Sitting on the sunny beaches of Orlando, Florida, looking out over the blue waters, and just soaking up the rays is something you can do anytime of the year. For Canadian snowbirds, the Florida sunshine is always a welcome break! There is no ‘bad’ time to visit Orlando, but if you want the best time to visit Orlando and get the city more to yourself, then off-peak months are ideal. Orlando is home to visitors from around the world year-round, but you will see fewer tourists and cheaper hotel rates from the second half of August into early September. Also, October through December is fairly quiet. During peak months, which are the end of May into the middle of August and Easter holidays, you may find more expensive flights to Orlando, heavily booked hotels, and tons of crowds. Schools go on field trips to Orlando over the summer, and there are all the “Spring Break” trips you would be competing against.
International flights to Orlando are relatively easy to get from direct flight operators like Air Canada, Air Transat, WestJet, and Sunwing Airlines. Other international airlines coming from Canadian cities to Orlando include United Airlines, American Airlines, Aeromexico, Delta Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Iceland Air, British Airways and Copa Airlines.
Orlando transportation options from the airport are quite plentiful, and you are just 19 kilometres outside of city centre.
Taxis are easy to find at the airport, and most are at the lower levels from Terminal A and B next to bus stops. You will see taxi fares posted on the boards. The typical rate is around $2.20 USD for the first quarter mile, then $0.55 USD for every quarter mile from there or any 80 second wait time. There is also an airport surcharge. Downtown Orlando takes approximately 20 minutes and will cost under $45 USD. Taxi companies serving the airport include Ace Metro Cab, Diamond Cab, Star Taxi, and Yellow Car.
To downtown, you want to board the LYNX bus #11 from Terminal A Level 1 with stops at A38 through A41. The buses leave starting at 5:56 am and run every 30 minutes until the evening. On Saturdays, they run approximately every 30 minutes, and on Sundays or holidays, they only operate from 5:45 am to 7:45 pm. A bus takes approximately 35 to 40 minutes to city centre and costs around $2 USD per adult, or an all-day pass costs $4.50 USD.
Hotel shuttles are offered exclusively by your resort and are found on Level 1 of Terminals A and B. They depart from stops A42 through A45.
Private shuttle vans can take you to the downtown city centre but must be booked in advance, and their fees will vary. Some popular options include Lake Limo, Inc., Daytona Orlando Transit, Airport Shuttle USA, Disney’s Magical Express, and Daytona Orlando Airport Shuttle.
Rental cars could be the easiest way to get to downtown Orlando and surrounding city attractions. At the airport, there are several rental services located outside Terminal A and B baggage claims, including AVIS, Budget, Dollar/Thrifty, EX Rent a Car, Enterprise, and Alamo. Be sure to look for attractive pricing on rentals cars with momondo.
At SFB, you are 27 kilometres outside the city centre, but the transportation options are not as robust as the international airport.
Taxi companies are across the road from Terminal B with an average fee of $60 USD to downtown Orlando.
Lynx Bus #33 stops outside of the terminals and drives to the city centre. American Coach buses, which must be booked in advance, visit all main Orlando attractions.
Rental cars at the airport include AVIS, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, and Alamo. You may find great options for car rentals with momondo.
By car is one of the easiest ways to get around Orlando, especially if you want to see the attractions to the far south of downtown, or if you want to venture into Kissimmee and surrounding cities. The main Interstate 4 serves most of Orlando.
The LYNX public transportation system offers 60 routes throughout the downtown area and costs around $2 USD per ride. There is a free LYMMO bus service that operates solely in the downtown area. The LYMMO bus runs from City Hall into the Centroplex and then circles back. It offers services Monday through Thursday from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm, Friday from 6:00 am to midnight, and Saturday/Sunday from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm.
Operates along International Drive and Universal Boulevard. Primarily serving tourists, the I-Ride Trolley runs daily from 8:00 am to 10:30 pm. There are 85 stops along the Main route and 22 stops on the Green route. There is a one-day unlimited ride pass available for $5 USD per person.
Dozens of taxi companies are waiting to service tourists in the area. They are found downtown or can be called for service. Fees vary by taxi, but more popular ones include Diamond Cab Company, Ace Metro, Town & Country Transportation, Tiffany Towncars, Star Trans-VIP and Motorlando.
Various shuttles operate throughout the city and take tourists to popular attractions. Many run 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Some options include the Florida Shuttle Services, Orlando Airport Van, and Supershuttle.
The SunRail runs every 30 minutes during rush hour and every 1-2 hours midday and evenings. They run between Sand Lake Road and DeBary, and weekend service is only available for events.
No visa is required for domestic travelers within the U.S. For foreign nationals, please check the U.S. Department of State website.
Canadian citizens can enter the U.S. through the Visa Waiver Program, which lets them visit for 90 days or less without requiring a travel visa. A passport is required, and travellers must have an Electronic System for Travel Authorization approval.
There are plenty of things to see and do in Orlando, including:
Visit the Main Attractions
From Walt Disney World to the Magic Kingdom, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Adventure Park, and Discovery Cove, you have plenty of theme parks to pick from for your itinerary.
The Arboretum at the University of Central Florida, Harry P. Leu Gardens, Historic Bok Sanctuary, and Mead Botanical Gardens are top spots to spend an afternoon.
Visit the Orlando Museum of Art, Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Orange County Regional History Center, Orlando Science Center, International Trolley and Train Museum, or the famous Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando Odditorium.
Rent a 4-Wheeler
Go off-roading and enjoy some dune buggy action.
Get Your Fix of Culture
Visit Little Saigon on East Colonial Drive, or head over to the Little India area on the South Orange Blossom Trail. Then, finish the day in Little Brazil off International Drive and get a meal at an authentic Brazilian eatery.
Tipping is quite common in Orlando, especially with the tourist crowds. Most restaurants accept a 15 to 20 percent tip on the bill, while bartenders at clubs expect a tip per drink. Also, free shuttle buses have tip jars. While not obligatory, they appreciate the tips for service. All currency is in United States Dollar (USD), which you can exchange when you enter the United States or at exchange locations close to the airport. Purchase a Go Orlando Card so that you can get discounts on many popular attractions. Also, the Orlando FlexTicket gives you discounted packages, but it does not work on Disney Theme Parks. Remember that Orlando uses ten-digit dialing for all calls from and within the city, including local numbers. Most telephone area codes in Orlando are 407 and 331.