Like most people, I don’t like to spend a lot of time in airports. BUT… to my husband’s chagrin, I like to get to the airport hours before departure to minimize the rush and avoid the anxiety of long security lines and missed flights. These days, tons of airports are now catering to travelers just like me by packing their terminals with loads of shops and eateries to occupy me and my brood until take-off. Orlando International Airport is no exception – in fact, it’s probably one of the best domestic airports when it comes to keeping departing travelers busy.
EATING & SHOPPING BEFORE SECURITY: You’ll find most of the shops and eats after you check in but BEFORE you head through security. Security lines can take anywhere from 10 to 90 minutes to clear so budget your time wisely. While you’re still in the main terminal, you can grab a quick bite at the food court which houses popular fast food options like McDonald’s and Chick-Fil-A. There’s a Starbucks located by the entrance to gates 60-129 and a Seattle’s Best located by the entrance to gates 1-59. Nearby you’ll find the sit-down restaurants like Chili’s and Macaroni Grill.
Now, you can shop ’til you drop at more than 30 sweet boutiques. Forget to snag a souvenir while you were at the parks? No problem. Shops for Disney, SeaWorld, Kennedy Space Center AND Universal are all on hand for last-minute purchases t-shirts, key chains, and other bits of memorabilia. Buy designer sunglasses at at Oakley or Sunglasses International. Try out a new fragrance at Perfumania. Get a mini skin-care makeover at L’Occitane or Lush. There are shops for jewelery, electronics, clothing, even doggie digs. Careful… it’s easy to lose track of time.
EATING AND SHOPPING AFTER SECURITY: Once you pass through security, you’ll hop on the tram to one of four terminal outposts. Each one has its own set of restaurants and shops… about a half dozen of each. If you’re wondering whether to bypass the pre-security offerings, consider checking out this overview of what’s available in each area. For example, there’s a Starbucks at every gate area EXCEPT gates 30-59 which can be heartbreaking for junkies like me expecting to get my fix.
There are internet kiosks and ATMs located in all four areas beyond security, as well as places to buy books, magazines, snacks and another bottle of water to replace the one security just nabbed.
For people who like to suck every last minute out of their vacation, don’t worry about being bored while you’re waiting to board. The Orlando International Airport is just what you’d expect from this amazing, fun-filled destination — it’s packed with delightful diversions. So, plan on getting to the airport with plenty of time to spare… you won’t regret it.