Should You Be Using Disney World’s OTHER Airport?

When you travel to Disney World, how do you get there?

Orlando International Airport

Some guests may drive to the resort, but most probably fly into Orlando, most likely into Orlando International Airport. But did you know there’s ANOTHER airport you can fly into to get to Disney World? Should you use THAT airport for a future trip?

The airport in question is Orlando Sanford International Airport  — it’s a smaller airport located about 45 miles from Disney World. It’s also currently a base for Allegiant Air.  But should you fly into it for your next Disney World trip? Well, let’s look at all the pros and cons of using this airport.

Pros

If you’ve been to Orlando International Airport, you know how busy and crowded it can get — it’s the fourth largest airport in the U.S. However, Orlando Sanford International Airport is a lot smaller, meaning that it’s not as busy. You won’t have to take trams to get from one part of the airport to another, and  you don’t have to navigate through crowds of people.

©Orlando Sanford International Airport

Even better? It also means the lines for checking in and security are usually going to be much shorter. For many Disney World guests, just the amount of time they could save standing in line at the airport could be enough to win them over to flying into Orlando Sanford.

Another bonus is that it serves as a hub for many regional flights — if you live in a smaller city or town, you can skip the drive to the closest large airport and just use your regional airport to get directly to Orlando. This could make your next trip to Disney World a lot more convenient.

©Orlando Sanford International Airport

Perhaps the most important thing, though, is that flying into Orlando Sanford International Airport is generally cheaper than flying into Orlando International Airport — you can save as much as $150 or more on your flight. How’s that for an incentive to use Disney World’s OTHER airport? That’s more money you can spend IN Disney World.

Con

Where there are pros, though, there are also cons. Orlando Sanford International Airport is farther from Disney World than Orlando International Airport — about twice the distance. That means it will take longer to get to Disney World. If you’re like us, you want to see that Disney World welcome gate as soon as possible.

You want to see this fast when you land in Orlando

That also means that transportation to Disney World isn’t as convenient, although you do have several options. First, you can rent a car — but that could eat up all the money you saved by flying into Orlando Sanford International Airport in the first place.

Plus keep in mind that if you do rent a car, you will have to pay for parking at your Disney World hotel, if you’re staying at one. However, parking at the theme parks is still free for Disney World hotel guests.

You could rent a car

There are also several private shuttles you can book from the airport — those might not be as pricey but aren’t going to be as convenient or inexpensive as booking Mears Connect or The Sunshine Flyer at Orlando International Airport.

You can take a rideshare service (Uber or Lyft) to Disney World, but it won’t be cheap — it can run around $60 or more each way, depending on the time of day and service.

However, there IS an inexpensive transportation option for those visiting Universal Orlando Resort — it’s called the Attraction Express and costs $20 per adult and $15 per child (ages 3-16). Kids under 3 can ride for free.

©Orlando Sanford International Airport

So should you fly into Disney World’s OTHER airport? In the end, you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons depending on the kind of vacation you want to have. Just remember that you DO have a choice and Orlando Sanford International Airport could be the better one, depending on your preferences.

If you are visiting Disney World, be sure to read up on how to choose HOW to get to the resort, as well as get familiar with all the resort-wide transportation options you’ll have.

We also have a list to help you pack for your vacation, as well as a guide on how to use Disney Genie and Genie+ while you’re there.

How Disney World Transportation is CHANGING in 2022

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4 Replies to “Should You Be Using Disney World’s OTHER Airport?”

  1. With Magical Express, now paid Mears, you have 3 hours to burn from resort pickup until flight time. I’ve never had issue with getting checked in and thru security, even with long lines, so MCO will still be my go to airport of choice, assuming I ever choose to visit WDW again. Thanks for the info though.

    1. One of the major UK toir operators that previously flew into Sandford is now only flying to Melbourne Orlando, and I don’t know how they dare put Orlando in the name when it’s 70 miles from Orlando! It’s quicker to drive from Tampa airport than Melbourne but they don’t stick Orlando in the name of Tampa Airport! Perhaps it makes sense for regional flights to go there but after a long haul 9 hour flight from the UK, the last thing I want is to drive 80 miles to my hotel. Sanford is fantastic to fly in and out of. So quick to get through security and immigration compared to Orlando International, quiet, and only 40 miles to Disney World, compared to 80 from Melbourne

  2. I’ve flown into Orlando many times, but also into Tampa and Melbourne. Melbourne is a nice little airport that is a straight line 1.5 hour drive into the Swan and Dolphin, where I turned in my rental car. I have also rented them at the hotel and dropped it at Melbourne or Tampa. I was not staying at the Swan or the Dolphin, but made arrangements online while at Disney. This was before rental car costs became so expensive. At the time I was not charged a drop off charge at any location. Disney also has a main rental car area on property.