One of the more frustrating aspects of living in central Florida is all the toll roads in Orlando. Driving around the city, though, is actually quite easy in terms of major roadways. If you’re looking to drive to any major park or site in the city (ie. DisneyWorld, Universal Studios, the airport, etc), you’ll be able to catch a well maintained road to get you to where you’re going. Plus, the city is very good about having signs everywhere to ensure you get on the right road to where you’re going. The price to drive these roads, however, is the frustrating part.
Let’s take a quick look at the major roadway’s you may take if you’re choosing to drive in Orlando.
Florida Turnpike (91)
If you’re driving to Orlando from the Midwest and you’ve gone through Atlanta, you’ll be taking Interstate 75 South. About 60 miles outside of Orlando, you’ll need to exit I75 and jump on the Florida Turnpike (91). This 309 mile paid roadway will take you from the middle of the state of Florida through Orlando south all the way past Miami and ending in Homestead. This is a very nice and smooth roadway (most of the paid toll roads are very well maintained) and if you wanted to travel the entire 309 miles, it’d cost you approximately $20.00. However, if you’re merely driving to Orlando and exit at Interstate 4 (I4), you’ll end up paying $3.25. (To find out how much it’d cost to travel any of the paid toll roads in Florida, check out the Florida Toll Road Calculator.
Interstate 4 (I4) runs from Tampa through Orlando and ends in Daytona Beach. This federal roadway, which is not a paid road, runs through downtown Orlando and past the major attraction parks (DisneyWorld, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld). More than likely, if you’re driving to Orlando and visiting one of these parks, you’ll end up on this interstate to get to your destination. Be careful when getting close to the Disney Parks during rush hour though; there’s construction going on near the Disney exits and rush hour traffic can halt to a standstill.
Beachline Expressway (528) and Central Florida Greeneway (417)
If you’re flying into Orlano and renting a car from the airport, you’ll be taking one of these toll roads on your way into Orlando. The Beachline Expressway (528) will exit on the north side of the airport and will meet I4, where you can proceed to either Disney, Universal, Seaworld, or onto downtown Orlando. This toll road also runs by the Orlando Convention Center and several large hotels nearby. The Beachline Expressway also travels east of Orlando and can take you to Kennedy Space Center or Cocoa Beach as well.
The Central Florida Greeneway (417) is south of the airport and serves as a “detour” route running on the south side of the Orlando metro area. If you’re driving your rental car to a Disney resort, I’d recommend taking the Central Florida Greeneway. Disney’s own busses via the Disney Magical Express uses this toll road to pick up guests from the airport and transport them to their end Disney resort. The Central Florida Greeneway will end up meeting Interstate 4 and you can continue to Tampa and other surrouding areas.
How much does it cost to take a toll road in Orlando?
By using the Florida Toll Road calculator, you can calculate how much it will cost to use a toll road not only in Orlando but around the State of Florida. A trip from the airport to Disney will cost approximately $3 one way. If you’re looking to drive from your Disney resort to Kennedy Space Center or Cocoa Beach, plan on tolls costing around $5 to $6 one way. A trip to the Miami area from Orlando using the Florida Turnpike will cost approximately $15.
Tips of using toll roads around Orlando
If you’re driving your own car and are visiting Orlando, I’d suggest making sure you have cash. The toll booths do take credit cards, but it’s just easier and faster to use cash. Also, have plenty of quarters with you. If you enter/exit a toll booth which only takes change, you’ll need to have these quarters with you. These booths usually cost $0.75 per visit.
If you’re renting a car, I recommend accepting the toll road charges. This means you can use the SunPass lanes (which automatically charge the toll fee to your rental car amount) and can bypass the cash lanes. This makes traveling through the toll booths much faster.
As you can see, Orlando has kind of taken advantage of people who want to drive on their own around the area with toll roads. It can be pretty frustrating if you don’t have enough cash or coins with you when traveling (it’s happened to us more than once). If you’re prepared, you can navigate these toll roads with few frustrations!