPEST way to get from the Sanford Airport to Universal?

Typically, the least expensive option is to take Uber or Lyft. The only time that this is not true is if there is extreme surge pricing going on, which means that these rideshare companies increase their rates due to high demand.


What is the BEST way to get from the Sanford Airport to Universal?

The best option depends on your unique circumstances.

  • 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. It’s also the least expensive option. 🙂
  • 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!

What is the best way to travel from the Sanford Airport to Universal if I need a car seat?

car seats from sanford airport to universal orlando

If you have toddlers that require a car seat, I know it can be slightly frustrating to find transportation to Universal that includes a car seat. So here is a brief rundown of everything the above options can provide:

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 prior to arrival.

Uber:

  • Sometimes, Uber has an option to request a driver with a car seat. Unfortunately, when I tested using Uber at Sanford, there were no drivers with car seats available.

Lyft:

  • 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.

Taxi:

  • Many taxi vans have a car seat if needed, but it’s not guaranteed.

Rental Car:

  • If you decide to rent a car, you can also rent car seats or boosters from your provider for an additional daily cost.

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.”


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What is your favorite way to travel from the Sanford International Airport to Universal Orlando?

Please leave a comment below!

Scott K
Scott K

Scott is the owner and creator of Resort Rat. He and his family were bitten by the Disney bug in 2017 on their first DW visit with kids. They have been on a Disney bender ever since, visiting the park numerous times per year. He loves writing about Disney, especially the incredible resorts. You can learn more about him on his author page. Or hear more about the Resort Rat story on this page.

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