(Not a Definitive Guide, Being the Limited Experiences of one Chrissie Mains, Cosmetics Junkie)
Just in case anyone else is interested in doing some shopping during the conference and is wondering how to get around Orlando without a car, I thought I might as well post some of my own research into public transit and Orlando malls.
The public transit system in Orlando is called Lynx (links, get it?) and their website is GoLynx.com. There’s a useful transit map, as well as schedules and route maps to help you to plan your outing.
A very useful Lynx route #42 runs from Orlando International Airport to the Premium Outlets Mall, passing through Prime Outlets Mall and the Florida Mall on its way. Since the hotel is so close to the airport, it’s easy for those staying at the hotel to catch this bus and visit not only those shopping destinations but also other places on International Drive as well as connections to other bus routes going to downtown Orlando and to Walt Disney World (it also passes by Sea World, but that’s not shopping, is it?).
To catch the #42 bus, leave the hotel’s front entrance, walk around the lovely water feature (apparently called Lake Lorri, according to Wikimapia), and north on Augusta National Drive to the first major intersection; turn left onto T. G. Lee Blvd, and continue west to the major intersection with S. Semorran Blvd. You’ll want to be on the north side of the intersection, so that when you cross S. Semorran, you end up at the bus stop across the street from T.G.I. Friday’s. For a visual aid, go to the following Wikimapia link, where I have outlined the Bus Stop:
Here’s a link to the schedule and route map for #42, in pdf format:
Use the airport timing point, since it doesn’t take that long for the bus to get from the airport to this stop. The bus runs every 30 minutes. The fare is $2.00 each way, but you can apparently purchase a weekly pass for $16. The return #42, on its way to the airport, will turn the corner right in front of T.G.I. Friday’s, so you’ll only have to walk across the intersection to be on your way back to the hotel.
The Florida Mall is about 20 minutes from the stop. The bus will stop for about 5 minutes in a bus area right by the parking lot, so don’t worry about where to get on or off. The Florida Mall is a huge mall, with six department stores and a whole lot of other stores (including a Sephora!), with Target right across the parking lot. There are also a number of restaurants there, both food court and nice sit-down places. Here’s a link to the mall’s website:
And here’s a Wikimapia view:
You can see the Target in the top right corner, and I’ve labelled the bus stop area to the left of the JC Penney’s.
If you just want a relatively stress-free shopping afternoon, Florida Mall is probably your best bet, as it’s not a long bus ride and there are no connections necessary.
If you stay on this bus for another 30 minutes, you’ll end up at Prime Outlets (I haven’t done that yet, but it’s on the books for this year). And if you take it to the end of the line, another 30 minutes or so, you’re at Chelsea Premium Outlets. I did do this last year, and while it’s nice enough, I’m not sure it’s worth ending up on a bus in rush hour traffic. But if you want to try it out, here are their websites:
I also plan to transfer to route #50 at Sea World, in order to get to the Cirque du Soleil show La Nouba at Downtown Disney World. This route also ends up at the Transportation and Ticketing Center for Walt Disney World, and it looks like it travels much of the route on I4 and thus doesn’t stop often; at any rate, the timetable claims it can travel between the downtown Orlando station and Downtown Disney World in about 45 minutes. If you really want to do Disney World, there are probably easier and faster ways to get there, of course.