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Old 08-03-2014, 03:33 PM   #1
Karebear
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Need help understanding the tolls please

Hello

I haven't rented a car at MCO since probably 2010. Each car rental company that I have looked at offers a prepaid toll device (some charge quite a bit for it). We are going from MCO to Universal, then to WDW and then back to the airport. I really don't want the prepaid toll device. I would simply like to pay cash--I will be bringing quarters with me.

So, my questions are, can you still pay cash at the toll plazas? If so, can you still use quarters to pay? (I think that is what we did last time) Lastly, we will probably be renting from Dollar or Thrifty--will there be any problems in not having to pay for the prepaid device?

Thanks so much for any help!
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Old 08-04-2014, 12:09 AM   #2
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The toll programs and the service charges vary depending on the rental car company. Usually, the programs rely on reading the license plate number at toll locations, not on using a transponder. With most rental car companies at MCO, there is no "opt in" decision to use toll-by-plate. If you go through an electronic toll (on purpose or accidentally), you automatically "agree" to pay the toll and service charge.

For a comparison of rental car toll programs, see https://www.sunpass.com/rentalcar

For anyone who only drives from Orlando Int'l Airport to the tourist corridor and back, the easiest and cheapest solution is simply to pay two cash tells in each direction. Regardless of whether you use the northern route (528 to I-4) or the southern route (417 to exit 6), there are "Change-Receipt" toll booths available. This will avoid any rental car toll service charge. If your rental car company requires "opt in" or "opt out," you can safely opt out.

Just pay attention. The cash toll lanes can look somewhat like highway exits, so they're easy to overlook if you don't expect an exit for many miles.

There are no tolls along I-4, so, once you're in the tourist corridor, you can visit WDW, SeaWorld, Universal, and popular shopping destinations without tolls.

If you use toll roads to drive away from the tourist corridor, many smaller exits are not attended. You must use exact change or electronic toll payment. On the far southeastern edge of the Orlando-Kissimmee area, Florida Turnpike exit 240 is SunPass-Only. There may be others, but I don't recall seeing any. The exit sign will clearly show "SunPass-Only." The vast majority of tourists should never encounter such an exit for the time being.
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Old 08-04-2014, 09:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horace Horsecollar View Post
With most rental car companies at MCO, there is no "opt in" decision to use toll-by-plate.
There *is* an opt-in decision for Dollar/Thrifty. From the sun pass page linked above:
Quote:
Customer must either OPT-IN or DECLINE at time of reservation or at the rental counter.
Dollar-Thrifty has a particularly nasty version of this service, changing a $15 fee each time you go through a toll, if you did not opt in to their $8.99 per rental day (regardless of whether or not you use a toll).

National/Alamo/Enterprise have a much more reasonable program, charging $3.95 only on days you use a toll.
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Old 08-04-2014, 10:35 AM   #4
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My question then are there any non-toll roads out of MCO or Sanford airport to I-4? I mean, do you have to go on a toll road at some point? We are flying into Sanford this time and have to rent a car to get OKW. I'm trying to find a route from Sanford to I-4 without having to pay any tolls.
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Old 08-04-2014, 11:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickeygolf View Post
My question then are there any non-toll roads out of MCO or Sanford airport to I-4? I mean, do you have to go on a toll road at some point? We are flying into Sanford this time and have to rent a car to get OKW. I'm trying to find a route from Sanford to I-4 without having to pay any tolls.
Yes, you can drive from Orlando International Airport (MCO) or Orlando Sanford Airport (SFB) to WDW via I-4 without using toll roads.

When getting directions in Google Maps, click on "Route Options" and click the check box to avoid "Tolls."

Toll roads provide efficient routes and fast travel times with the lightest traffic. You may also save gas by avoiding indirect routes or stops and starts at traffic signals. I'll will gladly pay a few dollars for tolls to get to my destination more quickly and with less of a hit at the gas pump.

However, there are others on this forum who swear by toll-free routes.
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Old 08-04-2014, 11:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickeygolf View Post
My question then are there any non-toll roads out of MCO or Sanford airport to I-4? I mean, do you have to go on a toll road at some point? We are flying into Sanford this time and have to rent a car to get OKW. I'm trying to find a route from Sanford to I-4 without having to pay any tolls.
From SFB just take Lake Mary Blvd (this is the road you will get on as you exit the airport grounds). Follow Lake Mary Blvd west all the way to I4, then I4 west to WDW exits. No tolls on this route. Just follow the "to I4" signs.
Alternate toll route is Lake Mary to 417, 417 is toll but fairly quiet and runs almost directly to WDW. Look for the Orlando/Disney parks signs about a mile from the airport exit. I believe we paid $5-$6 in tolls last October on this route. Bring a roll of quarters and you should be fine.
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Old 08-04-2014, 11:34 AM   #7
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Oops double post
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Old 08-04-2014, 12:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horace Horsecollar View Post
The toll programs and the service charges vary depending on the rental car company. Usually, the programs rely on reading the license plate number at toll locations, not on using a transponder. With most rental car companies at MCO, there is no "opt in" decision to use toll-by-plate. If you go through an electronic toll (on purpose or accidentally), you automatically "agree" to pay the toll and service charge.

For a comparison of rental car toll programs, see https://www.sunpass.com/rentalcar

For anyone who only drives from Orlando Int'l Airport to the tourist corridor and back, the easiest and cheapest solution is simply to pay two cash tells in each direction. Regardless of whether you use the northern route (528 to I-4) or the southern route (417 to exit 6), there are "Change-Receipt" toll booths available. This will avoid any rental car toll service charge. If your rental car company requires "opt in" or "opt out," you can safely opt out.

Just pay attention. The cash toll lanes can look somewhat like highway exits, so they're easy to overlook if you don't expect an exit for many miles.

There are no tolls along I-4, so, once you're in the tourist corridor, you can visit WDW, SeaWorld, Universal, and popular shopping destinations without tolls.

If you use toll roads to drive away from the tourist corridor, many smaller exits are not attended. You must use exact change or electronic toll payment. On the far southeastern edge of the Orlando-Kissimmee area, Florida Turnpike exit 240 is SunPass-Only. There may be others, but I don't recall seeing any. The exit sign will clearly show "SunPass-Only." The vast majority of tourists should never encounter such an exit for the time being.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrnMtnMan View Post
There *is* an opt-in decision for Dollar/Thrifty. From the sun pass page linked above:
Dollar-Thrifty has a particularly nasty version of this service, changing a $15 fee each time you go through a toll, if you did not opt in to their $8.99 per rental day (regardless of whether or not you use a toll).

National/Alamo/Enterprise have a much more reasonable program, charging $3.95 only on days you use a toll.
Thanks so much for the info!
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Old 08-05-2014, 02:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horace Horsecollar View Post
Yes, you can drive from Orlando International Airport (MCO) or Orlando Sanford Airport (SFB) to WDW via I-4 without using toll roads.

When getting directions in Google Maps, click on "Route Options" and click the check box to avoid "Tolls."

Toll roads provide efficient routes and fast travel times with the lightest traffic. You may also save gas by avoiding indirect routes or stops and starts at traffic signals. I'll will gladly pay a few dollars for tolls to get to my destination more quickly and with less of a hit at the gas pump.

However, there are others on this forum who swear by toll-free routes.
I don't mind paying the tolls either. I'm just a little gun-shy with all the talk of hidden toll booths and rental car companies sending charges for missed toll booths for people who know they paid them. I don't mind the crazy route to avoid all that. Thanks for your help!!!
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Old 08-05-2014, 03:19 PM   #10
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Karebear, whatever rental agency you go with, just talk with them about the system they might have. If you don't want to use it, make sure they know this. If this requires them to turn it off, make sure they did that. We use Alamo and National and haven't had to have them do anything; it's just off, but if we went through the pass lanes I'm sure it would kick in.

Just because the cars HAVE the transponders doesn't mean you have to partake in them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickeygolf View Post
I don't mind paying the tolls either. I'm just a little gun-shy with all the talk of hidden toll booths and rental car companies sending charges for missed toll booths for people who know they paid them. I don't mind the crazy route to avoid all that. Thanks for your help!!!
Hidden toll booths? We drive all around the Orlando area and haven't seen a hidden toll booth.

Sometimes people will get a mistaken bill. Just contact the company. DH got one for a road he hadn't been on in NY or something; he contacted National, let them know he wasn't there, it was taken care of. Same in TX, but it turned out his coworker had taken the car on the road that day, so it was paid. No biggie.

Once DH got on a road by mistake near Animal Kingdom Lodge, it was an unmanned toll and DH had NO change...they had envelopes there with the address. He snagged one, we wrote a check for the tiny amount, and mailed it in. No issues at all, it never even hit National b/c we got them the payment so fast. Don't trust your GPS, that's the lesson there.


In the main areas in/around Orlando, you're not going to be surprised by a toll, and they aren't going to be hidden at all. Especially if you have a good navigator with you, and a driver who will listen to the navigator, it'll be fine. Whenever possible get in the lanes that are manned and give receipts.
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Old 08-05-2014, 04:02 PM   #11
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Dollar-Thrifty has a particularly nasty version of this service, changing a $15 fee each time you go through a toll, if you did not opt in to their $8.99 per rental day (regardless of whether or not you use a toll).
.
Clarification please! If I do not opt for their SunPass service, and I pay tolls with cash (and get receipts) will this still be true [with Dollar]? Or is the $15 only if you accidentally use a SunPass only toll???

I have a good rate with Dollar (and signed up with Express to bypass the Counter) but I am admittedly nervous about using them...

Thanks.
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Old 08-05-2014, 04:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickeygolf View Post
I don't mind paying the tolls either. I'm just a little gun-shy with all the talk of hidden toll booths and rental car companies sending charges for missed toll booths for people who know they paid them. I don't mind the crazy route to avoid all that. Thanks for your help!!!
I pay two tolls each way at a "change-receipts" toll booth with a human attendant, regardless of whether I take the northern route (528 to I-4) or the southern route (417 to exit 6).

I ask for a receipt, just in case there's ever a question of whether or not I paid the toll. I toss the receipts after each vacation because I've never needed them.

The added bonus with using a "change-receipts" lane is that you don't a pocket full of quarters. The attendant accepts paper money (or coins) and gives change.
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Old 08-05-2014, 04:28 PM   #13
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Clarification please! If I do not opt for their SunPass service, and I pay tolls with cash (and get receipts) will this still be true [with Dollar]? Or is the $15 only if you accidentally use a SunPass only toll???

I have a good rate with Dollar (and signed up with Express to bypass the Counter) but I am admittedly nervous about using them...

Thanks.
If you pay the tolls with cash and get receipts, there will be no penalty.
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Old 08-05-2014, 04:44 PM   #14
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Thanks, so you're saying there are no unmanned booths on 417 from Sanford to WDW, correct? If so, then I have no problem with using the toll roads. I've used them in the past but I've read so many of these extra charges posts regarding Budget, Dollar, and a few other rental companies, just a little gaurded I guess. Thanks for all your help!!!
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