Have you been curious about Orlando International Airport’s (MCO) swanky $2.8 million, 1.2 million-square-foot Terminal C? The one that opened to great fanfare and reviews in September 2022 and which offers towering “Forever Trees” and a series of giant immersive multimedia experiences and installations?
Or have you been wishing you could be waiting at the gate to welcome a friend or family member landing at Orlando International or have more time to spend with someone before they leave Orlando and head out on their flight?
Now’s your chance.
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Over the Labor Day holiday, Orlando International Airport rolled out the Experience MCO Visitor Pass, which gives Terminal C access to up to 50 non-ticketed visitors per day.
Those who want to visit the terminal may apply online up to seven days in advance or take their chances and wait until the day when they want to visit. The application form requests basic personal information, including date of birth, gender and full legal name exactly as it appears on your Transportation Security Administration-approved photo ID.
Once your application is filed, the TSA will review the request and send an approval status email after midnight on the day of the requested visit. Same-day applications are allowed, and the TSA promises to send an approval status email within 15 minutes.
Approved non-ticketed visitors will get a digital pass via email and must present it in digital form — no paper printouts allowed — along with a photo ID, at the Terminal C TSA checkpoint between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on the approved date. Passholders will be sent through the same security screening procedures as ticketed passengers and must exit the terminal by 8 p.m.
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Officially a pilot program for now, airport officials see the Experience MCO Visitor Pass Program as a “new and engaging way” to help the non-traveling public explore the unique amenities in Terminal C.
In addition to the immersive digital art installations, Terminal C’s amenities include more than 20 food and beverage options, including Orlando Brewing Bar & Bites and Sunshine Diner by Chef Art Smith. Retail outlets include City Arts Market, featuring work by local artists, and branches of souvenir-filled gift shops for Orlando-area theme parks, including Walt Disney World, SeaWorld and Universal Orlando.
Other airports with visitor pass programs
While MCO’s new visitor pass program will (for now) only allow non-ticketed passengers to request a day pass to visit Terminal C, other airports around the country offer visitor pass holders access to all areas that are open to ticketed passengers.
Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT), the first airport to offer a visitor pass program, and Tampa International Airport (TPA) both paused their popular visitor pass programs during the COVID-19 pandemic and have not yet restarted their programs. But here is a list of the airports currently offering day pass programs for non-ticketed visitors. (Let us know if we’ve missed any).
New Orleans: The MSY Guest Pass Program at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) is available seven days a week. Fifty visitors a day are allowed Monday to Friday; 100 visitors a day are allowed on weekends.