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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tip Tuesday: Central Florida Greenway

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

As airline prices continue to soar, more and more guests are driving to Walt Disney World. For those along the East Coast coming down I-95, the turn onto I-4 west is a welcome sight -- that is until they get into Orlando itself.

If you've never driven I-4 through downtown Orlando, it can be a mess, especially during the morning and evening drive times. Also, there are plenty of wrecks, just read the Orlando Sentinel Web page sometime.

There is an alternative to I-4, though. It's called the Central Florida Greenway, or toll route 417. It begins near Sanford and runs nearly to Walt Disney World. It's about 15 miles longer than using I-4, but much less hectic. Guests who fly into Orlando International Airport and use Disney's Magical Express have seen the Greenway first-hand. It's the route Disney uses to get guests to and from the parks.

It is a toll road, and I'm sure some will avoid it just because they don't want to pay the tolls, which (as of this post) is about $6 (one-way) from I-4 to World Center Drive. In my opinion, it's well worth the $6 and the extra 15 miles.

Why? First and foremost, you bypass downtown Orlando which can be a madhouse. There are points on I-4 where the speed limit goes down to 55, yet drivers are whizzing all around you doing 80 on bumpy concrete roads. The Greenway is nicely paved with far-less traffic. On our last trip to WDW, we decided to try the Greenway and our drive was pleasant and stress-free. There are far fewer exits to worry about merging traffic. The only "annoyance" were the toll booths.

There is a way to avoid stopping for the tolls, however. It's called the SunPass. With the SunPass, you can drive right past the toll booths and maintain your speed, for the most part. There are two versions of the SunPass -- the portable transponder and the SunPass Mini. You can purchase either version at drug stores or online. The big difference between the portable and the mini is price and use.

The portable (as its name implies) can be used in any car. This would be the best option if you fly into Orlando and rent a car frequently, or drive different cars to WDW. The portable costs $25 + a required $10 initial balance.

The Mini is a sticker that you put on your car windshield. This is a good option if you always drive the same car to WDW each time. The Mini only costs $4.99 + the $10 required initial balance.

So depending on how and what your drive to/in Orlando, the portable or the Mini will be a great option. Best of all, you can reload your balance online. So before that next trip, just load up your pass and off you go!

Before my next drive to WDW, I will be getting a SunPass and taking the Greenway again.

Until next time -- I hope you have a happy and safe drive to Walt Disney World!


Anonymous said...

Hi Chuck,
If you are heading through Atlanta to the World you can similarly avoid I-4 by jumping on FL-429 from the turnpike. Mileage wise it is about the same as I-4 but it fairly empty as it has not made it on to many GPS systems yet. The exit will drop you off right at the back door of Disney. It is a great trick as well.

Snf1694 said...

Thanks for posting Im glad that someone helped us out while on the bus back to the BC I will remember that

Sam (kid on Bus)

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