Orlando Airport Confusion: Is Orlando International Also Called Sanford?

  • By: pdstamp
  • Date: May 25, 2023

When planning to fly to Orlando, you will land at one of the two airports there – Orlando International or Orlando Sanford.

When buying a ticket to Orlando, many people do not pay attention to the arrival airport since they believe that there is only one option, so they do not bother to check closely.

But, is Orlando International Airport the same as Orlando Sanford, and what are the differences between these two? 

Orlando International Airport And Sanford Airport are two separate airports. Orlando International is the main commercial airport, and it is located in the southeast of the city, meaning that it is closer to the main tourist attractions and areas, such as Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando.

Sanford is much smaller and located in the north, meaning that it is farther from downtown Orlando.

If you are planning to visit Orlando along with all of its touristic areas, including Disney World, you should inform yourself well, so your trip would be more convenient.

In this article, I have provided the differences between the two airports situated in Orlando, and which airport would be appropriate in a particular situation. So, if you intend to visit this city, it is better to get all the information concerning the airport where you will land in order to make your trip simpler. 

Orlando International Airport
Orlando International Airport

Is Orlando International Airport The Same As Sanford? 

Firstly, it is important to make clear that when we talk about Orlando International and Orlando Sanford, we are talking about two different airports.

Many people believe that this is one and the same, however, there are two airports in question, and they come with some significant differences.

To clear out the confusion, when you book a ticket to Orlando, it does not mean that you have only one option for the landing airport, so it’s better to check this information prior to your trip because it can make a difference to your stay there. 

Orlando International Airport 

Orlando International Airport is the main commercial airport, and it is situated in the southeast of the city.

This location means that this airport is closer to the main attractions and touristic sports, therefore, tourists find it more convenient, especially if they are headed to Walt Disney World.

  • Many people who intend to visit Disney World believe that it does not make a difference whether they land at Orlando International or Sanford, but it will make a difference since the former one is closer and you will save a bunch of time traveling to get to your desired destination. 

For instance, if you plan to visit Orlando for tourist purposes, it is far better to land at Orlando International.

Firstly, you will need only 25 minutes to get to Disney World, or to downtown Orlando, and secondly, you will save money on gas (if you rent a car), or on bus or cab fares. Sanford is farther away, meaning that it will cost you more time and money. 

  • If you are planning to drive to Walt Disney World from Orlando International Airport be sure to check out our article that will help you plan this journey. You can read it here.

In addition, Orlando International is a bigger airport, meaning that it has plenty of shops, modern restaurants, entertainment spots, and even a hotel.

Therefore, if you have to wait for your flight, or need to wait until your ride arrives once you land, you will have ways to entertain yourself to kill time.

However, you should take into consideration that a bigger airport means a bigger crowd and more time needed for passing customs, collecting baggage, and finding transportation to your hotel or downtown. 

Orlando International Airport

Orlando Sanford 

Orlando Sanford is the second commercial airport, and it is a lot smaller than Orlando International.

It is located in the north of the city, and it is closer to Daytona Beach than to Disney World and other tourist attractions. However, the name “Orlando” has helped this airport to attract many tourists, but also to raise confusion among them for taking these two airports for one and the same. 

  • Many passengers think that they are going to land at the main airport of Orlando simply because the name confuses them.

This might not make a huge difference for people who are not headed for the tourist spots, but for those who intend to visit them, especially Walt Disney World, this mistake might really mess up their trip.

This is due to the fact that Sanford is twice farther from the main attractions, and Disney does not offer their transportation services, such as Disney’s Magical Express to this airport. 

When you land in Orlando Sanford, you are stuck in the quiet part of Florida, and you will need more money and time to get to your desired locations and attractions.

On the other hand, Sanford is easier and simpler when it comes to crowds and traffic, so you might spend less time collecting your baggage and getting to the exit of the airport. 

Here’s a popular video that shows how to drive from Orlando International to Walt Disney World Resort Area.

The Confusion

Due to these facts, many tourists end up at the wrong airport, and their trip gets all messed up.

Many people who thought they were going to Orlando International need to sort out the mistakes with transportation, and to find an alternate way to get to the desired destination.

For example, if you are headed for Walt Disney World, you will have the complimentary ride organized by the theme park, but since at Sanford you do not have that option, you will have to find and pay for your own ride.

Both airports have rentals and hire cars, however, it will cost you more, obviously. Also, you can find a shuttle bus or a cab, but still, you will waste a lot of time, and you will have to travel further after your flight. 

It is important to understand the difference between Orlando International and Orlando Sanford since they are two separate airports in two different locations.

Therefore, if you are headed for the tourist areas and Disney World it is better to choose the bigger one. However, if you want to avoid the crowds and you are not traveling for tourist purposes, then Sanford might be a more convenient option. 

Orlando International terminal
Orlando International Terminal


What is the difference between Orlando Sanford and Orlando international

SFB and MCO are two separate airports in the Orlando area. SFB is located 27 miles northeast of downtown Orlando and primarily serves charter airlines, while MCO is located 10 miles southeast of downtown Orlando and serves major airlines with nonstop flights to over 150 destinations.

MCO is larger and has more facilities than SFB, which is known for being a more affordable alternative.

Is Orlando Sanford airport the same as Orlando International

Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) is not the same as Orlando International Airport (MCO). While both airports are located in the Orlando area and serve the nearby Disney and Univrsal parks, SFB is about 27 miles northeast of downtown Orlando,

MCO is 10 miles southeast of downtown Orlando. The names of the airports can be confusing, and some airlines may use the name “Orlando” in their marketing for flights to SFB, which can add to the confusion. Be sure to check with your travel agent which airport you are flying to! Especially if you are using a rental car company! (Yes I have made this mistake!)

What airlines fly into Sanford fl

Several airlines fly into Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB), including:

  1. Allegiant Air
  2. Surinam Airways
  3. Flair Airlines
  4. Swoop Airlines
  5. Sun Country Airlines
  6. TUI Airways
  7. ViaAir

Please note that this list may not be exhaustive and is subject to change. Additionally, some airlines may only offer seasonal or charter flights to SFB. (source: Orlando Sanford International Airport)