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Orlando Travel Guide

You *Should* Rent a Car in Orlando. But Here’s How to Get Around Without One

While we recommend renting a car when visiting Orlando, here’s how to get around if you decide not to.

Think of Orlando, and the theme parks likely come to mind, clustered rather neatly together as they are–about 15 miles west of Orlando International Airport and more or less the same distance south of the city of Orlando itself.

If all you plan to do in Orlando is hang out at said theme parks and bed down somewhere nearby with a shuttle to take you there and back day into night, you could probably make do without a rental car during your vacation (that said, you’ll also miss out on many of Orlando’s non-theme park attractions, of which there are many–but that’s another story).

Whenever I have friends visiting Orlando, I always suggest they rent a car–it just gives you a lot more freedom to maximize your stay, with less time hanging around waiting for a hotel shuttle to bring you somewhere or pick you up after a busy day at the parks.

Having your own wheels also gives you a lot more freedom to get away from the theme parks, see some of the city’s awesome nature, experience all its great restaurants away from the big resorts, and maybe take a day trip to one of the gorgeous beaches to Orlando’s east or west.

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That said, it’s possible to brave a car-free vacation in Orlando if you know where to look. Read on for all the best tactics to deploy if you find yourself in Orlando without your own wheels.

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Mears Connect

You land at Orlando International Airport and need to get to the Walt Disney World Resorts area. Hopefully, you’ve already reserved your pickup with Mears Connect, a coach service you can book online, with 24/7 service between the airport, Disney World, Disney Springs, and nearby Disney and non-Disney resorts, too, that include such popular resorts as Disney’s Animal Kingdom lodges, Disney Art of Animation Resort, Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, Orlando World Center Marriott and many others.

Standard bus service is shared and usually involves some wait time, but you can also opt for express service for direct service. Mears also offers chartered black car and limousine service if you prefer to bypass the bus entirely.


I-Ride Trolley

With daily service from 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and super affordable pricing ($6 for a one-day pass, cheaper for multi-day), this trolley service with stops all along International Drive is one of the cheapest transportation options in Orlando. It makes it easy to hop on and off and hit whichever attraction, restaurant, shopping, or hotel area you’re targeting along this famously busy tourist corridor.

There are two trolley lines, with red and green trolleys arriving every 20 to 30 minutes along the routes to transport riders along International Drive and Universal Boulevard, hitting spots like Icon Park, the Orlando International Premium Outlets, and the Orange County Convention Center along the way.

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LYMMO Downtown Circulator

Staying in downtown Orlando offers a different kind of vacation. There are exciting dining districts that range from lake-lined to Asian-inflected, beautiful parks, and fun neighborhoods like Thornton Park and College Park to explore.

For the easiest way to get around downtown, this bus rapid transport circulator operates seven days a week along routes throughout downtown Orlando’s major destinations along three different lines.

Among the many downtown stops you can reach by LYMMO are the Bob Carr Theatre, the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, and Lake Eola, the city’s centerpiece park. LYMMO buses have their own dedicated lanes, too, so you can avoid congestion and get where you’re going quicker than driving when traffic is in full effect. Fares are inexpensive, too, at just $2 for a single ride or $4.50 for a day pass.



This mass transit commuter rail service is a game changer in Central Florida, with regular service between the community of Poinciana (20 minutes from Walt Disney World Resort), south of Orlando, and Kissimmee, running all the way north through downtown Orlando to DeBary.

Major stops along the SunRail route that are popular with visitors include Church Street in the heart of downtown Orlando, the busy restaurant and hotel area of Sand Lake Road, the cute cafe and boutique-lined towns of Winter Park and Maitland and Sanford’s great little historic downtown, too. SunRail usually operates Monday through Friday, with limited weekend service available during major events.



Premium rail service connecting South Florida and Orlando launched in Sept. 2023 with Brightline, a premium rail service with a station at Orlando International Airport and trains offering onboard meals, spacious, hand-stitched leather seats, and free Wi-Fi that carry you all the way from Orlando to Miami (roughly 3.5 hours).

Stops along the way include West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, and Aventura. To add convenience, there are 16 daily round trips, with hourly northbound and southbound departures.

One-way base fares (called SMART fares) start from $79 for adults and $39 for kids. At certain times of the day, kids ages 2 to 12 may also ride for free with the purchase of an adult fare.


Gray Line of Orlando

For day trips with tours and transport included to some of the best spots in Central Florida, Gray Line of Orlando can get you to big-ticket attractions that are further afield from Orlando, including Kennedy Space Center on the east coast, Clearwater Beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast and Crystal River and Homosassa State Park to snorkel with manatees on boat tours in the Manatee Capital of the World.

Some destinations are available as transport-only transfers, too, should you prefer to tour on your own once you get there. Among the many other Central Florida destinations and attractions in the mix you can consider visiting with Gray Line of Orlando are LEGOLAND Florida Resort, St. Augustine, and Daytona Beach.

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Move Nona

Orlando’s most futuristic community, Lake Nona, minutes from the Orlando International Airport, is not only a scenic, lake-lined place that’s a delight to explore on foot or by bike, it’s also one of the first communities in the United States to offer shuttle service using autonomous vehicles. Move Nona Beep Autonomous Vehicles operate on fixed routes with stops throughout this community, home to hotels, restaurants, parks, and the best gym and fitness center in all of Central Florida.

Five routes and eight separate self-driving shuttles ply the 17-square-mile community and have so far carried more than 47,000 passengers, making the program the largest and longest-running of its kind in the U.S.