With thousands of people coming in and out of The Villages, Florida, you would think the transportation options would be plentiful. However, I have found that if you are not driving, it can get kind of tricky to get here and back.
Basically, you will need to fly into one of the local airports and either rent a car, or get a ride to The Villages. I have used both The Villages Shuttle, and The Village Airport Van to and from MCO, and would recommend either one. I must say, once you get your best route figured out, transportation gets much easier.
I keep hoping for a regular shuttle to Sanford Airport. They actually tried to do it, but the Sanford Airport would only let them drop people off, and would not allow them to "pick up" because it was not permitted. Sounds like the transportation companies already there did not like the idea. They will send a car for you but it is very expensive. Below is the Villages Transportation Shuttle at the drop off and pick up station at Lake Sumter Landing.
Unless you have your own private jet, the first option of course is to fly into MCO, some call it OIA, but the official Orlando International Airport code is MCO. As you know, there are hundreds of flights a day from all over the world coming in there.
It is a large airport with some tricky navigation routes, (you have to take a tram to another terminal), and use the escalator or elevator to change floors to either get your luggage, or fly out. You will also notice a million little kids since it is the closest to Walt Disney World, but that is OK, just expect several children on your flights (ear plugs might come in handy).
There are ample resources available there, like food, etc. There is even a Hyatt Regency Hotel (phone 407-825-1234) on the grounds if you need to stay over. I have stayed there, it is very nice and quiet, even though it is right near the Tarmac. It was great to be able to walk out the door, go down the elevator, and be at the security entrance. If you play your cards right, you can get a room for around $160 per night.
The greatest part about flying into MCO is that The Villages has a shuttle that goes back and forth 15 times a day! It's a nice ride, is parked as close to the door as you can get, and they are always on time.
After you deplane, follow the signs to baggage claim. You will be taking a tram to the other side of the airport to baggage claim. Get your bags, and from there you will go downstairs to the bus and public transportation area.
The Villages Transportation have centrally located slots #14, #15, and #18.
The charge for The Villages Transportation shuttle is $35.00 one way, or $70.00 round trip per person. Luggage, golf bags, and small pets ride free! Resident or not, they will drop you off at Lake Sumter Landing Station. It is a replica of an old train station to keep you out of the weather until you can be picked up. They will also take you from there to your home for $10 per household.
You could also choose to take a taxi to the house or hotel. Call them at 352-259-9398, or toll free 1-877-255-8756.
Another way to get to and from MCO (Orlando International Airport) is the Village Airport Van by Yellow Cab. You still have to navigate the airport, but it is nice to have choices concerning transportation.
After you deplane, follow the signs to baggage claim. You will be taking a tram to the other side of the airport to baggage claim. Get your bags, and from there you will go downstairs to the bus and public transportation area. If you have trouble walking, you may need a wheelchair to get to their pick-up slot. They are the very last space, I think it is #42.
They are $40.00 per person one way and will also drop you off or pick you up at your home or hotel. They will wait for you if your late night arrival is delayed, and seem to be very accommodating. My only concern is that sometimes they pick up and drop off other people from other communities on the same trip, so you have to leave very early since you do a lot of driving around.
In their defense, they are trying to keep the rate down with all of the expenses that go along with a small business. It is just hard to think about that when they are picking you up at 3 a.m.! They even have a Frequent Flyer Club, every 10th trip that you take the shuttle to the airport is free! Their phone number is 352-241-2000. Below is a picture of one of their vans.
Of course there are always Limo companies for transportation, etc, that you can hire for a price. I have never done it, but Limos.com will bring 4 people from MCO to The Villages for around $125.00, or 7 for around $225., as of September of 2013.
Seems pricey, but if you have several people, and could cram everyone's luggage and the mouthy one into the trunk, it might actually be cheaper and quieter! Their phone number is 1-866-546-6726.
For Option #2 Sanford Airport :