Orlando International Airport:
The large futuristic Orlando International airport is growing faster
than any other in the United States. Automated trams transport passengers
from the outlying gates to the main terminal, where ticketing areas, baggage
claim, and ground transportation are located. Three distant airline gateways
are serviced by automated transit systems that leave from either end of
the very long main terminal: the East Hall or West Hall. The main terminal
is further divided north and south into two long mirror-image service areas:
Landside A (north) and Landside B (south). Each Landside is used by specific
airlines, and each has its own ticket counters and baggage claim areas,
duplicate car rental counters and ground transportation services, and parking
lots. For example, every rental car company has at least two, often three
counters; however, reservations are held only at the counter nearest the
passenger's arrival gate. Check this link for a visual
walk through of your arrival at the airport
Passengers arrive on Level Three, where the ticket counters, shops, restaurants, and hotel are located. Baggage claim and ground transportation services are on both Landsides of Level Two. Car rental counters are on both Landsides of Level One. Airlines serviced at Landside A (West Hall) include American, Continental, and TWA. Airlines serviced at Landside B (East Hall) include Delta and America West. Airlines serviced at Landside B (West Hall) include Northwest, US Air, and United. (Landside A East Hall gates have not yet been constructed.)
For detailed information and maps of the airport, please refer to the Orlando International Airport WWW Site
Meeting Companions at the Airport:
Travelers arriving on different airlines who want to rendezvous at the
airport should plan carefully, since mix-ups can easily occur. For example,
there are three Dollar Rental Car counters, so if you decide to meet at
Dollar on Level One, you must specify the Dollar location nearest the airline
of the passenger holding the car rental reservation. There is no direct
route between Landsides A and B at the lower levels, so you must return
to Level Three to cross over.
If there is considerable time between arrivals, you may want to meet on Level Three after retrieving your luggage. (Note: The airport does not have rental luggage carts, but there are numerous storage lockers scattered throughout.) The most pleasant and reliable meeting spots on Level Three include:
* Beauregard's Restaurant -- (West Hall, mezzanine level) -- Closes
between 8 and 9 PM.
* Orlando Marketplace -- (West Hall) -- The food court counters close
between 8 and 9 PM. Nathan's Hot Dogs is open twenty-four hours. The
tables can be used at anytime.
* Glades Grill and Lounge -- (East Hall) -- Closes between 7 and 8 PM.
* The Atrium Rotunda -- (East Hall) -- A large comfortable hall with
fountain and seating areas.
* Hyatt Regency -- (East Hall, mezzanine level) -- Meeting spots include
the comfortable lobby area and McCoy's bistro-style restaurant, which
is open until 11 PM.
Getting from the Airport to the Hilton:
The Hilton at Walt Disney World Village is about 16 miles and a 20-25 minute drive from the Orlando International Airport and lies south of Orlando. Several independent services provide transportation from the airport to Walt Disney World. Shuttle Service: Mears Transportation (407 423-5566) provides twenty-four-hour mini-van transportation from the airport to all WDW resorts. Vans leave every fifteen to twenty minutes from the baggage claim areas. No reservations; about $14 per person one way, $25 round trip. Passengers are responsible for lifting and stowing their own luggage, and the van may make several stops along the way. Taxis: Private taxis from the airport to WDW cost about $40 each way, plus gratuity. If you have a party of three, it is less expensive and faster to take a taxi than a shuttle. Taxi service is also available at all resorts, and is a useful adjunct to WDW transportation, especially for travel between resorts. Limousines: For larger groups, limousines are the most convenient and comfortable way to travel, and often the most economical. Limousine drivers are customarily tipped about 15 to 20 percent. Mears Transportation (407 423-5566) provides limousine service from the airport to WDW, starting at about $45 each way or $80 round trip. Mears' larger stretch limousines seat six and cost about $90 each way. Florida TownCar (800 525-7246) provides clean, courteous, and prompt service for parties up to five for about $70 round trip. They will even stop on the way to your hotel so you can pick up snacks or items you have forgotten. For larger groups, Town Car Limousine (407 299-8696) has a fleet of fully equipped six- to ten-passenger late-model stretch limousines starting at $80 each way. RENTAL CARS Because parking is free a the hotel, you may find in convenient to rent a car while in Orlando. SIMS XI has arranged for discounted car Rentals through AVIS. The rates begin at $89.99 per week for a subcompact. To make a reservation call (800)- 331-1600 and refer to the SIMS AWD Number: J628922. You may pick up the car at the airport or at the Hilton where AVIS maintains a customer service desk.
Several other rental options are available: Car rental companies currently located at the airport include Avis, Budget, National, and Dollar (Hertz is relocating off property). Visitors can also rent cars whenever they wish at Walt Disney World and drop them off at the airport at no extra charge. Car rental companies located at Walt Disney World include National (at the Exxon station near the Magic Kingdom, and at the Dolphin and Swan), Avis (Hilton), Budget (Double Tree), Dollar (Royal Plaza), Alamo (Buena Vista Palace), and Thrifty (Grosvenor).
Directions to the Hilton for Rental Car Drivers:
The Hilton is located about sixteen miles from the airport. As you leave, look for exit signs that read "Disney World/Tampa" (which is 417 South, the Central Florida Greeneway). There are two $1 tollbooths along the way. The toll road exits at the intersection of State Road 536 (west), which takes you to WDW's Epcot Resorts Area, and State Road 535 (north), which takes you into the WDW Village Resorts Area where the Hilton is located on Hotel Plaza Boulevard. If you are approaching from Interstate Highway 4, follow the signs that say "Tampa" and "Disney World" and take Exit 27: Hotel Plaza at Disney Village and The Villas at the Disney Institute (via 535). Auto Servicing and Car Trouble: There are two service stations at WDW, one near the Magic Kingdom, and one on Buena Vista Drive, across from Pleasure Island. Neither offers repair service. If you have problems with your own car and are a member of the American Automobile Association, call 800 222-4357 for towing, roadside service, or repair shop referrals. Otherwise, contact Guest Services in your hotel for assistance. For rental car problems, call the company for assistance. If you have rented from a company with a rental office at WDW, you can exchange your car on property.
Driving to the Hotel from Locations Other Than the Airport:
If you are planning to drive to the meeting and you need directions you can give mapquest a try. It will give you a door-to-door route from your city of origin to Orlando.