Comparing LAX and Orlando just doesn't seem fair. The questions should be the opposite "Is Orlando International now a better airport than LAX?"
LAX is in horrible condition. In comparison to other international airports, it is 20 years old. The road entrance is appalling. In busy times, the roads are completely congested especially off the 105 freeway. Mass transit is a minor problem when compared with the road conditions and routes. The concessions are just as bad. LAX hasn't kept up with the times.
LAX should not be looked upon as a destination airport. If you're coming from the Pacific region and on your way to the East coast, LAX is a connecting airport.
Airports are not for lingering. They need to get you to the destination as quickly as possible. LAX doesn't do its job as well as other airports.
Orlando does have some horrible wait times to get past TSA.
And now for the rant: Orlando could have had rail lines built, but if you recall some republican governor rejected the Federal funds to build rail lines and said no. No to progress, no to jobs, no no no…. (Might be a little bit prejudice and stuck in the 60’s in the south).
Oh nice write up by the way…
I used to think LAX was bad, with stale food choices and bad security. But they have been improving those things. I actually look forward to eating at Lemonade in the Delta terminal. The wait for security is always quick. And the entire terminal building is being refreshed: new carpet, new paint, new ceilings, etc.
If Orlando wants to continue to be the leader in global tourism, it needs an airport that keeps up with the times. I remember feeling like I had already arrived at Disney World when I got to MCO; now it makes me feel a bit sad.
While I have only flown into (and out of) LAX once in my life, it was a couple months after 9/11. Honestly, we had nightmares about LAX, about how bad security was going to be (since, on our trip out, the Providence airport had a 2 hour wait for security, so bad we missed our flight.) But, it was a very quick and easy experience. Now, that was 13 years ago, so a lot might have changed (I know Providence sure has, last trip we only had a 10-15 minute wait in security) but LAX was actually nice.
Orlando, however, is a nightmare. Their TSA line is still very unorganized, better than it has been in the past, but still pretty awful. That airport would be my least favorite one to flight out of if not for the absolutely dreadful Philadelphia airport, at least in Orlando they don't tell you the wrong gate to go to.
On the Fountain View Starbucks -
My wife is a huge Starbucks person (I am not, I think the coffee is a bit overpriced.) When we hit EPCOT last month, we hit that Starbucks and I was impressed. The service was quick and concise, possibly the fastest Starbucks I have ever seen (and I used to live outside Seattle.) So, I think I agree with Mr. Niles on that.
I was at MCO in early December and my mother and I, not my husband, were selected for pre-screening. We checked in at Saratoga Springs and received this designation on our ticket. My mom and I were ushered into a specific line and did not have to take off our shoes or any of the crazy stuff we often have to do at TSA. We were out in 5 minutes even with it being the same line as airport employees (who got to cut in line). My husband was a good 15 minutes behind us in the regular line. I always thought it was strange that the retail at MCO was BEFORE TSA.
I rarely have to use TSA at LAX because it is a connecting airport for us. I cannot make that comparison. We live near Reno and we cannot go ANYWHERE directly. If I am not driving to Disneyland (which we mostly do), then we usually choose Burbank or Orange County instead. Small, rarely used airports are what we prefer.
I do love Orlando's open atrium and glass, though.
Other than that, it's been over 10 years since I've been to LAX. Literally the only thing I remember were palm trees inside the airport that were half dead, some without any palm fronds at all. I'm sure it's better these days.
As for MCO, I think it's a beautiful airport. But very badly laid out and poorly planned. I still can't figure out why all of their good stores and restaurants are prior to the TSA screening. That's completely backwards.
I get through TSA in Indy in 5 minutes but am lucky to get through Orlando in 20. Then again, Indianapolis has a new airport, built from scratch after 9/11, so it was built with the new requirements in mind.
I can't understand how Orlando airport, in the land of theme parks, can't figure out how to manage a queue. The first time I was there, the line through TSA wasn't really a queue, but more of a funnel with no help from anyone working there. The last time I was there, I was lucky to fly first class. If it wasn't for an amazing ticket agent, I would have never found the entrance to the first class TSA line on my own.
LAX services the second largest city in the United States. They should be one of the best airports in the entire country. I know New York and Chicago aren't always the greatest, but they seem to have their act together.
Orlando is bad and will always be bad due to security screening. I swear, they check and hassle customers more than I have ever at O'Hare and Midway in Chicago. They check on things that I have been carrying the entire trip.
Can somebody explain why TSA is such a nightmare at Orlando?
Of course now I have just completely jinxed my run of luck haven't I...
Why is TSA so bad in Orlando as someone who flies out of their weekly:
One the line is ridiculous and TSA preferred and Clear need to end especially in Orlando. Yes it is form of Fast/Express Pass for Airports but in this instance it creates a dedicated line that can not be accessed by others, therefore creating unneeded delays.
Secondly Orlando has probably the highest number of children flyers which do take longer to get through security
It also has many novice flyers...it seems every time someone has sun tan lotion in their carry on or an ipad in their carryon or guns from a theme park.
The other nightmare to Orlando's design is the layout is for a 365 days a year but it needs the volume for 3 months plus 1 week
Also the reason for light rail not being included had nothing to do with federal Funds it was more tied to Disney not wanting to cede an advantage via Magical Express and the Big 3 Theme Parks arguing over the route
The problem lies with many things. Here is my last experience at LAX.
I was greeted with a 1.5 hour line at Passport Control. After a 15-hour flight from Australia, and then also followed by another 50-min wait for security to fly on to MCO, this is not what you wish to find. Then, as a tourist on a visa waiver program, you are scrutinised at what you will be doing in the US, suitcases searched, finances torn over, it's most uninviting for a one-week stay and I was really made felt like I was guilty of something entering the US. So much so, that I now sadly only fly to the US if I absolutely have to. I now make all my Disney and Universal trips to Asia or Europe, just because on holiday, I want the whole holiday to be a pleasant experience.
MCO seemed ok when we ent in early December.
The idea of Vegas being the west coast hub is an interesting one, which I think I'd like. It wouldn't be much longer a flight and a new purpose built facility would be great.
Disney has little comment in public but behind the door they are fully aware and extremely competitive.
I have visited and literally lived at both parks thru my career. Disney's research, storytelling, and understanding of human behavior are stellar. Universal uses of new technology and new themed thrills is reaching new peaks. Universal's team has allot of past Disney cast members working for them. Only good things for the fans and guests!
Disney grabs a younger guest early and then gets the next generation to continue passing it on. They are good at trapping the foriegn tourist. Universal is sort of new to the true themed story ride and for sure having great success.
Disney World maybe behind in new attractions but it is not due to the great creative team they have. Something's were made with purpose for instance crowd control or logistics. Others were made so far in advance it is taking time to get to some of the more exciting stuff and budget right now. Disney parks success will allow the creatives to continue to dream more wonderful family attractions.
Universal recent success will allow for more awesome themed thrill rides that the thrill seekers enjoy! Either way it's a great future ahead for the theme park fan!
As I said I have worked and visited both too many times to count. I have worked in the park and in creative roles for both on staff and subcontractors. I would give the edge of new attractions to Universal but the place for families to meet and play is still Disney!