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Rail transport in Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

Trains of the Walt Disney World Railroad (foreground) and the Walt Disney World Monorail System (background) at the entrance to Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.
Yes, in one way or another I have always loved trains.
—Walt Disney[1][2]

Rail transport can be found in every theme park resort property owned or licensed by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, the theme park and vacation resort segment of the larger Walt Disney Company.[3] The origins of Disney theme park rail transport can be traced back to Walt Disney himself and his personal fondness for railroads, who insisted that they be included in the first Disney park, the original Disneyland (a key component of the Disneyland Resort) in California in the United States, which opened on July 17, 1955.[4][5] The Disney tradition of including transport by rail in its parks has since been extended to other Disney properties with the opening of Walt Disney World in Florida in the United States,[6] Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan,[7] Disneyland Paris in France,[8] Hong Kong Disneyland Resort in China,[9] and Shanghai Disney Resort in China.[10]

Each Disney theme park resort has a rail transport system serving its general resort area, whether it's a monorail system located inside the Disney resort properties in the United States and Japan,[11][12][13] or a conventional rail system connecting external rail networks to the Disney resorts in France and China.[14][15][16] The Disneyland Monorail System in California is notable for being the first monorail system to operate in the United States, while the Walt Disney World Monorail System in Florida, with an estimated 150,000 passengers each day, is one of the busiest monorail systems in the world.[17][18] Both Disney park resort properties in the United States, as well as those in Japan and France, contain theme parks that feature genuine steam-powered railroads.[19] The Disney park chain has one of the world's largest private collections of operational steam locomotives, with seventeen in total spread across the globe.[19] Additional rail systems within the theme parks in both United States resorts and the Hong Kong resort resemble steam-powered railroads, but their locomotives are powered by internal combustion engines.[20][21][22] Other rail transport modes found in Disney parks include horse-drawn streetcar rail lines in the parks within both resorts in the United States and the resort in France,[23][24][25] as well as replica vintage electric rail lines in the parks in California and Japan.[26][27]

The Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chain of theme parks is the largest on the planet by annual attendance with over 140.4 million visitors in 2016, and the rail systems located inside its properties play key roles as modes of transportation and as attractions for its visitors.[28]

Disneyland Resort

Name Location Image Motive power type Track gauge Opened Closed Notes
Disneyland Monorail System[11] General resort area[11] Disneyland Monorail System Electric
(busbar)[29][30]
Monorail[11] June 14, 1959[31] First operational monorail system in the United States.[17] Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark status.[32] Valid admission to Disneyland is required to ride this monorail.[33]
Disneyland Railroad[34] Disneyland[34] Disneyland Railroad Steam[35] 3 ft (914 mm)[36] July 17, 1955[35] Design inspired by Walt Disney's ridable miniature Carolwood Pacific Railroad and Ward Kimball's narrow gauge Grizzly Flats Railroad.[37][38] Temporarily closed in 2016 due to construction of the new Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge section of the park.[39] The line is scheduled to reopen on July 29, 2017.[40]
Main Street Vehicles[23] Disneyland[23] Main Street Vehicles Working animal[23] 3 ft (914 mm)[41] July 17, 1955[35][42] Besides the tramway with horse-drawn streetcars, non-rail, old-fashioned motor vehicles are also part of this attraction.[23]
Casey Jr. Circus Train[43] Disneyland[43] Casey Jr. Circus Train Internal combustion
(gasoline)[20]
2 ft (610 mm)[44] July 17, 1955[45] Based on the anthropomorphic locomotive character Casey Junior from the Disney 1941 animated feature film Dumbo[45]
Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland[46]
(formerly Rainbow Caverns Mine Train)[45]
Disneyland[47] Electric
(battery)[48]
2 ft 6 in (762 mm)[48] July 2, 1956[45] January 2, 1977[49] Replaced by the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad mine train roller coaster attraction[50]
Viewliner Train of Tomorrow[51] Disneyland[52] Internal combustion
(gasoline)[51]
2 ft 6 in (762 mm)[52] June 10, 1957[51] September 30, 1958[52] Replaced by the Disneyland Monorail System[52]
Jolly Trolley[53] Disneyland[53] Internal combustion
(diesel)[54]
3 ft (914 mm)[55] January 24, 1993[56] December 2003[57] The former line and ride vehicles are still present at the park as static displays.[53]
Red Car Trolley[26] Disney California Adventure[26] Red Car Trolley Electric
(battery)[58]
1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) metre gauge[58] June 15, 2012[59] Non-operating overhead wires are in place to recreate the appearance of a heritage streetcar line.[60]

Route diagrams

Disneyland Monorail System
Maintenance shed
(not open to public)
Disneyland
Steam train transfer
(via short walk inside Disneyland)
Downtown Disney
Disneyland Railroad
Roundhouse
(open to public during certain runDisney events)
Mickey's Toontown
Monorail transfer
(via short walk inside park)
Tomorrowland
New Orleans Square
Horse-drawn streetcar transfer
(via short walk inside park)
Main Street, U.S.A.
Bus transfer
(via short walk outside park)
Main Street Vehicles
(Disneyland)
Sleeping Beauty Castle
Central Plaza
Car barn
(not open to public)
Main Street, U.S.A.
Steam train transfer
(via short walk inside park)
Casey Jr. Circus Train
Roundhouse
(not open to public)
Fantasyland
Red Car Trolley
Car barn
(not open to public)
Sunset Boulevard
Hollywood Boulevard
Carthay Circle
Buena Vista Street
Bus transfer
(via short walk outside park)

Walt Disney World

Name Location Image Motive power type Track gauge Opened Closed Notes
Walt Disney World Monorail System[12] Magic Kingdom and Epcot resort areas[12] Walt Disney World Monorail System Electric
(busbar)[61]
Monorail[12] October 1, 1971[62] One of the world's busiest monorail systems with an estimated 150,000 passengers each day.[18] No purchase of any kind is required to ride this monorail.[63]
Walt Disney World Railroad[64] Magic Kingdom[64] Walt Disney World Railroad Steam[65] 3 ft (914 mm)[66] October 1, 1971[67] All four locomotives were purchased from the Ferrocarriles Unidos de Yucatán, but were originally built by Baldwin Locomotive Works.[68]
Main Street Vehicles[24] Magic Kingdom[24] Main Street Vehicles Working animal[24] 3 ft (914 mm)[69] October 1, 1971[70] Besides the tramway with horse-drawn streetcars, non-rail, old-fashioned motor vehicles are also part of this attraction.[24]
Fort Wilderness Railroad[71] Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground[71] Steam[71] 2 ft 6 in (762 mm)[72] January 1, 1974[73] February 1980[74] Numerous operational problems, poor design, and high costs led to the closure of this railroad.[75]
Wildlife Express Train[76] Disney's Animal Kingdom[76] Wildlife Express Train Internal combustion
(diesel)[21][66]
3 ft (914 mm)[21][66] April 22, 1998[77] Despite the dated and weathered appearance of the trains, they are actually brand-new models built by Severn Lamb.[78]

Route diagrams

Walt Disney World Monorail System
Maintenance shed
(not open to public)
Magic Kingdom
Disney's Contemporary Resort
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Transportation and Ticket Center
Disney's Polynesian Village Resort
Epcot

Express and resort services[79]
Resort service only
No passengers
Ferry transfer
Walt Disney World Railroad
Roundhouse
(open to public during special tours only)
Frontierland
Fantasyland
Horse-drawn streetcar transfer
(via short walk inside park)
Main Street, U.S.A.
Monorail, ferry, and bus transfers
(via short walks outside park)
Main Street Vehicles
(Magic Kingdom)
Cinderella Castle
Central Plaza
Car barn
(not open to public)
Main Street, U.S.A.
Steam train transfer
(via short walk inside park)
Wildlife Express Train
Rafiki's Planet Watch
Roundhouse
(not open to public)
Africa
Bus transfer
(via short walk outside park)

Tokyo Disney Resort

Name Location Image Motive power type Track gauge Opened Closed Notes
Disney Resort Line[13] General resort area[13] Disney Resort Line Electric
(busbar)[80]
Monorail[13] July 27, 2001[81] Fares are required to ride this monorail.[13] A transfer to Maihama Station, served by the JR East rail network's Keiyō Line and Musashino Line, exists via a short walk from the monorail's Resort Gateway Station.[13][82]
Western River Railroad[83] Tokyo Disneyland[83] Western River Railroad Steam[84] 2 ft 6 in (762 mm)[84] April 15, 1983[84] Used purely as an attraction and not for transportation purposes, as it only has one station[85]
Jolly Trolley[86] Tokyo Disneyland[86] Electric
(battery)[55]
3 ft (914 mm)[55] April 15, 1996[86] April 14, 2009[86] The former line and ride vehicles are still present at the park as static displays.[86]
DisneySea Electric Railway[27] Tokyo DisneySea[27] DisneySea Electric Railway Electric
(third rail)[87]
2 ft 6 in (762 mm)[87] September 4, 2001[88] Designed to recreate the appearance of a classic elevated railway line[87]

Route diagrams

Disney Resort Line
Train transfer
(via short walk from Resort Gateway Station)
Resort Gateway
Tokyo Disneyland
Maintenance shed
(not open to public)
Tokyo DisneySea
Bayside
Western River Railroad
Locomotive shed
(not open to public)
Stillwater Junction Station
(display only)
Adventureland
Bus and monorail transfers
(via short walks outside park)
DisneySea Electric Railway
Port Discovery
American Waterfront
Maintenance shed
(not open to public)
Monorail and bus transfers
(via short walks outside park)

Disneyland Paris

Name Location Image Motive power type Track gauge Opened Closed Notes
Gare de Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy[14] General resort area[14] Gare de Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy Electric
(overhead wire)[89][90]
4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge[91] April 1, 1992 (RER);[92]
May 29, 1994 (TGV)[93]
Served by commuter trains on the Réseau Express Régional rail network's RER A line, as well as TGV, Ouigo, and Eurostar high-speed trains[94][95]
Disneyland Railroad (Paris)[96] Disneyland Park (Paris)[96] Disneyland Railroad Steam[97] 3 ft (914 mm)[97] April 12, 1992[97] Originally named Euro Disneyland Railroad and its old initials, EDRR, are still visible in parts of the park[98]
Horse-Drawn Streetcars[25] Disneyland Park (Paris)[25] Horse-Drawn Streetcars Working animal[25] 3 ft (914 mm)[99] April 12, 1992[100] Unlike its counterpart attractions in other Disney parks, this tramway is a separate attraction from the non-rail, old-fashioned motor vehicles making up the Main Street Vehicles attraction.[25]

Route diagrams

Disneyland Railroad (Paris)
Locomotive shed
(not open to public)
Fantasyland
Frontierland
Discoveryland
Horse-drawn streetcar transfer
(via short walk inside park)
Main Street, U.S.A.
Train and bus transfers
(via short walks outside park)
Horse-Drawn Streetcars
(Disneyland Park (Paris))
Sleeping Beauty Castle
Central Plaza
Car barn
(not open to public)
Main Street, U.S.A.
Steam train transfer
(via short walk inside park)

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort

Name Location Image Motive power type Track gauge Opened Closed Notes
Disneyland Resort Line[15] General resort area[15] Disneyland Resort Line Electric
(overhead wire)[101]
1,432 mm (4 ft 8 38 in)[101] August 1, 2005[102] Run by the MTR rapid transit rail network along with the line's two stations: Sunny Bay Station and Disneyland Resort Station.[15] The former station is shared with MTR's Tung Chung Line.[103]
Hong Kong Disneyland Railroad[104] Hong Kong Disneyland[104] Hong Kong Disneyland Railroad Internal combustion
(diesel)[22]
3 ft (914 mm)[22] September 12, 2005[22] Unlike its counterpart attractions in other Disney parks where the trains are powered by steam, this railroad's locomotives are steam outline models, which are diesel locomotives with the outward appearance of steam locomotives.[22]

Route diagrams

Disneyland Resort Line
Siu Ho Wan Depot
(not open to public)
Airport Express
Tung Chung Line
MTR
Sunny Bay
North Lantau Highway
Sunny Bay Road
Penny's Bay Highway
Inspiration Lake
Magic Road
Disneyland Resort
Hong Kong Disneyland Railroad
Locomotive shed
(not open to public)
Fantasyland
Main Street, U.S.A.
Metro and bus transfers
(via short walks outside park)

Shanghai Disney Resort

Name Location Image Motive power type Track gauge Opened Closed Notes
Disney Resort Station[16] General resort area[16] Disney Resort Station Electric
(overhead wire)[105]
4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge[105] April 26, 2016[106] Served by Line 11 of the Shanghai Metro rapid transit rail network[16]

See also

References

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Bibliography

  • Amendola, Dana (2015). All Aboard: The Wonderful World of Disney Trains (1st ed.). Disney Editions. ISBN 978-1-4231-1714-8. 
  • Broggie, Michael (2014). Walt Disney's Railroad Story: The Small-Scale Fascination That Led to a Full-Scale Kingdom (4th ed.). The Donning Company Publishers. ISBN 978-1-57864-914-3. 
  • DeGaetano, Steve (2015). The Disneyland Railroad: A Complete History in Words and Pictures (2nd ed.). Theme Park Press. ISBN 978-1-941500-56-9. 
  • Leaphart, David (2014). Walt Disney World Railroads Part 1: Fort Wilderness Railroad (1st ed.). Steel Wheel on Steel Rail Studio. ISBN 978-1-5008-0522-7. 

External links