Happy travels to all :)
I-Drive will always be a nasty congested parking lot during any peak season. Right now it can take 30 minutes plus to get from Wet'N"crappy to Sandlake. Once across its not so bad, unless there is a big convention in town, then you're pretty much screwed.
Ways to avoid I-Drive is to use Universal Blvd as much as you can. There are plenty of roads connecting the two.
You can also scoot along Turkey Lake from Universal to Disney, with just a small detour for Seaworld, and its generally quick and painless.This really helps bypass the i4 westbound, especially when the parks close around Universal and Disney, which can be very stop start.
And finally, for anyone staying on I-Drive, think about getting an I-Ride Trolley when out in the evenings, or heading to Seaworld. $1.25 gets you on (Free for Kids and Grandparents), with plenty of stops from Prime to Premium, including Seaworld and Aquatica. Daily, weekly and bi weekly passes are also available, saving you Gas/Cab money andit gives you some freedome to explore everything International drive has to offer.
ooooOooo here's one not mentioned. Have you ever gotten stuck on the road 408??? I got sooooo lost on that road when heading to UCF from the parks... and every freakin' exit has a toll of 50 cents. BAM! $4.00 gone quickly. At one point, my carmates and I jumped out of the car and were searching the ground for dropped quarters.
Locals know some routes to skirt around the mess. I for one will not share those detours with TPI readers as they won't be good ways to miss the traffic for us anymore!
I-drive always was and always will be a mess. Get used to it. Sometimes we like to park somewhere on I-Drive and walk it as it is an Orlando attraction on its own. One example is Pointe Orlando that has experienced a renaissance in recent years and will continue to thrive with the expansion and improvements of the Convention Center.
Locals and smart tourists do NOT use I-Drive as a means to commute, but if you are south of the I-Drive/Sand Lake intersection you can actually move pretty quickly to Sea World and Disney.
For the person who got lost on 408....Don't drive! There is only one exit for I-4 on 408 and if you can't figure that out......Just saying.
Every week 15 percent of the traffic changes in the attractions area and do not know the road. I-4 is really confusing for people as it is a North-South road through Orlando though accurately labeled East-West road overall.
The price of the toll roads drives lots of local traffic onto I-4 making it unbearable. You quickly spend 20-35 cents a mile for tolls on most of the toll roads. Three different agencies run the toll roads and each want their cut. Orange county and the state run different parts of the same toll roads.
Of the listed roads, I vote for I-drive and Sand Lake. There are ways around it with a good GPS. Use Universal Dr for North-South and either 528 or Kirkman for East-West.
I HATE the Sand Lake and Turkey Lake intersection with a passion. The only semi sane way I have found to get past it is to stay in the left lane westbound on Sand Lake until I get past Turkey Lake. If you stay in the right lane, forget it, you will be there for years and they will find you in your car one day like Rip Van Winkle.
A word of advice to all tourists, if you are going westbound on Sand Lake towards International Drive, stay out of the right lane, it will take you 3 times as long to get through that intersection mostly because of all the people walking across International Drive, daring you to hit them.