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A family trip to Orlando is likely comprised of long days of fun, miles and miles of walking, lots of lines and meals with Disney characters. After all that, the odds are pretty high that by the time you get back to the Orlando International Airport (MCO) to head home, everyone is fully spent. (As is your vacation budget.) This is the perfect time for an airport lounge visit. That’s doubly true if you are delayed in a notorious afternoon Florida thunderstorm or you take the free Disney Magical Express Bus back to MCO since Disney assigns you a bus departure time that usually leaves you with hours to kill at the airport.
While MCO unfortunately doesn’t have any Priority Pass eligible restaurants or a fancy Amex Centurion Lounge, there are two similar lounges you can access with just your Priority Pass membership. In Terminals A and B, you will find similar lounges, both called “The Club at MCO”. In these Priority Pass lounges you won’t find a pool like you can in Punta Cana, but there are free snacks, beer and gummy bears for the taking.
Priority Pass Select membership works differently based on which rewards credit card triggered the membership. With The Platinum Card® from American Express or Chase Sapphire Reserve, you get two included guests, while cards such as the Ritz Carlton Reserve or Citi Prestige can give you even more guests. Read more about which Priority Pass membership is best.
At these two Orlando lounges, kids under 12 are free, so your family might easily all get in on one membership even if you are capped at two included guests. We visited the Club at MCO in Terminal A, located near gates 1 – 29. While things can and do change, this puts the lounge near the gates for our Frontier flight.
Check-in at the Club at MCO in Terminal B was friendly and quick and we were quickly in the door and in search of a spot to relax and charge our phones before flying home on Frontier (thanks to its Kids Fly Free promo).
Mid-afternoon on a Tuesday in July had the lounge pretty busy, mostly with families. After a little searching, we were able to find a few chairs together.
The advertised kids’ play area that had us initially excited about the lounge is … small. Basically, it is just a couple chairs and a gaming console.
Servers come around the lounge to ask if you would like anything, and to help keep kids (or adults) from playing their devices too loud without headphones. We saw that happen more than once on our 30-minute visit to the lounge.
The Club at MCO has a small buffet area on the far end of the room that featured a few types of sandwiches, a salad bar, soup and what is sure to be the kids’ favorite, a candy bar.
What’s better than free gummy bears and M&M’s? The rest of the food looked like it would work in a pinch, but wasn’t something I would seek out.
You also can grab yourself a Coke, Sprite or Diet Coke from the fridge.
Adults can skip all that head to the real bar. Here you can order up beer, wine or a mixed drink. We didn’t need any of those on our visit, but were told they were included at no extra charge.
Within the lounge are a couple of private bathrooms and even a shower.
That’s all the good news — now here’s the bad news. Not surprisingly, the lounge appears to be heavily used. The furniture and carpet weren’t in the best condition and Priority Pass members may get waitlisted for entry during peak times. The staff did their best to keep up with the needs from what we could tell, but the heavy utilization rate lent itself to all of the issues that come along with that, such as noise, a bit of mess and limited seating.
Being able to pop into a lounge at MCO for a “free” drink and snack is super convenient, so give the Club at MCO a chance if you can get in at no extra charge thanks to a Priority Pass membership on one of your credit cards. That said, I wouldn’t go out of my way to traverse the airport to find the lounge, nor would I recommend getting to the airport intentionally early for a visit. Also don’t be surprised if the lounge is temporarily at capacity if you are traveling during peak travel times.
Lounge alternatives at MCO include: Delta SkyClub in Terminal B (accessible with your Amex Platinum and same-day ticket on Delta or a Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express), American Airlines Admiral’s Club in Terminal B (accessible with a Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard) and a United Club in Terminal B (accessible with a United Club Card). In Terminal A there’s another Club at MCO and a USO Lounge.
All photos by author.
Story was updated to reflect that this particular lounge is closest to Gates 1 – 29 in Terminal B.
Know before you go.
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