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Health Journalism 2017: Insider's guide on getting around Orlando


Naseem S. Miller

By Naseem S. Miller

The conference hotel is located southwest of Orlando, at the heart of city’s tourist area known as International Drive. It’s about 13 miles away from downtown Orlando. There are attractions, fun museums, shops and many chain restaurants nearby. But don’t count on walking everywhere. Central Floridians mostly get around with cars or buses, because the area is spread out and the weather is usually hot and humid.

Here are your options for getting around Orlando:

Trolley on International Drive: I-Ride Trolley

International Drive – mostly called I-Drive – is one of Orlando’s main tourist areas and you're right in the center of it. It’s walkable relative to other parts of Orlando. It also has its own trolley system called I-Ride, for which you can get one- to 14-day passes. Stop No. 22 is right in front of the hotel. Look for the shared bus stop. Visit iridetrolley.com for schedule.

Bus system: LYNX

Orlando’s bus system is called LYNX. For those staying in the International Drive area, the bus services can be used to travel to most attractions. It’s inexpensive, but using it takes some planning. Visit golynx.com for the schedule.

Car

If you’re comfortable following your GPS, the easiest way to get around Orlando is with a car.

Tip: SR 408 (East-West Expressway), SR 417 (Central Florida Greenway) and SR 528 (Beachline Expressway) have tolls. Some toll stations have an attendant, some take coins, some have both. All have an E-Pass lane, which you can zoom through if you have an E-Pass sticker or transponder that will automatically charge your account. Visit www.cfxway.com/for-travelers to calculate your toll.

Interstate 4 is Orlando’s main toll-free highway. However, it can be heavily congested during rush hours or due to an ongoing construction project.

Pedicab

Another way to get around International Drive is hopping on a Pedicab. Visit redipedicabservices.com for more info.

Taxi

There are several cab companies in Orlando. Visit taxifarefinder. com to get an estimate for the fees and taxi options.

Tip: Many taxis have started accepting credit cards, but some still ask for cash, so don’t forget to carry cash. Uber and Lyft also have services in Orlando.

Rail system: SunRail

Central Florida’s two-year-old commuter rail system is still expanding, but it can provide for a clean and quick transportation option in certain areas of Orlando. Visit sunrail.com for routes and schedule.

Biking

Orlando is still working on becoming bike-friendly. In touristy areas like I-Drive, it can be risky to bike. So if you want to bike for a workout, consider using the hotel fitness center instead. If you’re a serious biker, two safe and established biking trails in Orlando are Cady Way Trail and West Orange Trail.

Running and walking

If you decide to run or walk outdoors, be careful. Drivers are still working on learning to share the road, but in the meantime, please put your safety first. Again, for a workout, your hotel fitness center is the best option.

EXTRAS

Health emergencies

Central Florida is growing rapidly, so are its hospitals. But the nearest hospital to Rosen Centre Hotel is Dr. P. Phillips Hospital. There are several urgent care centers nearby, including Paramount Urgent Care and a few Centra Care centers.

Shopping

Popular nearby shopping destinations near the hotel – not in walking distance – are Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets, which is close to Florida Mall; and Orlando International Premium Outlets, which is close to Mall at Millenia. Of the two malls, Mall at Millenia is less touristy.

Excursions

If you decide to venture further from the hotel, about 20 miles into the city, pay a visit to Park Avenue on Winter Park, where you’ll find quite a few independent restaurants with outdoor seating.

The Morse Museum, which has a permanent exhibit of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s work, including his incredible chapel, is also on Park Avenue.

Another quaint area to visit for restaurants and shops is a stretch of Edgewater Drive in College Park, which is about 16 miles away from the hotel.

Getting a taste of theme parks without paying for a ticket

For a night out of eating, window shopping and entertainment, check out Disney Springs. If you’re a Universal Studios fan, try Universal CityWalk. Both are located near the main theme parks.