If you’re planning a Walt Disney World vacation and you’re flying, chances are that you will arrive at Orlando International Airport. It’s the busiest airport in the state of Florida, and one of the top 15 busiest in the country. That might be enough to cause a little bit of anxiety, but relax. Orlando International Airport, or OIA (also MCO), is easy to figure out.
At Orlando International Airport there are currently two terminals. I’m not going to list every airlines that flies out of each, just a few of the major ones. At Terminal A you will find Eastern, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, and Virgin. Terminal B is home to American, British Airways, Delta, Spirit, and United. You can find the complete list on the OIA website. A third terminal is being built, that is expected to be completed sometime in 2019.
One thing that you need to know when you fly into Orlando International Airport is that your journey is not over once you land. You will take a tram to another building, and that is where you will pick up your luggage, rent a car, find your friend, or catch a shuttle. Don’t worry about finding the tram, it’s not difficult. Both terminals have a central hub (think of it as practice for the Magic Kingdom), and you just walk to the center. In the hub there are a few gift shops, some places to grab a bite to eat, a large seating area, and the entrance to the tram. Occasionally buses will run if there is a problem with the tram, but I fly in and out of IOA several times a year and I’ve never had to take a bus.
Once you’re off of the tram, everything is fairly well marked. Pick up your checked bags, and then head to whatever form of transportation that you’re using. Ground Transportation is on Level One for both terminals. If you’re taking Disney’s Magical Express, there are plenty of signs. It’s easy to find.
When it’s time to head home if you’re flying out of Orlando International Airport, make sure that you give yourself plenty of time. The line for TSA can be crazy, one glance and you might think that it’s the longest line you’ve seen your whole vacation. It does move quickly, but don’t cut it close. I like to arrive at the airport the recommended two hours early, just in case. Make sure that you’re nice to the TSA agents. They are there to keep you safe, so make sure that you thank them. Both TSA PreCheck and CLEAR are available at OIA.
If you are checking a bag, you might want to see if your airlines offers curbside check in. That can save you time, and often it’s free or for a nominal fee. Don’t forget to tip the person who checks in your bags if you use the service.
Most airports like to show off the personality of the city, and Orlando International Airport is no different. There are small gift shops for all of the theme parks there. It’s a great place to pick up a pair of Mickey Ears for Aunt Bertha because you forgot to get them when you were in the parks. You will also find artwork and displays in OIA, so if you have time take a look around before you get in the TSA line.
After you’ve made it through security, you’ll board the tram to head to the gates. Again, you’ll find yourself in a central hub. Grab a bite to eat, or pick up an Orlando T-shirt. The pathways to the gates are clearly marked. Orlando International Airport may be busy, but it is very easy to navigate.