Orlando International Airport (MCO) has marked the grand opening of its Terminal C to the public. After almost five years of construction on top of decades of planning, the new $2.8 billion project was welcomed by many.

Orlando International Airport grand opening of Terminal C
The airport has been applauded for its modern but unique feel, including the incorporation of fake palm trees © Orlando Internal Airport

Orlando International Airport opens new terminal

The airport is regarded as a gateway for the most visited destination in the United States. The first flight to touch down in Terminal C was an Aer Lingus flight from Manchester, England. Passengers on board were delighted by the modern addition to the Orlando International Airport, that now has an additional 15 gates to increase MCO passenger capacity by 25 percent or 10-12 million annual passengers.

Aer Lingus arrived at Terminal C marking its opening
Ground crew excitedly welcomed the Aer Lingus A330-300 to the new terminal, marking its opening © Orlando International Airport

Kevin Thibault, Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, was excited to celebrate the long-awaited opening of the terminal.

“This day has been a long time coming but we’re finally here. Terminal C is open and what a benefit it is to the community,” he says.

“This state-of-the-art terminal is leading the way to a truly intermodal future for all of Central Florida, where passengers will be able to take a plane, a train or an automobile from one location. Today, the vision has become reality.”

What is on offer at Terminal C?

If travelling on Aer Lingus, Azul, British Airways, Caribbean Airlines, Emirates, GOL, Icelandair, JetBlue, Lufthansa or Norse, you can expect to be flying out of Terminal C. Most airlines will begin operating out of the terminal on September 21 and 22, besides Caribbean Airlines that will begin operating from September 30. It is estimated that the annual economic impact from the ten Terminal C airlines to Central Florida, will be over $5.6 billion dollars.

The airport grand opening was an excitement for many as the terminal is updated with natural light and modern technology
The terminal is filled with natural light, plenty of seating and a range of eateries, with half of the food options from local providers © Orlando International Airport

Here you will be able to experience 15 gates capable of accommodating up to 20 aircraft, state of the art RFID (radio frequency identification) tags on all baggage, robotic early bag storage (the first in the world), bags first international arrival area, automated TSA screening lanes, more than 1000 video display screens provide directional and flight information and 33 retail and food and beverage concepts including local and national brands. The airport has also been noted for the use of natural light, unique architecture and modern technology, especially updated facial recognition technology using biometric boarding processes.

Key attractions throughout the airport includes its large-scale video installation, “Windows on Orlando” providing panoramic visuals of scenes from the local area, an art installation by Gentilhomme.  Visitors can also check out the “Moment Vault,” which allows interaction through cameras and 3D motion tracking. Artwork from the Orlando Museum of Art and Full Sail University will also be on display.

From next year, Terminal C will also offer a new Orlando Station. Currently 83% complete, Brightline is a high-speed rail service that will connect passengers to 170 miles of train lines, allowing easy travel from the airport to key destinations such as Miami or Tampa.

Orlando’s theme parks are not forgotten

Orlando is widely known for being a home to major theme parks including Sea World, Universal Orlando Resort and Disney World. The excitement doesn’t have to start when you leave the airport however, as these theme parks have opened their very own stores inside the terminal.

Customers can make the way to Palm Court inside the terminal to find the brand new Universal Orlando Resort store, with a second floor dedicated to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter that even the muggles will find spectacular, including the opportunity to pose for a photo on Hagrid’s bike. Movies such as Minions and Jurassic Park have also not been forgotten about, as customers can be treated to walls of souvenirs.

Universal Orlando Resort has its own store inside Palm Court at Terminal C
The new Universal store is set to keep passengers busy whilst they wait for their flights! © Orlando International Airport

The Walt Disney Store also has something for everyone to enjoy. The range of souvenirs featuring your favourite Disney characters are endless, and the store is lined with enchanting details including a replica of Cinderella’s Castle. Another photo opportunity awaits as you put on a set of infamous ears and smile with Goofy and Minnie in front of the castle. It is definitely a good idea to make extra room in your carry on, because chances are you will not be leaving empty handed!

Cast members celebrate the fun at Disney's new store inside Terminal C at Orlando International Airport
Cast members were able to join in the fun at the opening of the new Disney Store © Orlando International Airport

Will you be visiting the new terminal? Let us know in the comments below!

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