Category Rank: 4
Park: "Rest of the World"
Park Rank: 11
Wow, we have already finished a quarter of our entries! We are moving quickly in some areas, and haven't even scratched the surface in others.
This entry hits two of those hardly scratched areas, as we have our first mode of transportation and our second entry from the "Rest of the World". There are, of course, many modes of transportation around Disney World from place to place. The design of WDW meant that moving tourists around its 43 square miles and managing parking would be critical. This meant the inclusion of onsite resorts and the inclusion of mass transit systems to shuttle people to the parks.
We mentioned earlier that there are probably 20 items on this list that everyone will agree with, 20 that many people will agree with, and 20 that few will agree with. As a spoiler, you can probably predict that the Monorail is on this list, being almost synonymous with WDW for years. This item, however, will come as a surprise, as it travels the same route as the monorail, but with less passengers and less fanfare.
The Gold Flag Launch water taxi takes passengers from Magic Kingdom to the Grand Floridian (docking on their beaches), and then to the Polynesian resort (likewise, its beaches), before returning to Magic Kingdom. The boat is an excellent place to relax and take in the beauty of WDW without the bustle. Being away from the parks, it is amazingly tranquil, and yet it is very useful (we often will visit those resorts either for shopping or eating).
My favorite time on the boat, and truly the sole reason this boat trip is on this list, happened during a trip I don't even consider official. Kristen and I were in Orlando with her sister for a few days (I was there for a conference). We didn't have time to spend a full day at a park, so we never went. But, we did a tour of "Free Disney", so to speak. We parked at Downtown Disney, did a bit of shopping, traveled on the boat ride up to Port Orleans Riverside and ate at the food court, took the buses to Magic Kingdom, and then the boat to look at the different resorts. There was a mishap, where we went to Fort Wilderness instead of Wilderness Lodge (we were young and naive back then), but were given a nice ride aboard a utility van over to the correct location.
The time on the boat was perfect, as we happened to be on during the fireworks show. The music from the show carried over the lagoon to the beach at the Grand Floridian, where we disembarked. It was all unobstructed, and comfortable (I hate sitting on the pavement for the castle show... sitting on the boat's benches was much better). Overall, it was quite an experience (for free).
We mentioned that Disney was all about themes, and one of its themes being old-time Midwest town relaxation. Sailing on that boat is one of the best examples of that, and every time we go on it, it is hard not to feel at home.
Speaking of "Rest of the World", we continue our stay with our 5th highest ranked resort next. This one is a newer location, and a place where we can eat smores... with giraffes.