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First Impressions of Orlando’s Highly Anticipated Brightline Station

Tickets connecting Miami to Orlando go on sale in May, with rides starting later this summer

Photo: Courtesy of Brightline

A week before the much-anticipated unveiling of the Brightline train station in Orlando, I landed at Orlando International Airport (MCO) from a business trip to Atlanta and traced the steps of a prospective passenger seeking a ride on the private high-speed rail that already connects South Florida destinations from West Palm Beach to Miami. Knowing the game-changing hub’s opening was imminent, I wanted to test how hard it would be to get from Terminals A or B to the train station in Terminal C.

I arrived after a brisk ten-minute walk and five-minute airport train ride, and noticed directional Brightline signs had begun to appear around the airport, ahead of the facilities’ April 20 unveiling.

That day, I drove from my home in Fort Pierce to Orlando for the reveal. Already a frequent Brightline customer—I took the West Palm train to Aventura just the previous day—I looked forward to seeing how the new station’s offerings stacked up against Brightline facilities in Miami, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, and West Palm Beach.

Once I reached Terminal C parking, I drove up to Level 5, where Brightline has reserved 350 branded parking spaces with direct access to the 37,350-square-foot facility adjacent to MCO’s new 80,000-square-foot Train Station.

The guest journey begins at the main entrance, located off the airport’s expansive two-story glass atrium. Once inside the station, passengers can purchase tickets from guest services or one of several self-service kiosks. They can also check luggage before proceeding through touchless turnstiles into the security screening tunnel. The Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach stations offer the same options on a smaller scale.

Once customers exit the futuristic security tunnel, Brightline personnel greet and direct passengers to the different amenities created with hotel hospitality in mind.

Like the company’s other stations, the hospitality-driven amenities at the Orlando station have been carefully curated by a team of experts led by Brightline President Patrick Goddard, a hotelier and F&B expert who previously worked in hotel development and operations for Hilton, Loews, and Rosewood Hotels. He was also founding partner of Trust Hospitality, an international hotel management and development company which was acquired by Highgate Hotels in 2020.

Mary Mary Bar serves hand-crafted cocktails and light bites. The signature sit-down bar is positioned at the far end of the station, offering a stunning panoramic view overlooking the train platforms where guests can watch as trains arrive and depart. Above the bar is a nostalgic nod to historic train stations: a split-flap message board which will provide updated train schedules, boarding times, news of the day and other announcements.

Guests will also have access to free high-speed Wi-Fi, charging stations at every seat, 87 big screen televisions, and a BrightKids children’s play area.

Mrkt Place provides convenient in-station shopping for last-minute gifts, including unique touches like Brightline train sets. A signature citrus scented Brightline candle gift now perfumes my office, and the unique scent reminds me of all the stations I’ve visited—and the ones I am looking forward to visiting in the future.