Yes, you could definately walk from the hotel. The space on the Mall is a bit deceptive, it’s like the opposite of forced perspective - everything is further than it seems. So having the circulator as an option is really convenient. At the end of the day, Uber to the hotel is also a possibility.
I never thought of it that way – you are right! Another way DC is the opposite of WDW!
There are soooooo many ways aren’t there? My Disney parks addiction is directly related to my need to escape the realities of DC!