With the discontinuation of Disney’s Magical Express service between Orlando’s International Airport and the Walt Disney World Resorts, may have wondered how they will get from the airport to their resort. While there are many options such as Uber, Lyft, or the new Mears Connect service.
The most traditional option, and one that I use each time I visit, is renting a car. Having my own car affords me the freedom to come and go as I please, get out of the Disney “bubble,” and it allows me the chance to visit places that I might not normally visit otherwise.
However, renting a car in Orlando, one of if not the largest car rental markets in the country, comes with a bit of a catch: toll payment convenience fees. Because Florida doesn’t have a state income tax and in many parts of the state, their sales tax is low, some major thoroughfares charge a toll to pay for the maintenance and upkeep. While not really a big deal, knowing how car rental companies manage the paying of these tolls can be a big deal.
Most of the companies charge $4.95 a day to “rent” a toll transponder. You get charged each day whether you use it by going through a toll plaza or not. There are a couple who charge a convenience fee only on the days you go through a toll plaza but there are a couple of companies that charge a larger, flat fee per rental. I’ve seen these fees go up to $35 per rental period. With the exception of a couple of companies, they will also charge the cash toll rate which is always higher than the electronic rate that those with a responder should be getting.
Simply put, some of these companies are ripping people off.
Our agency only works with reputable, national car rental companies because while the tolls are unavoidable, the extra fees and we believe the lack of respect for our clients, is avoidable. It seems like Orlando’s mayor Buddy Dyer and the Central Florida Expressway Authority agree. They came up with a solution to this racket and we love it!
The solution: Visitor Toll Pass and the Central Florida Expressway Authority makes the claim that if you’re renting a car, you can save up to 80% on the tolls.
They do this a couple of ways. First, it’s completely free to use. Yes, you still have to pay the tolls, but you don’t have to purchase a transponder or pay any transponder rental or “convenience” fees. You must return the transponder when you’re done using it or you’ll be charged a $10 fee. You are also charged the electronic price of the toll, not the cash price.
Here’s how the Visitor Toll Pass system works:
1. Download the Visitor Toll Pass App
Simply go to your app store, search for “Visitor Toll Pass,” and follow the setup instructions.
2. Pick up your Visitor Toll Pass
Look for the Visitor Toll Pass vending machines on Level 1 near the rental car counters at the Orlando International Airport. A barcode will appear in the app to scan at the vending machine to retrieve your pass.
3. Hang your Visitor Toll Pass
Prior to leaving the airport, decline the transponder rental or “convenience” toll fee with the rental car company. Hang the Visitor Toll Pass on the rearview mirror of your rental vehicle.
4. Return your Visitor Toll Pass
There is a total of 8 drop-off boxes spread throughout the airport on both the A and B sides. The drop-off boxes look like a mailbox so they’re easy to find.
5. Pay your tolls
You will be billed to the credit card you provided in the app, and you will be billed the electronic price for the tolls.
It really is that simple!
I tested it out on my latest trip and I must say, it was easy to use and I saved just under $30 using it. That’s the equivalent of 5 snacks at Disney World! (Yes, that’s how we think around here).
The Visitor Toll Pass system is a win for travelers, the City of Orlando, the airport, and the tourism community at large so what do you think? Is this something you think you’ll test out? Do you even rent a car when you travel?
Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.
Thanks for reading.