Walt Disney World Airport? By Mike Mozena

October 3, 2014


Walt Disney World Airport?
By Mike Mozena

If you’re like me, you might have wondered why in the world there isn’t an Airport actually at Walt Disney World. It always seemed strange to me that there wasn’t one there, even with the close proximity of Orlando International Airport (MCO). Well, being into all things strange and little known about Disney (thus the trivia interest that you all know I have), I decided to dig into this a little deeper.

Surprising enough, Walt Disney World did have a STOLport. What in the world is a STOLport you might ask? By definition a STOLport is a small airport specifically designed for Short Takeoff and Landings as opposed to what you would see at conventional airports like MCO. STOL aircraft require shorter runways and have steeper paths to land and take off from. The crafts using these also have slower cruising speeds to accomplish this. The amazing part to me is this STOLport still exists today!

Many of you may be wondering why you haven’t 1. Heard of this airport, 2. Why you haven’t seen planes flying in and out of the STOL port, and 3. Where exactly it is being it is still in existence.
Now, before all you people who know how to fly go looking this up, you won’t find it listed on any active airport listing! It hasn’t been listed since the early 1980’s. It was built in 1971 to serve as a private STOLport for Walt Disney World guests and employees. The runway was only 2000 feet long and about 100 feet wide. It was only large enough to hold four aircrafts at any one time and had no hanger space at all. It was known on the IATA as DWS but was commonly called Lake Buena Vista STOLport.


Scheduled passenger service did occur for a number of years when it was active. The passenger service was provided by Shawnee Airlines, using Haviland Canada DHC-6 twin otter aircraft. They ran daily service between Tampa International Airport (TPA) and the Orlando Jetport at McCoy (MCO) which we know as Orlando International Airport today (I’m sure you all realized that when you saw the call letters though!), to Disney World.
There has been no service to Disney World since the early 80’s. Being it was a proof of concept idea for a planned larger airport on Disney World property, the idea didn’t take hold and the idea was later rejected in favor of a larger airport in Disney World, which hasn’t happened as of this point in time so I’m assuming the idea has died for at least the near future.

Today the STOLport is used as a Helipad for medivac helicopters if someone needs transported quickly to one of the local hospitals, and also as a driver training area for firefighters learning to drive the larger fire equipment. It can also be used for special event parking or over flow cast member parking. Sometimes it is even used as Bus Parking or an area to stage storage containers, or construction equipment.

Now before you get into thinking you can make an emergency landing there, well you can do that, but I have some bad news for those of you who might want to try it. As a few pilots have found out and reported ONLY Walt Disney World VIP pilots may fly out! All others have to disassemble their plane and truck it out! (to me this seems a bit extreme but I hear it has really happened).

Oh, and I almost forgot, where can you find this STOLport that still exists today? It is visible from the monorail as you travel from Magic Kingdom to EPCOT, on the right hand side as you near the TTC and just a little ways past the toll plaza for Magic Kingdom. It is also visible on World Drive as you travel to Fort Wilderness.
Ok, I had to put one little interesting pilot trivia thing in here, wouldn’t be me if I didn’t’!
Do you know what the approach paths are called or arrival at Orlando International Airport (MCO)? I won’t make you guys wait for this one they are called GOOFY TWO and MINNIE TWO.

I hope you all enjoyed reading my first ever article for TMSM, now I’m off to find something else to write about and hopefully I get the next one done before four years passes!

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One thought on “Walt Disney World Airport? By Mike Mozena”
  1. Great article. We were aware of it but really enjoy the history of it. I think it’s great that some (entitled) pilots think they can fly in there but have to disassemble their planes to fly out. We don’t think that’s extreme — can’t imagine the confusion and danger if it happened all the time. Marty Sklar mentions it in his Dream it! Do it! book (which I loved and would recommend for those who like the history of Disney).

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