Vote of the week: What's the worst intersection in Orlando?
ORLANDO, Florida - Driving around Central Florida this week has reminded me of one of my least favorite parts of visiting the Orlando-area theme parks: Nasty traffic.
You can avoid much of the hassle by staying on-property at Walt Disney World or the Universal Orlando Resort, and never venturing away from the parks. But for more most visitors, getting stuck in one of the Orlando area's notorious intersections has become part of the vacation experience.
Remember that Florida's just a thin crust of rock, floating on the ocean. Sinkholes abound, forming lakes that make it impossible to maintain any sort of coherent street grid. So traffic flows along meandering arterial routes that intersect with nasty jams at certain times of day.
We've been talking on the discussion board about a few of the worst. So here are our nominees for worst intersection in the Orlando-area theme park zone:
State Road 535, between Apopka Vineland and Hotel Plaza Blvd. - This is a "double intersection": Both were nominated, but it's impossible to separate the two, since each contributes to the other's problem. If you've ever tried to drive to the Crossroads shopping plaza, or the Hotel Plaza, you've been stuck in this mess.
International Drive and Sand Lake Road - Sand Lake separates the older, north end of I-Drive from the southern end. (It's where the Perkins is.) And all I-Drive traffic seems to get collected at this intersection at some point. (And that's a lot of traffic!)
Sand Lake Road and Turkey Lake Road - This is the intersection on Sand Lake on the other side of I-4. Once a simple intersection, the "back way" into Universal Orlando to the north and a Whole Foods/Walmart development to the south made this intersection a nightmare approaching its twin to the east.
International Drive and Universal Blvd. - On the northern end of I-Drive, this intersection's the home of Wet n' Wild, plus a huge amount of traffic heading into the Universal Orlando Resort. Unfortunately, Universal Express won't allow you to skip this line.
International Drive and Central Florida Pkwy. - On the southern end of I-Drive, this entrance to the SeaWorld theme parks also collects a lot of north-bound traffic heading into the Orange County Convention Center. And if there's an accident on I-4, everyone bails out here, clogging this intersection.
So, what's your pick? Tell us your traffic horror stories, in the comments.
And thank you for reading Theme Park Insider!
International drive seems to be the problem here.....
I work in traffic reporting for Orlando and let me tell you...we have an accident at 535 and Hotel Plaza several times per week. I see that one pop up on the screen so regularly, that it has become almost funny. Sand Lake and Turkey Lake is a close second, but 535 totally gets my vote.
As a Brit who has driven in Orlando, I have to say that the traffic is really not that bad. Or maybe its the fact that when I'm stuck in traffic here, I'm on my way to work, whereas in Orlando, I'm just happy to be there!! :)
I live in Orlando and even I dread I-Drive and Sand lake! What a nightmare...The worlds largest Mcdonalds(which is packed pretty much 24/7 + entry/exit to I-4 within the same vicinity= very confused tourists, crazy desperate/no sense driving because OMG they missed their turn due to paying attention to the gazillion other distractions on I-drive in that same intersection. Word of caution to those who have not traversed this area before, try to stay away and find some way around this madness or if you go towards this intersection its a tad better around 4 am.
As a local I would admit all of those intersections are bad, but also being a local you find different routes to avoid the tourist back up.
Thanks for those tips!
I agree with Gareth that you are better off taking Universal to bypass I-drive. There is less traffic and fewer stop lights. The worst intersection in my opinion is 436 and I-4. The lights are so slow you can fall asleep and at certain times of day the traffic is backed up to 17-92.
I chose I-Drive and Central Fla. What really makes that area a nightmare is a convention. If there's a convention in town I-Drive will be backed up from the convention center toward 528 on back to Sea World to Central Fla pkwy. One could easily spend an hours trying to make that 3 minute drive. Another way to avoid I-Drive would be to take John Young pkwy, it pretty much runs the same route as I-Drive. John Young does get a lot of traffic, but very few are tourist. It will take you from 417 and the Oceola pkwy to Sand Lake and beyond. Anything to avoid I-Drive.
I've driven a taxi for 10 years in the attractions area. Simple tip BE ALERT. A large percentage of the drivers are reading maps while driving. They been riding roller coasters and eating large amounts of sugar all day. Be very careful around wonder works and the Disney entrance signs. I've seen people stop in the middle of the road and get out and take pictures. We love our guests and with economy the way it is we can't afford to lose any of them.
Definitely I-Drive... all sections of it!!! Ughhhh. and of course, I-4 near the theme parks and ESPECIALLY when the parks close.
Hey Tourists! Your best bet is to book your stay at one of the resort hotels and stay there (and no, I am not an employee or marketing agent for one of the parks).
I vote for any I-4 any exit off of I-4. Anywhere between 192 and Lake Mary 20 miles the other side of downtown. Rush hour on the other side of town is far worse than the parks. The toll roads, if you can afford them, are generally pretty good though 408 and 528 can get a little ugly.
I've never had any traffic problems when driving in Orlando, but I only done so in October and late February or early March.
I live in the Dr Phillips area and work near Sand Lake and John Young. It takes me 30 minutes on a good day to drive the 8.5 miles home. On a bad day, no matter which route I take, Sand Lake to Apopka Vineland or Sand Lake to Universal Blvd to Turkey Lake to Conroy-Windermere or Sand Lake to Kirkman to Conroy-Windermere, it's at least an hour. When the big conventions like the PGA show, the Home Builders and travel Pow Wow are in town, I suggest sedatives before you get in your car, you will need them.
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