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Traffic in/around Orlando

Traffic in/around Orlando

Old Mar 27, 16, 3:25 am
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LAX
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Traffic in/around Orlando

How's the traffic in Orlando on a typical Friday evening? What about a Friday evening before a long weekend? I am looking to leave Orlando on Friday (preferably late afternoon or early evening) and wonder if I should just stay overnight and head out the next (Saturday) morning. If traffic leaving Orlando would be bad, I would just extend the stay an extra night rather than sit/crawl through traffic. TIA.

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Old Mar 27, 16, 5:01 am
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Totally depends on your final destination. It also depends on what you mean when you say "Orlando". Lots of folks equate Orlando to Disney World, even though they are 20 miles apart. If you provide a starting and ending point for your trip, you'll get much better information.
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Old Mar 27, 16, 3:31 pm
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Originally Posted by writerguyfl View Post
Totally depends on your final destination. It also depends on what you mean when you say "Orlando". Lots of folks equate Orlando to Disney World, even though they are 20 miles apart. If you provide a starting and ending point for your trip, you'll get much better information.
Well, I haven't decided where in Orlando to stay yet, so not sure where the starting point will be. However, it will most likely be somewhere near Universal Studios. As far as the final destination, it will be part of a long drive to the Northeast corridor after leaving Florida.

Thus, if traffic won't be so bad on Friday afternoon/evening, I might just start driving until hitting the Florida/Georgia border before resting for the night. If traffic will be bad, then I would start the next morning and likely won't stop until hitting the NC/Virginia border. TIA.

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Old Mar 27, 16, 7:40 pm
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It's been some time since I've driven through Orlando. Therefore, I'll gladly defer to any future posters who have more accurate information.

That said, the worst traffic in the greater Orlando area is going to be I-4 through the Downtown area. Unfortunately, the route you'd likely be taking passes through that area.

The biggest wild card is going to be construction. I-4 in Orlando is undergoing a $2.3 billion dollar upgrade. How that construction is affecting local traffic is something that I can't answer.

Caveat: I grew up in Southern California and used to live in Orlando. The worst traffic I experienced in Orlando was minor compared to navigating LA's freeway system.
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Old Mar 27, 16, 7:54 pm
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I would suggest heading to Jacksonville and staying there Friday night. If traffic turns out to be unexpectedly horrible, you still won't get in terribly late. And if it's a breeze, you've still gotten a head start and will have an easy beginning to your Saturday morning drive.
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Old Mar 29, 16, 2:43 pm
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Two words: It sucks.
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Old Mar 30, 16, 7:09 pm
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Originally Posted by DJ_Iceman View Post
I would suggest heading to Jacksonville and staying there Friday night. If traffic turns out to be unexpectedly horrible, you still won't get in terribly late. And if it's a breeze, you've still gotten a head start and will have an easy beginning to your Saturday morning drive.
I am contemplating doing that, but I still prefer not getting stuck in traffic even just enroute to Jacksonville on Friday evening if it's going to be a breeze on Saturday. I will be in no hurry to leave, so I like to pick a good time to minimize sitting in bad traffic. While I am certainly no stranger to gridlock type traffic, that's precisely why I am trying to avoid it as much as I can, especially on vacation. Thanks.

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Old Mar 30, 16, 9:25 pm
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Google Maps has a feature that gives an estimate on travel time with traffic based on date and time. After entering the start and end points, there's dropdown option to change from "Leave now" to "Depart at". (Note: This is on the standard website. Not sure this is available on the mobile site.)

I've no clue about the accuracy of the information. But, here's a sampling of the times for the trip between the Universal Orlando Resort and junction of I-4 and I-95 in Daytona Beach for a Friday. (Time format is hour:minutes.)

  • Leaving at 1pm: typically 1:00 to 1:25
  • Leaving at 2pm: typically 1:00 to 1:25
  • Leaving at 3pm: typically 1:05 to 1:40
  • Leaving at 4pm: typically 1:10 to 1:50
  • Leaving at 5pm: typically 1:10 to 1:50
  • Leaving at 6pm: typically 1:00 to 1:25
  • Leaving at 7pm: typically 0:55 to 1:15
  • Leaving at 8pm: typically 0:55 to 1:10
For comparison, the distance of that route is 59 miles. Google says it should take 56 minutes if there is no traffic.
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Old Mar 31, 16, 10:37 am
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If you can, I would take 417 to I-4. It is a toll road, but way less traffic on a Friday evening.
528 to either 417 or I-95 would work as well, but you may hit a bit of traffic.
I-4 from Disney to north of Orlando will completely suck on a Friday evening.
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Old Mar 31, 16, 1:57 pm
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Rather than start a new thread, I'm going to try and be tidy and ask this here....

For a 7pm flight out of TPA on a Sunday evening, what time should we leave WDW (the Bay Lake Tower, so that's another 20 mins from I-4...)

Will need to drop a car with Avis. Also we will have lounge access at TPA.

I'm thinking we need to leave the hotel at 3pm.
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Old Mar 31, 16, 10:54 pm
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3pm sounds good. That gives plenty of margin so you won't be stressing even if traffic slows down unexpectedly on I-4W plus will give you some time to relax in the lounge at TPA.
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Old Apr 1, 16, 4:10 pm
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Originally Posted by Swiss Tony View Post
Rather than start a new thread, I'm going to try and be tidy and ask this here....

For a 7pm flight out of TPA on a Sunday evening, what time should we leave WDW (the Bay Lake Tower, so that's another 20 mins from I-4...)

Will need to drop a car with Avis. Also we will have lounge access at TPA.

I'm thinking we need to leave the hotel at 3pm.
You could leave as late as 4pm and still make it without issue. But as already stated, 3 gives you the worry free ride and some time to relax in the lounge.
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Old Apr 2, 16, 2:26 am
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Originally Posted by LAX View Post
I am contemplating doing that, but I still prefer not getting stuck in traffic even just enroute to Jacksonville on Friday evening if it's going to be a breeze on Saturday.
Just back this week from 3 months in the area and echo nineworldseries sentiments that traffic sucks. It has gotten progressively worse in the past 10-15 years and the I-4 expansion is long overdue.

That said, do not count on Saturday morning traffic being a breeze. It's understandable to think that without the weekday rush hour commuters that this should be the case, however, I was surprised to find weekend I-4 traffic to be equally congested as weekdays. You are probably just as well to get out of there on Friday in the direction you're headed.

One thing I would avoid on any weekday is heading on I-4 West towards Tampa between around 3 pm and 7 pm. We frequently drove eastbound from Tampa back to the general Disney area at this time, and traffic westbound was total gridlock for miles.

Originally Posted by pbiflyer View Post
If you can, I would take 417 to I-4. It is a toll road, but way less traffic on a Friday evening.
528 to either 417 or I-95 would work as well, but you may hit a bit of traffic.
I-4 from Disney to north of Orlando will completely suck on a Friday evening.
I agree that 417 is generally a much better route although if you're staying in the Universal area this would be quite a detour for you. Even heading to 528 from Universal is a slight southbound detour before heading east.

It depends on what time you could leave on Friday. You mention late afternoon, early evening. I would be tempted either to leave the Universal area no later than 3 pm and then take the most direct route, heading north on I-4. You'll have congestion but no worse than you'll have on Saturday. Or the other alternative may be to wait until 7 pm and then stop for the night outside Jacksonville which is under 2 1/2 hours drive - and I would stop north of Jacksonville so you have that potential traffic behind you before Saturday morning as well. If you leave the Orlando area around 3'ish, you will be facing the Jacksonville rush hour between 5 - 6 pm so that would slow down your progress towards the state border.

My gut feeling is that if you wait until Saturday morning to leave Orlando, you'll be kicking yourself for not having gotten it behind you on Friday night. Unless you are the type that can get up and be on the road at 5 am which would get you through both Orlando and hopefully Jacksonville before the Saturday traffic picks up.
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Old Apr 2, 16, 7:51 am
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If you are not stopping between Orlando and Washington,DC area look at the car train from Sanford. Book a sleeper car and let the train do the work. Amtrak does this service very well.
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Old Apr 2, 16, 1:20 pm
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Originally Posted by Swiss Tony View Post
Rather than start a new thread, I'm going to try and be tidy and ask this here....

For a 7pm flight out of TPA on a Sunday evening, what time should we leave WDW (the Bay Lake Tower, so that's another 20 mins from I-4...)

Will need to drop a car with Avis. Also we will have lounge access at TPA.

I'm thinking we need to leave the hotel at 3pm.
As Iceman said, you should be fine by 3pm. Even would be comfortable leaving right at 4ish. The good thing is that you are already on the south side of WDW. Your only major choke points are the short stretch of I4 from WDW to Champions Gate and the I-4 / I-275 interchange in downtown Tampa. I-275 construction is basically finished going westbound towards the airport. However, one wreck on I-4 between WDW and Tampa and you may want to be ready to hop off and take a side/back road.
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