Having traveled in and out of the Orlando International Airport at least 1,800 times (yikes!), I have found several areas within the airport that I seek out or where I have seen many passengers flock to. Since two of my goals for every trip are to (1) keep the stress as low as possible, and (2) enjoy an experience with each city I visit (even when traveling for business), here are ways to meet these goals that may enhance your next trip through Orlando (MCO):
- I prefer to park my car on the Terminal Top Parking (whether parking for my own trip or picking up family members), as it’s just an elevator ride down to the check-in desk. Parking options for MCO are listed here. Valet parking is also available.
- MCO’s app gives you info on the parking and a lot more, including airline counter locations, flight status, dining and shopping options, and navigation to help you get around. Even with all my trips through the Orlando International Airport, I need to use this app to look up airline counters for airlines I infrequently fly. For those of you visiting the Orlando area, the app also has links to the visitor’s bureau sites for Orlando and all counties within our area.
- Shopping! Before going through security, the long hallways between the A and B Terminals provide an MCO “shopping mall” and food court. I like browsing these stores when I arrive early for an international flight and have a bit of extra time before heading to my gate. Look at this list of stores and restaurants!
- If it’s peace and quiet I need before a flight, the airport chapel provides a perfect haven (near the Delta/Southwest trams). If it’s pre-security serenity you’d like, perhaps with an adult beverage, take the escalator up to the Hyatt hotel (between the security lines of gates 70-129) and enjoy its wonderful bar area overlooking the airport terminal that’s great for people-watching, having a snack or meal, and getting away from the passenger crowds. If your flight departs out of gates 1-29 (JetBlue and others), walk left once you disembark the tram and look for a huge seating area. Because it’s not right near a gate, it’s a crowd-free space for reading, being on the phone or relaxing before heading to your gate.
- Traveling with young kids on a Delta flight? They’ll enjoy the mini movie theatre at Gate 71. This is a smart feature provided by Delta for keeping kids engaged (and quiet!) while they’re awaiting their flight.
- Listen to the MCO radio station. Airport information, weather, music and more are available online or via the MCO app mentioned above.
- If I’m picking someone up from the airport, I love the new North cell phone lot with upgraded amenities such as Wi-Fi, outdoor seating, a pet walking area and a built-in TV flight information board. My dogs love it, too, as they get a car ride and love the surprise of who we’ll be picking up.
When I’m renting a car, I have long loved National Car Rental’s Emerald Club, who sponsored this post. As a member of the Emerald Club, I can bypass the rental car counter, bypass someone else picking a car for me, and instead select my own car from a selection of great choices available in the Emerald Aisle – and pay a midsize rate (even if I select a larger car when available). It’s so easy to deplane, grab my bag, choose a car and be on my way quickly.
Even with my more than 1,800 trips to and from the Orlando International Airport, I know there must be other secrets you may have learned that have helped you enjoy this airport and keep your stress levels low. Please share in the comments below!
Also, more ‘secrets’ of stress-free and enjoyable ways to experience the Orlando International Airport will be forthcoming as MCO is undergoing significant expansion and renovation and is getting ready for the All Aboard Florida train that will run from the airport to Miami. The Orlando Sentinel laid out the new features and what they’ll be costing the airport.