A professional conference took us to Orlando in January, a welcome change from New England’s winter. The conference took place at one of the hotels near Disney World, and I found the area well set up for walkers and those hoping to use public transportation.
While I didn’t see much of the fabled theme parks of Disney, I was able to try out their people-moving infrastructure. Sidewalks and an elevated walkway brought me to Disney Springs after a very easy walk alongside several of the area’s hotels. Disney Springs itself offered both gently sloped walkways and a few steps with sturdy handrails to navigate through the area. Lots of shopping is available, but musical concerts, musicians playng jazz, and others offering group games also add to the atmosphere.
A high school band offered a free, live concert next to the lagoon at Disney Springs. Shops and food vendors provided lots of intriguing items to add to the experience of visiting Disney World.
I was most tempted by the display of tiaras, but decided my social life did not justify having a tiara at the ready.
We returned to Disney Springs at night and were startled by an erupting volcano across the water. Impressive both by sight and sound, everyone around us stopped to gawk for a minute at the eruption. But since no impending doom followed, we soon resumed our walk thorugh the area.
The Lego Store offered both sea serpents and dragons, but neither belched fire while we were there.
I spent another day with friends trying out Disney’s new gondola system, fun, and effecient people movers that carry large numbers of folks from one resort area to another. It was a chilly day by Florida standards.
The elevated gondolas offer a bird’s eye view of the areas we traveled over. Helpful folks waited at each stop to assist folks into and out of the gondolas. When we were puzzled about where we were going, more helpful folks pointed us in the direction we needed to go.
We rounded out the trip with a short boat ride through wide canals that finally returned us to where the bus has brought us, the beginning of the gondola station. All the buses, gondolas and boats are people movers, free of charge. The temptations to spend money are plenty, for sure. But if you are simply looking for great places to walk, you will find lots of those as well. Happy trails!
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed. She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20 years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veteran’s oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress.