It goes without saying that a Walt Disney World vacation is expensive, right? But fortunately, you lucked out and saved a couple of bucks flying into the Orlando Sanford International Airport. Your flight goes by quickly, you exit the plane and ask an employee where to find Disney’s Magical Express. “Oh,” the employee starts, “that’s at the Orlando International Airport.” Confused, you ask, “I thought this WAS the Orlando International Airport?”
Unfortunately, this type of situation happens often. Oftentimes, travelers flying into Sanford Airport will spot frustrated guests outside on their phones, calling Ubers and trying to figure out how this happened. In today’s blog, we’ll go over the controversy caused by Sanford Airport, how you can get to Disney World from there and what you should know about the area if you do plan on flying into Sanford Airport on purpose.
Read more: 110 Disney World Tips for Trip Planning
Controversy Surrounding Orlando Sanford International Airport
Both airports have “Orlando” in their name – Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB). While MCO is located in the city of Orlando, SFB is technically located in Sanford – about an hour outside of Walt Disney World.
In 2017, Frank Kruppenbacher, the chair of the board that oversees Orlando International Airport told WFTV9 that the Sanford Airport’s use of the word “Orlando” creates major confusion and inconvenience for travelers who think they’re flying into MCO. Furthermore, flight results will sometimes yield results for Sanford Airport (SFB) mixed in with results for MCO, which can easily cause confusion if guests believe they’re making a reservation for a different airport.
The biggest issue with the Sanford Airport is that guests traveling to Walt Disney World won’t have access to Disney’s Magical Express – a complimentary airport shuttle that takes guests to and from their Disney resort hotel. One of the main perks of using Disney’s Magical Express is the complimentary luggage transportation; if travelers flying into SFB don’t realize they’re in the wrong airport, it could cost them lost or stolen luggage by not arriving at baggage claim to collect their items in time. Furthermore, guests who fly into SFB while having a car rental reservation at MCO will face additional frustration trying to get a hold of them to explain the situation and change their reservation pick-up time.
While Sanford Airport sees only about 6% of the traffic of MCO, the legal controversy surrounding it is nothing new. And unfortunately, with other airports such as the Orlando Melbourne International Airport using the word “Orlando” in their name, this situation will undoubtedly continue to cause confusion for first-time Disney World guests all in the name of getting business.
How to Request an Uber from Sanford Airport to Disney
Regardless of your reason for grabbing an Uber after your arrival at Sanford Airport, we have some helpful tips you should know before you go. First, you have to make sure you download the Uber app on your smartphone. This app is available for download on both iPhone and Android. If you are unable to download the app, you can also request a ride by visiting their website. Guests can schedule an Uber pick-up and drop-off time 60 days in advance. Guests also have to make sure they are selecting the correct variant of Uber depending on the size of their party; Uber X (the most common) can accommodate a part of four, whereas Uber XL can accommodate seating for up to six people. Below, is an example of the available Uber rides and their estimated costs:
- Uber X: $51.37
- Uber X Car Seat: $61.37
- Uber Pet: $55.37
- Uber Green: $52.37
- Uber XL: $78.72
- Uber XL Car Seat: $88.72
- Comfort: $60.95
- Black SUV Car Seat: $177.98
These prices are only estimates and are dependent on the date and time of your arrival. Guests will encounter surge pricing during bad weather, holidays, rush hour, and during certain major events such as the Superbowl, Wrestlemania, or large concerts. Travelers do have the option to wait to request a ride if they don’t want to pay surge pricing, as the Uber app will alert them of any increased prices before they book. However, there is no set time as to when the surge pricing will go down. You’ll usually see surge pricing in the early mornings, especially during weekends, as soon as the Disney World theme parks open, so be wary of this if you’re heading straight to the parks or have an early dining reservation.
Tips for Using an Uber at Sanford Airport
Once you’ve requested a ride, you’ll be able to follow along with your driver’s journey on the map. The app will also provide you with your Uber driver’s name, license plate and the make and model of their vehicle.
When your Uber arrives, always make sure to walk around to the back of the vehicle and check the license plate to confirm it’s the correct vehicle. Do not get into any vehicle that is not your designated Uber vehicle. If someone asks you if you want a ride while you wait, do not engage with them and do not get in. While Uber has done a good job at vetting out potential dangers, you still have to do your due diligence anytime you use a rideshare service.
Once you’re in the Uber, you will most likely be required to wear a mask. Some Uber drivers may have a plastic partition separating you from them or offer you hand sanitizer. As COVID-19 restrictions begin to loosen up, only time will tell how this will affect Uber drivers moving forward but as of right now, this is the most likely situation you’ll encounter.
When your ride has concluded, you can rate your driver on a scale of 1 to 5 stars on the app. At this point, you can also leave a tip. When you create your Uber account, you can link up your credit or debit card, which will be automatically charged once your ride is completed. To get from Sanford Airport to Walt Disney World, it’ll take about 50-60 minutes depending on traffic.
Things to Do in Sanford, Florida
If you’re planning to fly into Sanford Airport because you’re staying at a nearby hotel, there are a lot of fun and exciting things for you and your loved ones to check out. First, the airport is located close to Daytona Beach, which has 23 miles of gorgeous coastline. Visitors can also check out the Sanford RiverWalk, which is a scenic trail that sits along the shoreline of Lake Monroe and into downtown Sanford. Sanford is also home to a zoo, botanical gardens, quaint coffee shops, brewing companies, spas, and much more.
Read more: Best Beaches Near Disney World
Have you ever flown into the Sanford Airport? If so, what did you think about it? With Disney’s recent announcement that they will be getting rid of Disney’s Magical Express in favor of a paid transportation service, I suspect that Uber rides will become all the more popular in 2022. When I visited both Disney Springs and Epcot in January, the number of people waiting for a rideshare vehicle was wild. I anticipate this trend continuing in the years to come.
As a self-proclaimed Mouseketeer, Courtney Dercqu is a fan of all things Disney. Between decorating her desk with souvenirs from the park, to making unique mouse ears and having a dedicated Disney Instagram, Courtney is a true believer in the magic of a Walt Disney World vacation. Having had more than 200 articles published on various content, Courtney’s excited to share her knowledge and experience with everyone! Be sure to follow her on Instagram for all the Disney magic.