Concerning Development: Orlando Gains Undesirable Countrywide Ranking, Disney World Included

in Disney Parks, Walt Disney World

Cinderella Castle at Disney World's Magic Kingdom

Credit: Disney

If you are visiting Orlando or you are a local, there is one thing that you should know or already know, and that is that Orlando is not walkable by any means.

Statue of walt disney holding hands with mickey mouse, known as the "partners" statue, with cinderella castle in the background at a sunny disney theme park.
Credit: Becky Burkett

If you are visiting Orlando, there is no chance that you will be able to pull off the trip without having a rental car or using a ride-share. Even if you are planning on staying on Walt Disney World Resort property and using complimentary transportation like the Disney buses, the Disney Skyliner, the Monorails, ferry, and Friendship boats, you will still have to find a way to get to Disney from the airport, and, if you did not have transportation, there is no way you would be able to walk everywhere during your stay.

Universal Orlando Resort also has complimentary shuttles, but like Disney, you cannot just walk to where you need to go — and that goes for all of Orlando. In Orlando, there is constantly heavy traffic and with a majority of tourist destinations placed quite far apart, and a weak bus system, walking is out of the question for visitors.

Now, according to Orlando Weekly, “A new travel study has unsurprisingly named Orlando the least walkable city in the U.S.”

Preply conducted a study to identify the top tourist cities in the country for exploring on foot. This involved measuring the walking distance between the five most popular attractions in each major city.

The new study revealed a surprising fact: walking between Orlando’s top tourist spots would take over 11 hours!

The study mapped out a 31-mile route connecting five popular destinations: Universal Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios, Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Disney World’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and Discovery Cove. Incredibly, traversing this distance on foot would take a whopping 11 hours and 19 minutes.

A bustling night-time scene at a theme park with visitors strolling down the main street, lit by the glow of ambient lighting, with a fairy tale castle illuminated in the background, creating a magical atmosphere.
Credit: Inside the Magic

To offer a comparison, the study indicates that it would take slightly under 11 hours to fly to Disneyland Paris, highlighting the relatively short time it takes to complete the walking distance between the cities’ attractions.

Preply also shared the cost of a taxi ride between all of those locations. However, this total likely does not account for the bumper-to-bumper traffic that lives on the main highway, which is needed to transport guests between all of those locations: “If you’re still keen to explore Orlando’s top tourist hotspots, a local taxi ride would start at $2.90 and cost $1.90/km. Exploring the top five destinations would create a taxi cost of at least $70 (with a 36.85km driving distance between the five destinations).”

If you are planning on using ride-share programs, calling Uber or Lyft will likely save you money because the traffic in the city would only have a taxi meter for riding without movement.

According to the study, Chicago emerged as the most walkable city, with a stroll to its main landmarks requiring only 28 minutes. Conversely, cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles were identified as less walkable. In particular, Orlando stands out, boasting a more than five-hour advantage over the runner-up, Los Angeles.

Universal Orlando Resort entrance
Credit: marcsfc / Flickr

Sadly, this study is not very shocking as Orlando has always been known for its low walkability and bad traffic; Orlando Weekly highlighted, “Orlando’s un-walkability is nothing new. In the 2023 report “Foot Traffic Ahead,” ranking urban walkability in U.S. metropolitan areas, Orlando came in at 33 out of 35 cities analyzed. Not to mention, data from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles between 2019 and 2021 showed that Orange County is Florida’s third-deadliest for pedestrians.”

While shocking, it is true. As per a recent study commissioned by a group of personal injury lawyers, Orange County ranks as the third most hazardous county for pedestrians in Florida, with a fatality rate of 30%.

“Across Florida, 2,284 pedestrians were involved in fatal collisions from 2019-2021,” states a press release from the Schiller Kessler Law Group. “A total of 17 counties were higher than the state average of 34 pedestrian fatalities, with some areas proving more dangerous than others.”

Knowing this, guests visiting Walt Disney World Resort or Universal Orlando Resort should take extra caution when walking on the road, especially in heavy traffic areas.

Have you ever felt unsafe while walking in Orlando? 


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