Getting Around International Drive with the IRide Trolley
Published: 06/10/2012 05:48:52 PM
Visitors who arrive in theme-park-rich Orlando often have this iconic song in mind: "It's a small world, after all." But when they get there, all too often they find it's bigger than they thought. Getting from hotel to theme park to shopping center is no easy matter for tourists who haven't rented a car. Since 2004, the trolley has helped fill that transportation gap, shuttling tourists along Orlando's International Drive and saving their footwork for the attractions they came to see.
The cheery dark-green trolleys, which have smiling faces painted up front with headlights simulating chubby cheeks, operate 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily. IRide Trolley has a red line that goes north and south on International Drive, and a green line that travels the Major Boulevard business district and Universal Boulevard. Single fares are 1.25 dollar; seniors pay 25 cents and children ride free with adults. Multiday passes are available, although they are not sold on trolleys. On travel review websites, it draws mostly praise from tourists for its convenience and low fare. Although a few complain that trolleys are crowded, often standing room only, that's standard for a theme-park experience. So where, exactly, can you go on a trolley?
Mapping it out
The red line covers SeaWorld Orlando, as well as Aquatica, Prime Outlets Orlando and Orlando Premium Outlets, Pointe Orlando, Wet 'n Wild and Festival Bay Mall. Other attractions, such as WonderWorks and Ripley's Believe It or Not, also are on International Drive. The green line also covers Wet 'n Wild and SeaWorld, as well as other sites covered by the red line. Both the red and green lines go past the Orange County Convention Center. The big questions about the other big parks, though: Can you get to Walt Disney World? Can you get to Universal Studios and its Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Yes, but it's not necessarily easy.
Getting to Disney and Universal
Disney's Animal Kingdom is nearest among Walt Disney World parks to the trolley routes. Take the IRide trolley to SeaWorld Orlando, then transfer to a city of Orlando Lynx bus, Route 50. The Lynx bus continues to Downtown Disney. From there, transfer to Lynx bus 301, which will take you on to Animal Kingdom; it takes just over an hour and 15 minutes. For Universal Studios, take the trolley to Major Boulevard or the Wet 'n Wild stop. Then walk to Universal, or take the Lynx bus 8 north on I-Drive, or Lynx No. 37 across the street from Wet 'n Wild. Many hotels, however, have shuttles to the theme parks, so that might be a more convenient option for some tourists.
The history of I-Drive is directly linked to the birth of Walt Disney World. Disney World opened on Oct. 1, 1971. In early 1972, I-Drive opened as a link between Kirkman and Sand Lake roads. By the next year, 11 hotels with 3,000 rooms had sprouted on the drive. Wet 'n Wild, billed as the nation's first water park, opened in 1977. I-Drive's first T-shirt shop opened the same year. The first factory outlet mall, the county convention center, Universal Studios and more were to follow. Since the IRide Trolley began service in 1997, it reported 23.4 million trips as of 2010.
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