Transportation to/from airport and Universal

Looking for some advice on transport to/from airport and a day trip to Universal. We will most likely be doing Magical Express to our resort since we will be getting in on a late flight. Not sure whether to look into taxi/Mears shuttle/day car rental (for our Universal day)? We were originally planning on renting a car for the whole week but after looking into decided over $300 for the week might be too much.

I would definitely use DME for airport transfers but I believe the mears shuttle to Universal is around $20 per person, so it might come down to how many people are in your party to determine if it’s cheaper to rent a car for the day. There are at least three places on property you can rent a car from.

Have you done much looking into renting a car? We rent from Dollar and are paying a total of only $135 for 8 days next week. It started out at $200, but I kept checking and modified my reservation every time the price went down. However, you do have to pay for parking at Universal. It’s definitely a matter of opinion, but I think it’s sooo nice to have a car.

$300 for a week is way too much for a rental car, unless you are renting something very large or exotic. Check out for the best deal, and then keep checking back at least daily for a better deal. When you see one, book it and cancel the prior reservation.

Also, on there are 3 different “Smart Book” windows - the main one, and then Florida Car Rental and Orlando Car Rental (both accessible from the Car Rental Destinations menu. Check all three, as they can apply different discounts.

If you are just going to Universal for the day, I would strongly recommend taking a cab over a shuttle. For parties of four or more, it’s actually cheaper than the shuttle, but I would do it regardless for the awesome convenience. One of the best decisions I made on my last trip.

I am going to partially hijack this thread with my own related question. If I rent a car at MCO, can I return it at the TTC without incurring a huge extra charge?? I have been looking into this option in other states, and it appears that there is a huge up charge for returning at a different location.

That really depends on the company involved. However, “round trip” rentals are usually cheaper than “one way”, as you have found. Why return at the TTC?

Sorry, I wasn’t clear about my reasoning. I would like to do a stop at a Universal resort first, then move to a WDW resort, then take the DME back to MCO. I won’t need or want a car during the WDW portion of my trip. Renting the car for two or three days is likely going to be cheaper (plus allowing for a grocery/liquor stop or two) than paying for transport from MCO to Universal then from Uni to WDW - unless, of course, there is that big surcharge for returning at a different location.

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Renting a car for your whole stay and returning it at MCO will probably end up being cheaper than the combined MCO-UOR and UOR-WDW transportation - usually at about 4 days you get it for the weekly rate anyway. Plus, it is quite useful to have your own car at WDW for additional off-site trips/errands and more flexible park transportation. :smile:

Also, you can still use the Resort Airline Check-in to deal with your bags on check-out day even if you are not taking DME.

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Wait what?! @brklinck I can check in my bags at the resort and not use DME? I did not know that!! Leaving in 2 days. This is a great last minute tip!

Does this work with all airlines? Flying Southwest. Crossing fingers.

Yep, Southwest is on the list - for full details see

How lovely! Thanks so much @brklinck!