Many of us begin our lives playing with model trains, planes and cars, not to mention boats come bath or beach time. In fact, some of us never lose that fascination with things that go. We have favorite cars (even whole sports built around them) and dreams of exploring the two-lane roads of America on a motorcycle. We romanticize a time when grand riverboats were the queens of the Mississippi and envision an empty, open sky into which we might soar. Not all in one day, generally speaking, but this is Orlando. Magic things can happen.
Hog heaven in Downtown Disney. — Photo courtesy of Orlando Harley-Davidson
Begin your exploration of transportation with a visit to Orlando Harley-Davidson in Downtown Disney where the sounds of the road (in the form of V-twin engines) greets you at the door. Inside awaits enough gleaming chrome and alluring custom paint to seduce the most ardent homebody, but if that rugged, own-the-road sensibility doesn't melt your reserve, the custom murals, motorcycle-inspired sculpture and interactive activities may warm you enough to consider creating your own custom vest. Or at least buy a tight, black logo tank top before heading out for lunch on the water.
A riverboat runs through it: grab lunch or dinner at Fulton's in Downtown Disney. — Photo courtesy of 2003, THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY
With stone crab season right around the corner, time is ripe to visit Downtown Disney's grande dame, the ornate, whimsical riverboat hull of Fulton's Crab House. Enjoy a lobster/shrimp roll or crab cake BLT in its nautical dining room or on one of three beautiful outdoor decks where you can enjoy the sparkling lake or people watch as the happy hordes head out on Hidden Mickey patrol. You might even consider visiting for dinner so you can stargaze while perusing the 2,000-plus-bottle wine list of this eleven-time Wine Spectator award-winning venue.
Sated? Have a bit of a walk around Downtown Disney and digest. If you're traveling with children, head over to the Marketplace Train and give them a spin 'round the track on the old-time locomotive ($2 a ride, accompanying adults can ride free) before wowing everyone with a bird's-eye view of O-Town. Air Florida Helicopter Charters offers ten different tour packages ranging in price from $25 to $350 per person. Soar over SeaWorld, Gatorland or the breathtaking Orlando cityscape, or splurge on a once-in-a-lifetime nighttime viewing of EPCOT's glorious fireworks show from 1,000 feet. Don't forget your camera.
NASCAR Sports Grille raises the green flag for food and fun for race fans. — Photo courtesy of NASCAR Sports Grille
If air travel doesn't rev your engines, the excitement of professional racing just might. Come dinnertime, head to Universal CityWalk for a visit to the NASCAR Sports Grille. Big-screen TVs abound, so if you're looking to catch a specific game, you'll likely get lucky. Despite the theme, this is an equal-opportunity sports bar. For kids or gamers, an upstairs arcade helps the mealtime wait breeze by even as it fuels sibling rivalry, and whether you're into NASCAR or not, you can pick up something for the Gordon and Earnhardt fans back home in the gift shop.
The best part? Assuming all the local motion hasn't worn you out, the nighttime spoils of CityWalk (movies, bars, dance clubs, live music) await just steps from dinner's finish line.