Universal Studios allows visitors to experience popular television and movies, including attractions such as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Jurassic World Ride, and Transformers 3D Ride. Guests love to venture through the park during the day and experience fine dining and the nightlife at the Universal CityWalk in the night.
While visiting Universal Studios can be an exciting adventure for any family, traveling can be burdensome. Many choose to fly into Sanford Airport (SFB) to travel to their Florida vacation destination.
If you plan to visit or stay at Universal Studios, plotting how to travel nearly 40 miles from the airport is a critical component to vacation success. This might seem like a long distance, but choosing the most suitable ground transportation can help the journey pass quickly.
Thankfully, there are many ground transportation options like renting a car, hiring a driver, using a shuttle service, or working with a ridesharing company. Deciding how to move about the state before your arrival can save time and decrease stress, ultimately creating a more enjoyable vacation.
Are you still looking for accommodation but want to stay near the airport? Our list of the best hotels near Orlando Sandford International Airport (SFB) for families should be useful in planning your trip.
How Far is Sanford Airport from Universal Studios?
The distance between Sanford Airport and Universal Studios can range from 26 to 36 miles, depending on which route. There are three main paths that a car can traverse to close the distance between the two locations.
The first is the quickest but requires a fee to pass through a tool; specifically, FL-417 Toll South to FL-408 W and I-4 W will lead the driver to Adventure Way in Orlando.
The second path is to drive over to Woodruff Springs, bypassing the Florida Highways and entering I-4, which will lead directly to Universal Studios.
The third and final route involves drivers traveling the toll road toward southeast Orlando, then driving west on FL-258 toward Universal Studios. Any path you or your driver decides to move, the ride is relatively easy, and you’ll be entering the gates of Universal Studios in no time at all.
The time to cover the approximately 30 miles is about 40 minutes regardless of which path you choose to drive. The difference between the quickest path and the slowest is only ten minutes. Both the first and second options carry the driver through downtown Orlando, which depending on the time of day, can add significant times to your commute due to increased traffic.
Every path provides an excellent tour of the city. The third option offers an additional view of beautiful bodies of water like Lake Underhill and Lake Lucerne. Additionally, the Central Business district offers many dining options if you or your family needs lunch, dinner, or a snack before arriving at Universal Studios. This area is an excellent option for a post-airport pit stop from coffee shops like Craft & Common to lunch spots like Hamburger Mary’s.
As you approach Universal Studios from Interstate 4, resorts, outlets, lagoons, and themed buildings rise from the roadside. If you are traveling with children, it will be easy to keep them occupied by asking them to search the populated landscape for Universal Studios and Disney attractions and paraphernalia.
Approaching the park is an exciting moment for everyone in the family. The spectacular sight and anticipation of exploring the park are incomparable. For the fastest route to from the SFB to Universal Studios, see the map below:
What’s the Best Way to Get to Universal Studios from Sanford Airport?
The best way to travel from the airport to Universal Studios is via the Florida highway and national interstate system. Interstate 4 is the central vein to access Universal Studios; I-4 has multiple on-ramps between the airport and Universal Studios.
The best option to travel from the airport to Universal Studios is by driving. While it might seem that forty minutes is a long time to be in a car after a lengthy flight, it is the most efficient.
However, there are various options about how to access a car, van, or limousine. Depending on your budget, travel plans, and your comfortability driving a vehicle, there is an option for everyone to travel from Sanford Airport to Universal Studios. From renting a car to hiring a driver, various ground transportation options are available at the airport.
Rent a Car & Drive
When you land at Orlando Sanford Airport, you first need to find the ideal car rental for your schedule. Compacts and mid-size vehicles are great for downtown parking and basic transportation needs, but most rental companies offer higher-end and luxury cars for rent.
Economy cars are an excellent option for couples or small families. Economy cars range from 25 to 35 miles per gallon, making them perfect for in-town driving. Van and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are also available for rent and are great for traveling with a larger group. When you make a reservation to rent a car, you can select which type of automobile you’d like to drive.
On-Site Rental Companies include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, and National. While each car company excels at different aspects of the rental process, National is known for its easy-to-use website. Still, traditionally National has focused more of its business resources on business clients. On the other hand, Alamo offers more competitive pricing options and retains excellent customer services.
Once you leave the terminal and collect your luggage from the baggage claim, follow signs for ground transportation. As you get closer to the exit, the ground transportation signs will become more specific, and arrows for rental cars will begin to appear. The car rental companies are located adjacent to one another and often use line ropes to manage crowds. The average cost of renting an economy car in Florida is about $250 per week or $35 to $45 daily.
If you are uncomfortable driving but would like to travel via a car, hire a driver. Car services help families arriving in Orlando navigate from the airport to their final destination. Personal drivers will often wait by your arrival gate with a sign listing your surname. Drivers can help carry luggage to the cars and will deliver you to the prearranged destination. Personal drivers travel from the Sanford International Airport to Universal Studios often.
Use a Rideshare Service
Both Uber and Lyft are available ridesharing services at the airport. First, download the ridesharing app that you would like to use on your smartphone. Some people download both or multiple options, so users can compare real-time cost estimates before hailing a car.
When you are ready to exit the airport, open the ridesharing app and select the ride option that fits your needs. For one to three passengers, an economy option – like an UberX is perfect, but for groups or families of four or more other options, like Uber XL, it can accommodate more people. Carefully select the best option because a too-small car for your group could delay your transportation.
After leaving your arrival gate, follow signs identifying ground transportation to the rideshare pickup location. At the Sanford airport, passengers should exit the airport via the Terminal B door and cross Red Cleveland Boulevard. Watch for the matching tag to identify your driver.
Uber and Lyft prices vary based on the time of day, the demand for rides, and the length of the trip. After calling your ride, users usually wait about five minutes before pickup, and the cost of the ride from the airport to Universal Studios is about $50 for an economy car and up to $80 for a larger vehicle.
Take a Taxi
Taxis are located near the ground transportation section of the airport near the exit and baggage claim. Usually, a line of taxis readily awaits to carry you to your destination. If you are traveling with a group, there are likely taxi van options so that your family can comfortably fit within the given space. Some taxi options that operate at the airport allow prior scheduling so that once you arrive at the gate, your taxi will be at the exit waiting for you.
Taxis accept all major debit and credit cards, so unlike travels in the past, hailing a cab is not dependent on carrying cash. The cost of a taxi begins with a base fee and often a required airport fee, then the meter starts to run. A taximeter calculates expenses based on miles traveled during a particular trip. Additionally, taxi drivers can increase prices for more passengers. A taxi from the airport to Universal Studios usually costs between $75 and $100 and lasts about 40 minutes. For fast and efficient ground travel, a taxi is a traveler’s best option.
Take a Shuttle Bus
Multiple types of shuttle bus options exist at the airport. First, if you are staying in a hotel resort, shuttle services are often offered free from the airport to your hotel. If you are staying near Universal Studios, this could be a great budget-friendly option.
Secondly, some private businesses exist that sell shuttle services from the airport to Universal Studios. All travelers on a shuttle bus must make a reservation, which can be good if you are traveling with a group or family of more than four people.
For instance, Attraction Express offers a shuttle bus service from Sanford Airport to Universal Orlando Resort. Attraction Express requires a reservation and can transport a family from the airport to Universal Studios in about 45 minutes. Incredibly, one-way fares begin at about $10. Additionally, Universal Orlando’s SuperStar Shuttle is very reasonably priced for roundtrip shuttle service to Universal Studios. The fare is $39 per person; for children between ages 3 and 9, the price is $29.
Book a Limo
If you’d like your travel between the airport and Universal Studios to be extra exciting, add a bit of flair with a limousine rental. For instance, Orlando Chauffeured Services offers airport pickup and Universal Studios’ dropoff for reserved clients. While traditional limousines are available, this company also provides extended SUVs and the “Executive Sprinter” – a luxury van.
If you visit Universal Studios for a special occasion, then a limousine service to begin your adventure is an incredible experience. After leaving your arrival gate, the driver of your limousine will usually be waiting for you to escort you through baggage claim and to the parking location. You can truly experience the VIP treatment!
Using services like a scheduled travel itinerary with a limousine company allows for logistical peace upon your arrival at the Sanford International Airport and your trip to Universal Studios more enjoyable. A limousine rental offers similar benefits to that of a car service with more of a celebratory experience.
Traveling from the Sanford Airport to Universal Studios
It is approximately a 35-mile drive from Orlando Sanford Airport (SFB) to Universal Studios, Florida. The cheapest way to get from the airport to Universal Studios is to drive a rental car or hire a car service; it takes about 40-minutes to travel via automobile.
Downloading a ridesharing app like Lyft or Uber allows you to choose the right vehicle size for your party, request a ride, and handle all payments via the smartphone app.
If you stay in a resort on the Universal Studios campus, then Universal’s SuperStar Shuttle service offers both round trip and one-way transportation from the airport. Other third-party shuttles are available as well.
Additionally, rental cars are available and are an excellent option if you have other plans in the surrounding area during your trip. If you rent a car at the airport, you might also need to pay for parking at various venues.
Hotels usually have valet fees for overnight parking, so unless you need a car, finding another ground transportation option to Universal Studios might be a less costly option.
Regardless of which option you decide to travel on, gauging your budget and expectations for ground transportation, you will be able to find the best-suited travel option for you and your family.