Getting to Universal Orlando Resort
To/From Orlando International Airport (MCO)
Transportation Options from Orlando International Airport
Universal has the Superstar Shuttle that can take you from MCO to any of the Universal Orlando Resort Hotels for $35 per person round trip. Considering the cost of a rental car, gas and parking fees at the resort this is actually not a bad price. This needs to be reserved in advance with your hotel package.
ARRIVING AT MCO
If you are arriving between 7:00am and 8:30pm, go the Universal Studios Airport Store at either Terminal A or Terminal B side of the Airport as stated on your vacation documents. You will receive a Travel Wallet with Tickets and more information on where to pick up the Shuttle. Currently, the pick-up location is Stall 26 on the ground level of both the A and B side.
If you are arriving AFTER 8:30pm and BEFORE 7:00am you have to call Super Shuttle directly (407-888-9220) to verify the shuttle is arriving. Currently, the pick-up location is Stall 26 on the ground level of both the A and B side. Once on the shuttle the guests will receive further instruction on where to pick up their Travel Wallet once they arrive at their hotel. Basically, it will direct you to the Destination Universal Desk during normal operating hours to pick up your Travel Wallet
RETURNING TO MCO:
When you receive your Travel Wallet, your departure information will be enclosed. The pick-up point for the shuttle is in front of the Hotel Lobby.
Universal Guarantees that as long as you are on the shuttle at the instructed time, you are guaranteed to make your flight. There have been reports of people being “forgotten” by the shuttle however. So, if 5 minutes pass from your scheduled departure time, be sure to call the Shuttle Operator directly. Do not stand and wait around! TSA lines can be long at MCO so you need to be sure you have enough time. There is also an app for your smartphone that is supposed to track your shuttle, search for DU shuttle in iTunes app store or GooglePlay store
One way transfers can be booked.
Mears has the stronghold on transportation in the Orlando Area, this includes taxis as well. If you are the type to grab your carryon, walk off the plane and out the doors to immediate transportation, than a taxi is probably your best option. Rates vary on traffic, hotel and all the usual taxi things but Mears has provided an estimator here: http://www.mearstransportation.com/taxi-services/taxi-fare-estimator/
Using the estimator we came up with the following prices (per cab, not per person), but remember this is with NO red lights or traffic and it is only an estimate. Prices are usually a little over $50 plus tip.
To The Transportation Hub at Universal – $49.14
To Cabana Bay Beach Resort – $45.86
To Sapphire Falls Resort – $45.86
To Royal Pacific Resort – $46.62
To Hard Rock Hotel – $44.86
To Portofino Bay Resort – $45.61
There are always taxi’s available at the in front of the hotel lobby for your return trip. Ask one of the valet service men to call one forward as yhey usually sit off to the side waiting for fares.
Uber fare estimator: https://uberfarefinder.com
ARRIVING AT MCO
The only Uber service allowed from the Orlando International Airport is Uber BLACK, which is their professional car service. They ARE permitted to bring you back to the airport from your resort hotel. Fares are estimated at $64-$80 from the airport using Uber Black. Should you desire to use the cheaper Uber service from the airport, you would need to take a cab, bus or shuttle to an offsite location and then contact them.
RETURNING TO MCO:
You can use Uber for returns from your Universal Orlando Resort Hotel to MCO. Fares range from $20-50 on average depending on the Uber Service you need.
To set up an Uber Account you would need to download the app, setup a username and password. Then link a credit card to your account. You can then go into fare estimator via the app for an estimated price. If surge (higher) pricing is in effect, wait 15 minutes or so it often goes away and saves you money. Tell the app which service you need and where you wish to be dropped off. You will then receive the name of your driver and a description of their vehicle. Waits are usually less than 10 minutes. When complete, your credit card is charged the trip fare. Tipping is at your discretion and must be in cash, there is no way to tip through the app.
If you need a car seat – As of March 2016, UberX and UberXL now have options including one car seat. It is still in trial phase though and may not be available.
A rental car is great if you plan on exploring more of the Central Florida area, or are splitting your vacation on multiple locations. Just remember that the Universal Orlando Resort Hotels do charge a nightly parking fee. By adding up the rental car cost, gas, tolls and parking you can see if it is your best value.
Hertz is the car rental company located at each of the UOR hotels, so you can always do a one way rental from the airport to the hotel if you have need of a car for the first day. Often, we do a wine; beer and breakfast snack run on our way from the airport to the hotel so we have stuff in the rooms. There are a ton of places online to find rental car discount codes, so I am not going to cover that here. My favorite is fatwallet.com
Private town car service is a very popular option for transfers to and from MCO. There are a plethora of companies that provide this service, but rates are pretty much the same for all of them. I cannot personally recommend any of them, since I have never used them. (I am a shuttle or rental car person). Most town care services will also allow a scheduled grocery/liquor store stop as well. Doing an internet search should bring up various options for you, or ask someone you know that has used them.
It is also possible, but not a preferred option, to use the LYNX bus system. This will most definitely be the absolute cheapest option that takes the longest time ever. Cost is about $4 and takes close to 3 hours if all goes as scheduled. You are dropped off at the transportation hub. I really, really, do not recommend it! You can check out their estimator here http://www.golynx.com/
Splitting Your Stay: Transfers between Universal and WDW Resort Hotels
Transferring between Universal and WDW Resort Hotels
There are various options available for those splitting your stay between UOR and WDW. What the best option is for you specifically depends on your party size and needs.
Renting a car is a pretty basic concept, but you will be paying for parking while at your UOR hotel, WDW currently has no parking fees for guests at their resorts. If you are doing an extended holiday, it works pretty well if you pack what you need for one part of your stay in seperate suitcases and then you are not lugging everything into each hotel. I like to pack in packing envelopes for each section of a trip. Then I just transfer the envelopes into my carry-on and bring that into the hotel leaving the rest of the stuff in the car trunk. (of course you do not leave anything of value in a car!) You can fit a lot of stuff in a carry-on using packing envelopes.
The onsite rental car companies at Universal are Hertz, and at WDW are Alamo and National. So there is not an easy way to just rent a car for your transfer day. You would have to return the car off property at either location.
Take 2 Transfers
If you are doing a UOR vacation package as part of your trip, you can utilize the Take 2 Transfers. Take 2 provides transfers between the Orlando International Airport, Universal and WDW. The van may hold up to 7 passengers and depending on your party size, it could be a shared experience with one other stop.
Transfers can be used in either direction: MCO-UOR-WDW or WDW-UOR-MCO.
Starting Your Vacation at Universal: If you are doing the Universal Portion first, you will have meet and greet service at the airport and then taken to your Universal Hotel. On your checkout day, you will be transferred to your WDW resort hotel. Once that vacation comes to an end, you can use Disney’s Magical Express Service (or other means) back to the airport.
Starting Your Vacation at WDW: For those doing WDW first you will use Disney’s Magical Express Service (or other means) from the airport to your WDW resort hotel. On your WDW departure day, you will have meet and greet service from your hotel lobby and be transferred to your Universal Hotel and then transferred back to the airport when that portion of your vacation is completed.
Once your package is paid in full and you get your E-Travel Documents please call 888-784-2522 or 407-354-2456 to arrange pick-up from the Universal Hotels and WDW hotel.
Private Town Car
Private Town car is probably one of the more popular options when transferring from UOR to WDW. It can be arranged ahead of time and combined with your airport transfer(s) as well. Cost for a triple transfer (MCO-UOR-WDW-MCO) is usually in the $150 – $175 range but can include a grocery stop.
Uber or Taxi
Uber will be a relatively cheap option for most folks. It would be the same information that we cover in our Day-tripper section so mosey on down to that one. Taxi’s are what they are, and they do it well. See our information below for Day Trippers and fare estimators.
To/From Walt Disney World Property for DayTrippers
Transportation Options from WDW Resorts
One of the most convenient and easiest options is to rent a car from the Walt Disney World Car Care Center (Magic Kingdom Area) or from the Dolphin Hotel (Epcot Resort Area) operated by National and Alamo.
The Walt Disney World Car Care Center location has a shuttle that will pick you up from any Disney hotel and bring you to the Car Care Center to complete the paperwork and pick up your car. The shuttle also returns you to your Disney hotel on the return. You can call the Car Care Center up 24 hours in advance to schedule your pick up by calling (407) 824-3470. If you are doing it right before pick-up, call at least 30 minutes prior.
If we are not planning on staying at Universal past 7pm or so, we often rent our car the night prior to our Universal Park day. Picking the car up at 7:30pm, just prior to their weekday closing time of 8pm, gives us the jump on our day if we want to grab breakfast offsite prior to hitting Universal. We then return it before 7:30pm the next day after visiting the parks. If we are planning on doing a late night at Universal, such as Halloween Horror nights, we pick it up in the morning so we are not dropping off after hours when there is no shuttle to bring us back to our resort. Another option when staying late nights is to rent that morning from the Dolphin because you can drop the car off after hours with the valet, then hop a Disney bus to anywhere and then transfer to your resort. The Dolphin does not have a shuttle; you must use Disney transport (or alternate means) to get to and from that location.
Unless you have an Annual Pass at Universal that has the parking perk, you will be paying $20 for regular parking and $30 for preferred parking per day.
Remember, your rental is for 24 hours. You do not have to drop off and pick up in the same calendar day!
Car Care Center (ORLR72)
Mon – Fri 06:00AM – 08:00PM
Mon – Fri 08:00AM – 04:00PM
Car Care Center (ORLR02)
Mon – Fri 06:00AM – 08:00PM
Mon – Fri 08:00AM – 04:00PM
Uber fare estimator: https://uberfarefinder.com
Uber, during non-peak pricing, is most likely going to be your lowest price option. With rates averaging $15 each way, a group of 4 really saves. The drop off and pick up points are usually the Transportation Hub located on the lower level of the CityWalk complex, unless you arrange otherwise. at the bust park closing time, I have found it is often easier to take a walk/boat to one of the Resort hotels, enjoy dinner or a libation and then call Uber from there.
For larger groups, moms who want a car seat, or those that just like to have everything planned in advance, hiring a Town Car is a good option. For roughly $100-$125 you have a private licensed driver arranged take you to and from the Universal Orlando Parks.
Mears runs a shuttle from all WDW resort hotels to Universal Orlando Resort. Arrangements cannot be made online, you must call 407-423-5566 at least 24 hours prior to arrange transportation. Transfer service is not available between the hours of 10:00am and 3:00pm, but runs until 2am. If you have a family of 4, this option may not be your most economical choice. You may be better off with a rental car, taxi, or Uber that does not charge per person. Drop off and pick up location is the transportation hub at Universal Citywalk.
Departing Your WDW Resort: Call Mears at 407-432-5566 (between 9am-9pm) at least 24 hours prior to arrange your pick-up time from the your WDW hotel.
Departing Universal Orlando Resort: Pick-up time with Mears can be arranged when making your initial reservation or by calling a minimum of 3 hours prior to your desired pick-up time.
Cost: currently $34 per person with no charge for children under 3.
Mears also has taxis that will pick you up from any location and take you to any location. They drop off at the Transportation Hub located on the lower level of the CityWalk complex and there are always cavs available there for your departure. Fares depend on time and travel and you can estimate here: http://www.mearstransportation.com/taxi-services/taxi-fare-estimator/
Public Transportation (Lynx Bus)
Again, not recommended but it is possible. http://www.golynx.com/