Following a recent family trip to Disney, we thought it would be useful to share our experience of the issue with toll roads in Florida, also known as E Pass and Sun Pass, and how best to handle them. When we arrived at the car rental desk, we were offered the toll road package called Sun Pass. Simply put, we could pay an upfront fee and use the more convenient Sun Pass lanes at the tolls, avoiding the need to stop at the barrier and scrabble around for loose change to pay the tolls. All sounds great right?
The hitch however is the cost of the pass and whether it would offer value in both monetary terms and as importantly, time. We quizzed the car rental representative on whether we would need the pass, ie, were we likely to use any tolls? We told the clerk where we were staying (just off highway 192 near Disney resorts) and suggested we would be using the 192 and Interstate 4 for the 10 days to get to and from the Villa, Disney and Universal Studios with the odd trip to International Drive thrown in. The answer was a definitive YES, so all 3 drivers took the Sun Pass (at $104 per car) option.
Did we need the Sun Pass in Florida?
In short, no. We took one toll road, the 528 Beachline Express way from Orlando Airport (MCO) to Interstate 4, on to the 192 to the villa on the first night and despite covering over 1,000 miles in 10 days between all 3 cars, we didn’t see another toll until returning to the airport at the end of our trip. Whereas each car would have incurred a few dollars in tolls had we declined the Sun Pass and paid cash, we were over $300 down collectively. Admittedly the convenience of using the Sun Pass lane was useful, however quite a stretch to justify the fee! Upon returning the car, we raised the issue and the rental agent who was happy to refund the Sun Pass cost, less the admin charge (per toll used) of $15, so $30 in toll fees that would have actually cost under $5, but still a useful saving on the Sun Pass fee.
If you are renting a car from Orlando Airport
for a family holiday into Orlando / Disney and using Interstate 4 and highway 192, it’s very unlikely that you’ll need the pass and can make a good saving by declining.