Orlando Events

Top 10 Things You Need to Know to Find Your Way Around Orlando

  1. Use a Brand New Map or bring your GPS—Orlando is growing by leaps and bounds. If you are traveling anywhere outside of the attractions, there’s a chance that new roads and highway extensions won’t be on an old map.
  2. SR 528 = Beachline = Beeline—If you’ve been to Orlando before and you remember traveling on the Beeline Expressway to and from the airport, it has now been renamed the Beachline, since it is the quickest way to Cocoa Beach. (It also means you need a new map if the one you have only refers to 528 as the Beeline.)
  3. I-4: Where East-West is North-South —I-4 connects Tampa on the Gulf Coast with Daytona Beach on the Atlantic Coast, so I-4 runs east-west through the state of Florida, although it runs north-south through Orlando (the 408 is the official East-West Expressway in town). If you are heading into town on the 528 from the airport, just remember that the attractions are west (technically south) on I-4 towards Tampa and downtown Orlando is east (technically north) on I-4 towards Daytona Beach.
  4. Avoid I-4 During Rush Hour—I-4 is a parking lot during rush hour. Give yourself plenty of travel time if you need to take I-4 during peak commute times.
  5. All clear on the Central Florida Toll Roads—Refreshingly, the Florida Turnpike and 417 GreeneWay expressways are relatively clear during the morning and late afternoon commutes. Part of the reason is that many of the locals don’t like to pay tolls (which is why you’ll find so many them sitting in traffic on I-4).
  6. Got tolls? Bring change—The SunPass lanes are for Florida Residents who pay their tolls electronically, so be prepared to use the exact change or manual lanes if you are driving on the toll road. And if you realize a bit too late that you are in a SunPass lane, just roll with it. There’s no need to cause an accident with a split second lane change and SunPass authorities only pursue repeat offenders.
  7. Be prepared for street names that change—Drivers can take Semoran Blvd. due north out of Orlando International Airport, but several miles up the road it just becomes plain old 436. You’ll see a lot of this in the Orlando metro area, so the best way to stay on track is to follow the route number.
  8. Be prepared for streets that change direction—Most of Central Florida is former marshland, so natural and manmade bodies of water make it nearly impossible to lay out state roads and highways in a grid-like fashion. Outside of the compact downtown area, lot of main thoroughfares start out north-south and end up curving east-west (or vice versa).
  9. Follow the Signs—Even drivers with a poor sense of direction should have a pretty easy time getting aroundOrlando. The city does a very good job of pointing people in the direction of the two major expressways that criss-cross downtown (I-4 and the 408) and Disney and Universal have numerous signs on their properties ensuring that no visitor gets too far off track.
  10. Greetings from Lake Buena Vista—Technically, if you are vacationing in Walt Disney World, you are staying in Lake Buena Vista Hotels, Florida, which is southwest of downtown Orlando. There’s no need to search for a lot of Lake Buena Vista signs, however, since all of the highway signs directing you to the House of Mouse will all say “Disney.”

Be sure to check our list of other top 10 tips for your Orlando vacation such as: Top 10 fun things to do on International DriveTop things to do in Orlando, and Top 10 reasons to stay in a vacation home in Orlando for your accommodations.  There is so much to do and see while visiting Orlando, these tips will help get you on your way to an experience you will never forget.