Orlando Airport Guide with Amenities and Layover Tips

Orlando International Airport (MCO) is a bustling hub, serving over 57 million passengers in 2023, making it the 18th busiest airport in the world, the busiest in Florida, and the seventh busiest in the United States.

You’ll notice in this guide that, despite MCO Airport’s status as a major aviation hub, it has not yet invested in layover facilities like sleep pods or transit hotels, which would enhance convenience for passengers needing rest within the terminals. It, however, has a hotel inside the airport.

In this guide, we have provided details to help you get a good understanding of this airport with details of amenities to maximize including sleeping, showering, WiFi and charging, navigating the terminals, and more.

As this guide points out, MCO’s central location in Florida and proximity to major attractions like Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and nearby beaches make it a popular choice for both domestic and international travelers.

MCO Airport Layout and Operations

MCO features a highly efficient hub-and-spoke layout:

  • Main Terminal (North Terminal Complex): This is the central hub, divided into A and B sides.
  • Four Concourses (Spokes): Connected to the main terminal via automated people movers (APMs).

Navigating the Main Terminal

  1. Levels and Facilities:
    • Level 1: Ground transportation and parking.
    • Level 2 and 3: Baggage claim.
    • Level 3: Airline ticketing and check-in, food court, and shops.
    • Level 4: Hyatt Regency hotel, with rooms offering views into the terminal atrium.
  2. A-Side and B-Side:
    • Ensure you know whether your airline is on the A-side or B-side to streamline your navigation.
    • Both sides have dedicated ticketing, baggage claim, and ground transportation areas.
  3. Food and Shopping:
    • The main food court is centrally located on Level 3, offering various dining options.
    • Numerous shops are available around the food court area on both the A and B sides.

Security and Concourse Access

  1. Security Checkpoints:
    • East and West security checkpoints lead to the four concourses.
    • Be prepared for standard security screening processes.
  2. Automated People Movers (APMs):
    • Connect the main terminal to the four airside concourses.
    • Provide a quick and convenient way to travel between the terminal and gates.

MCO Airport Hours:

Orlando International Airport (MCO) operates 24 hours a day. However, specific facilities within the airport, such as food outlets and TSA checkpoints, have limited hours. Most food outlets close by 10 PM and reopen around 4 AM.

TSA checkpoints also close at night and typically reopen around 3-4 AM. Despite these limitations, the airport itself remains open for passengers throughout the night.

Sleeping in MCO Airport:

Orlando International Airport (MCO) offers several strategic locations that cater to travelers seeking a place to rest. For those looking for a quieter and slightly warmer environment, the area near gates 56/58 in Terminal B is ideal.

This spot is away from the main thoroughfares, reducing foot traffic and noise, although it can be periodically disturbed by cleaning crews until 1:30 am. The food court, located before security, is another popular choice due to its padded benches and soothing ambiance created by a large circular fish tank, though it remains brightly lit and can get noisy.

Travelers who prefer more secluded and private spaces might find the companion restrooms a unique option, offering large, quiet areas to lay down, particularly at night when these restrooms are less frequented.

For added comfort, the Hyatt Regency within the airport provides day rooms and access to amenities like a pool and fitness center, though this comes at a premium. Between Terminals A and B, near the Universal Orlando area, curved lounge chairs provide a secure environment frequently patrolled by security, making it a safe choice for solo travelers.

Each of these locations offers distinct advantages, from warmth and quiet to safety and amenities, catering to various traveler needs at MCO. Check out our Guide with 8 Locations to Sleep at MCO Airport

Showering at MCO Airport:

Orlando International Airport (MCO) does not offer public shower facilities. However, travelers seeking a place to freshen up can take advantage of the shower facilities available in the Club Lounges located in Terminals A and B.

The Club at MCO (Terminal A)

  • Availability: Open to all travelers, regardless of airline or class of service.
  • Amenities: This lounge features showers and a designated rest zone, making it a convenient spot to refresh and relax.
  • Location: Terminal A, Airside, Concourse 1, Gates 1 – 29, adjacent to XpresSpa.
  • Access Options:
    • Pay at the Door: The walk-in rate is $45.00 per person.
    • Prepaid Lounge Pass: Purchase in advance for guaranteed access.
    • Lounge Membership Programs: Access available through various membership programs.
  • Note: Entry is subject to space availability, so consider arriving early during peak travel times.

The Club at MCO (Terminal B)

  • Availability: Open to all travelers, regardless of airline or class of service.
  • Amenities: Features include showers and a designated rest zone, providing a comfortable environment for rest and rejuvenation.
  • Location: Terminal B, Airside 4, near gate 91.
  • Access Options:
    • Pay at the Door: The walk-in rate is $45.00 per person.
    • Prepaid Lounge Pass: Purchase in advance for guaranteed access.
    • Lounge Membership Programs: Access available through various membership programs.
  • Note: As with Terminal A, entry is subject to space availability, so planning ahead is advisable.

Tips for Utilizing Showers at MCO

  1. Pre-Book Access: To ensure you can use the shower facilities, consider booking a lounge pass in advance, especially during peak travel periods. You can purchase it online here.
  2. Pack Essentials: Bring your own toiletries and a change of clothes to make the most of the shower facilities.
  3. Timing: Allow enough time to use the shower facilities without rushing, especially if you have a tight connection.
  4. Check Lounge Hours: Verify the operating hours of the lounge to ensure it aligns with your layover or travel schedule.
  5. Enjoy Additional Amenities: Beyond showers, take advantage of other lounge amenities such as complimentary snacks, beverages, and comfortable seating areas.

Stay Connected with Free WiFi:

Free WiFi is available at Orlando International Airport. Simply connect to the “MCO Internet” network.

If you don’t have a mobile device, internet kiosks are accessible airside near the gates and landside on Level 3 as stated by sleepinginairports.net guide.

In addition, several restaurants provide Wi-Fi for their customers. Some of these include:

  1. McDonald’s – Typically offers free Wi-Fi to customers.
  2. Starbucks – Known for providing free Wi-Fi with a purchase.
  3. Chili’s Too – Offers Wi-Fi service to patrons.
  4. Outback Steakhouse – Generally provides Wi-Fi for diners.
  5. Dunkin’ Donuts – Often has free Wi-Fi available.

These establishments make it convenient for travelers to stay connected while enjoying a meal or a beverage.

Orlando Airport Lounges:

LoungeLocationOpening Hours*Day Pass Fee per Person**
American Admirals ClubTerminal B, Concourse 3, near gate 55Daily: 4:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m.$79
The Club at MCOTerminal A, Concourse 1, near XpressSpaDaily: 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.$50
Terminal B, Concourse 4, near gate 91Daily: 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Delta Sky ClubTerminal B, Concourse 4, near gate 71Daily: 4:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.N/A
Plaza Premium LoungeTerminal C, second level of Palm Court areaDaily: 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.$69
United ClubTerminal B, Concourse 3, near gate 43Daily: 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.$59
USO LoungeTerminal A, arrivals level at the west endDaily: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.N/A

Tips to Survive MCO Airport Layover:

Here are 15 detailed tips for sleeping and navigating Orlando International Airport based on various reviews:

  1. Tip #1: Warmer Spots – The area near gates 56/58 is noticeably warmer compared to other parts of the airport. If you are sensitive to cold, this might be your best bet for a more comfortable rest.
  2. Tip #2: Noise Management – Cleaning crews are active and loud until around 1:30 am. To mitigate noise, bring earplugs or noise-canceling headphones, especially if you plan to rest near gates 1-59.
  3. Tip #3: Lack of Benches – There are no benches near gates 1-59, so consider bringing a travel mat or finding a spot on the floor if you prefer a more private area to lie down.
  4. Tip #4: Overnight Food Options – Most food outlets close by 10 PM. McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts open at 4 AM, so plan ahead by bringing snacks if you expect to arrive late or leave early.
  5. Tip #5: Comfortable Seating – Long couches in the food court area are relatively comfortable but can be bright and noisy. Arrive early to secure a spot and bring an eye mask to block out light.
  6. Tip #6: Quiet Corners – For a quieter experience, consider resting behind the counters at gates B40-C40, where there is less foot traffic and announcements.
  7. Tip #7: Early TSA Closure – TSA and CLEAR checkpoints close around 8 PM and reopen at 3 AM. If you need to re-enter the secure area, plan your schedule accordingly to avoid being stuck outside security.
  8. Tip #8: Baggage Claim Delays – Expect long wait times at baggage claim, especially with airlines like Frontier. Be prepared for up to 1-2 hours of waiting for your luggage.
  9. Tip #9: Customer Service – Be aware that customer service in the baggage claim area can be poor, with staff often described as unhelpful. Patience and polite persistence are recommended.
  10. Tip #10: Sleeping on Floors – If all seats are occupied, consider bringing a sleeping bag or mat to rest on the carpeted floor, especially in quieter, warmer corners.
  11. Tip #11: Security Concerns – For added security, sleep near the Universal Orlando area with curved lounge chairs, which are frequently patrolled by security staff.
  12. Tip #12: Lack of Amenities – There are no shower facilities or designated sleeping zones. If you need a shower, consider booking a day room at the Hyatt Regency within the airport.
  13. Tip #13: Charging Stations – Ample charging stations are available throughout the airport, particularly near the food court and gate areas. Recharge your mobile devices at the charging stations located in the gate areas of Airside 3 and Airside 4.
  14. Tip #14: Eye Masks and Blankets – The airport is brightly lit and air-conditioned, so an eye mask and a travel blanket or warm layer are essential for a comfortable sleep.
  15. Tip #15: Early Morning Activity – The airport starts getting busy around 3-4 AM with TSA and food outlets reopening, so expect noise and increased foot traffic from early morning travelers. Plan your sleep schedule accordingly to avoid disturbance.
  16. Tip #16: Companion Restrooms – For a private and quiet place to rest, consider using the companion restrooms, which are larger and often less busy than regular restrooms. They can provide a quiet spot to relax or even take a short nap.
  17. Tip #17: Free Wi-Fi – Take advantage of the free Wi-Fi available throughout the airport. It’s generally reliable and can keep you entertained or connected during long waits.
  18. Tip #18: Hyatt Regency Access – If you need a more comfortable rest, the Hyatt Regency inside the airport offers day rooms and access to their amenities, including a pool and fitness center, for a fee.
  19. Tip #19: Power Outlets – Look for seating areas with nearby power outlets, especially if you need to charge multiple devices. The food court and gate areas typically have plenty of outlets available.
  20. Tip #20: Earplugs and Eye Masks – Given the bright lights and constant announcements, packing earplugs and an eye mask is crucial for a better sleep experience.
  21. Tip #21: Transportation Options – The airport offers various transportation options, including shuttles, buses, and rideshare services. If you’re arriving late, ensure you have a plan for getting to your destination as services may be limited.
  22. Tip #22: Emergency Supplies – Keep a small emergency kit with toiletries, snacks, and a change of clothes in your carry-on in case of unexpected delays or overnight stays.
  23. Tip #23: Luggage Security – When sleeping, secure your luggage by wrapping a strap around your arm or leg and placing valuables under your head or between your legs to prevent theft.
  24. Tip #24: Daytime Activities – During the day, explore the airport’s various shops, dining options, and art displays to pass the time.
  25. Tip #25: Avoiding Busy Areas – To avoid crowds, find less busy areas such as the ends of terminals or quieter gates away from major thoroughfares.
  26. Tip #26: Hydration Stations – Use the water bottle filling stations located throughout the airport to stay hydrated, especially if you have a long wait.
  27. Tip #27: Frequent Cleaning – Be aware that the cleaning crew is active overnight. Choosing a spot away from major walkways and cleaning zones can help you avoid noise and disruptions.
  28. Tip #28: Early Food Planning – Purchase food and drinks before 10 PM to avoid being left without options during the night when most outlets are closed.
  29. Tip #29: Relaxation Areas – Utilize the airport’s relaxation areas, which often have more comfortable seating and a quieter environment compared to other parts of the airport.
  30. Tip #30: Travel Blanket or Sleeping Bag – Consider bringing a compact travel blanket or sleeping bag for added warmth and comfort when resting on airport seats or floors.
  31. Tip #31: Avoid Terminal C – If possible, avoid Terminal C for sleeping as it requires long walks and has fewer amenities compared to other terminals.
  32. Tip #32: Friendly Staff Areas – Areas near the main terminal’s service counters often have friendly staff who can assist with directions or other needs.
  33. Tip #33: Flexible Travel Plans – Be flexible with your travel plans and allow extra time for security checks and potential delays, especially during peak travel times.
  34. Tip #34: Familiarize with Layout – Familiarize yourself with the airport layout upon arrival to quickly locate restrooms, food options, and your departure gate.
  35. Tip #35: Utilize Lounges – If you have lounge access or are willing to pay for entry, airport lounges can provide a more comfortable and quieter place to rest with additional amenities like showers and snacks.
  36. Tip #36: Quiet Zones – Look for designated quiet zones or areas with less foot traffic for a more peaceful resting experience.
  37. Tip #37: Avoiding Peak Hours – Try to avoid arriving or departing during peak hours (early morning and late afternoon) to reduce wait times and crowds.
  38. Tip #38: Stay Informed – Keep an eye on flight information displays and airport announcements to stay informed about any changes or delays in your travel schedule.
  39. Tip #39: Use Mobile Apps – Utilize mobile apps for booking services, checking flight status, and navigating the airport efficiently.
  40. Tip #40: Safety First – Always prioritize your safety by staying in well-lit, populated areas and keeping your belongings secure and close to you.
Image of Nathan Kip Rotich

Nathan helps travelers find the most comfortable sleep setups during layovers, from cozy airport hotels to futuristic sleep pods. His insights aim to transform layovers into rejuvenating sleepcations, offering travelers an alternative to costly hotels and uncomfortable benches.

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