Flying in and out of Orlando is about to get a lot more enjoyable. As of September 20, 2022, Terminal C is officially open after a $2.8 billion investment.
Orlando International Airport (MCO) has been notorious for long lines and a hectic check-in and security experience, but (hopefully) with the arrival of this new terminal, some relief is on the way.
While the quirky airside carpet may be a fan favorite, getting to it can sometimes take hours. But with the addition of a brand new 1.2 million square foot terminal, international (and some domestic) passengers will now have a brand new, expedited experience.
Let’s take a look at the new terminal and what you can expect if you find yourself flying through this increasingly busy airport.
The massive project was designed by Fentress Architects and adds 15 new gates that can accommodate up to 20 aircraft, including narrow-body, jumbo, and super-jumbo jets.
Terminal C is expanding on “The Orlando Experience,” which will provide the expected 12 million annual passengers with the aesthetic of air, water, and sky throughout their journey.
In addition to modern security and ticketing areas, there are options for shopping and dining with natural light throughout. There are also public art installations and immersive and interactive CGI content. Kids and adults may have as much fun at the airport as they do at the theme parks … well, almost.
“Terminal C will be so much more than a transfer point from one place to another. It will serve as a multimodal memorable entryway for passengers visiting, living, and working in the region,” said Kevin Thibault, CEO of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.
The new terminal will also soon link to the Brightline rail system that currently runs from Miami through South Florida.
Safety and Security
As you might expect, the brand-new Terminal C at MCO is packed with safety and security enhancements to help create more efficient experiences for travelers.
The terminal is home to a state-of-the-art baggage handling system that will automatically store and deliver luggage based on each passenger’s schedule and will introduce the “bags-first” system which delivers bags to arriving international passengers before passing through the Customs & Border Protection process.
There are also plenty of behind-the-scenes additions, including improved emergency response systems, a new Visual Surveillance System (VSS), a Virtual Ramp Control (VRC) so air traffic controllers can reduce taxiing time, and a Ramp Information Display System (RIDS) that will improve boarding and takeoff efficiency.
With more than 1,000 high-definition display boards throughout the terminal, passengers will feel immersed in technology as soon as they arrive.
In addition to improved security measures and guides for travelers, there are also large-scale public art installations throughout the terminal. These custom, digital experiences are interactive and immersive and allow travelers to explore more of Central Florida — beyond the theme parks.
The Moment Vault is a 360-degree immersive sound experience that “transports” passengers from deep blue springs all the way to the red surface of Mars. And the 100-foot long, 32-foot tall Windows on Orlando will highlight stunning footage from the local area.
Technology in Terminal C at MCO will be present throughout the travel experience, including:
- 100% automatic screening lanes at TSA checkpoints
- 100% facial recognition systems for international arrivals and departures
- RFID Tote Baggage Handling system
- Queue Management System (QMS) for security wait times
Sustainability and environmental responsibility has always been central in the design of Terminal C, which the airport hopes will help it become one of the first LEEDv4 airport campuses.
Central Florida’s wildlife and lush landscapes inspired much of the architecture and layout throughout the building’s design — and preserving it is just as important.
The airport has committed to specific sustainability measures, including:
- 35% targeted reduction in potable water use through efficient fixtures, faucets, and equipment
- 25% targeted reduction in energy costs with a focus on thermal performance, thanks to intentional design in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems
- Using refrigerants that have minimal-to-zero global warming and ozone depletion potential
- A 360-panel floating solar array that produces 123 kilowatts of energy and reduces 196 tons of carbon dioxide annually
- Towering “Forever Trees” that were sustainably created using preserved materials from live palms and cypress trees
Whether arriving or departing, the millions of annual travelers passing through Terminal C will have a much-improved experience.
From top-floor baggage arrival and a streamlined luggage system to the new early bag storage that can accommodate up to 1,800 bags, MCO knows that its passengers travel heavy and are prepared to take some of the load off.
With getting around the terminal made easy thanks to plenty of video displays, wayfinding signs, and MCO App beacons, getting to gates, restaurants, and the lounge will be seamless.
Terminal C is home to most international arrivals and departures, as well as select domestic travelers.
Here is the current lineup of airlines at Terminal C, including the date they will relocate from Terminals A and B:
- Aer Lingus — September 20
- Azul — September 22
- British Airways — September 21
- Caribbean Airlines — September 3o
- Emirates — September 21
- GOL — September 20
- Icelandair — September 22
- JetBlue — September 27
- Lufthansa — September 21
- Norse — September 22
From Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando to Wine Bar George and Orange Country Brewers, there are plenty of local and international brands to experience while at Terminal C.
The 30+ retail and food options are mostly located near the gates, so customers can enjoy them without having to stress about rushing for the boarding process.
The current Terminal C concessions are:
- 3Sixty Duty Free
- Auntie Anne’s/Cinnabon
- Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Co.
- Cask & Larder Public House
- City Arts Market
- Cucina & Co.
- Desano Pizzeria
- Eola Market
- Gatlin Trade
- Harvest & Grounds
- Main Street Market with Einstein Bros. Bagels
- Olde Hearth Bread Co.
- Orange County Brewers
- Orlando Brewing Bar & Bites
- PGA Tour Grill
- Provisions by Cask & Larder
- Raw Juce
- Replenish with Illy Coffee
- Shake Shack
- Summer House Orlando
- Sunglass Hut and Brighton
- Sunshine Diner by Chef Art Smith
- The Scoop
- Universal Studios
- Walt Disney World
- Wine Bar George
Despite being home to many international airlines, Terminal C only has 1 lounge.
The Plaza Premium lounge at MCO is located on the second level of the Palm Court area and will feature artwork from the Orlando Museum of Art and silent digital art from Full Sail University.
Passengers can find food and beverage options, as well as Wi-Fi and areas to work and relax.
To access the Plaza Premium Lounge you will need a day pass or use an eligible American Express or Capital One credit card.
Parking your car at Terminal C at Orlando International Airport is a seamless experience as well.
Whether flying from Terminal C or even A or B, Garage “C” has 2,500 parking spaces and easy access to the terminal or Terminal Link (APM) train.
Passengers will have plenty of options when renting a car at MCO, all of the major rental companies have a location at Terminal C, including:
In addition to being connected to the other terminals via the Terminal Link (APM), Terminal C will have a direct connection to Brightline, the private rail service that will soon connect Orlando to South Florida destinations, including West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami.
There are also future plans for a SunRail connection as SunRail currently operates a 49-mile system through Central Florida.
Overall, this beautiful new terminal is a major improvement for anyone working at or traveling through Orlando International Airport (MCO).
Terminal C should help ease congestion in the crowded A and B Terminals and provide a world-class experience for passengers visiting the Theme Park Capital of the World.
A faster, more efficient experience from curb arrival to check-in to boarding is something all airports should strive for. The new technology and systems that have been put in place for arriving passengers (especially international passengers) are impressive and will likely improve on a system that was less-than-ideal.
Flying in and (especially) out of MCO has long been a pain point for business travelers and families, and Terminal C is hoping to change that.
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