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Possible Monorail expansion at Disney World

Walt Disney World: Could it be?

From Mark Fairleigh
Posted April 5, 2012 at 11:23 AM
According to one source, Disney is ruminating on expanding it's monorail system.

Imagine all of the parks and resorts connected by monorail. Is this possible? I don't see why not. Yes, it will cost lots of money to implement, but you can scrap the bus system once it's completed and transfer those funds to the monorail system.

Just seems like something that should have been in place already.


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Skipper Adam
Posted April 5, 2012 at 11:30 AM
According my me spouse who worked in Monorails at Disney, there have been countless plans for the expansion of the monorails. I agree that it makes sense considering the Bus Union, aging buses, ricing gas prices, increase of bus accidents etc. However the probable layout will be that the TTC would be more or less moved to Epcot, and a line would connect DHS and DAK from there. Guest would have to take buses to the nearest park and from there take the monorails to the parks. If I had my way, I'd use a Peoplemover system instead of buses.

However, I guess my thought is these rumors aren't so new.

From Dominick D
Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:34 PM
A peoplemover monorail would be awesome.

From Mark Fairleigh
Posted April 5, 2012 at 4:49 PM
A peoplemover system combined with a monorail system would be fantastic.

From N B
Posted April 5, 2012 at 6:05 PM
Connect all the Disney parks via monorail and give me a paid version of barge-to-the-front-of-the-line access and I'm in....

From Justin M
Posted April 6, 2012 at 5:24 AM
I dont think the people mover system would have a high enough capacity and speed compared to the monorail. This would be great idea, they would still have to keep the busses though just not as many of them.

From Tim Hillman
Posted April 6, 2012 at 6:40 AM
Couldn't help yourself, could ya, NB? You just had to remind all of the Disney fanboys once again of all of the expectations that Disney is failing to meet. You've got my support, because I think that you are starting to have an effect on the Kool-Aid drinkers.

There's only one resort in Orlando where you get great options like what you want, and it sure isn't Disney World.

Going to Disney World and staying in one of the resorts on the monorail is like paying for a first class seat on an airplane and then having to sit in coach. About the only advantage for paying a premium price for a so-so room is the convenience of the monrail and a few "extra magic" hours. Whoo-Hoo! That gets me motivated to drop a few thousand extra bucks at Disney World.

From Tim W
Posted April 6, 2012 at 6:48 AM
It would be pretty awesome actually to get around by monorail, and not by bus to every park and every resort. The only issue I could see is the possibility of having to transfer multiple trains to get from say Magic Kingdom to the All Stars Resorts.

From Tim Odom
Posted April 6, 2012 at 7:43 AM
I would love for there to be added Monorail access, as I kinda hate the bus system. In fact, when I have stayed in resorts with other ways to get into the parks (like when I stayed at the Boardwalk and took the boat to DHS.)

However, this seems like a pretty big project. I would rather have them give the parks the TLC they need than to add this. Yeah, the busses suck, but I would rather have the parks continue to improve.

From Nick Markham
Posted April 6, 2012 at 9:36 AM
The only problem I see with a monorail expansion is the cost. It had cost $1 million per mile to build... in 1970. Can't imagine the cost today, in this economy...

From Skipper Adam
Posted April 6, 2012 at 11:20 AM
Nick, when adjusted for inflation, the cost is lower. Back then, those were unique beams and one of a kind train. Monorails and mass transit has because a little more mass produced. Manafacturing those beams cost a fraction of what it was with modern concrete production. There are several companies that make monorails now, so trains wouldn't have to be designed from scratch. Monorails are the cheapest form of mass transit to install, and considering that most of the space the tracks would be are wild space, there would be little infrastructure modification cost.

From N B
Posted April 6, 2012 at 2:48 PM
Tim (Hillman), I was actually being serious. If you look at the layout of the Disney parks on Google Earth, Epcot and Hollywood Studios are fairly close. Hollywood Studios and Animal Kinggom are nowhere near the distance from Magic Kingdom to Epcot.

The ability de-board at the Epcot stop and transfer to a new loop that connects Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom would be ideal. The biggest challenge would be a stop at the Hollywood Studio front gate because of the orientation of the park.

I think the Disney monorail is wonder of engineering, watching it make the loop around the Spaceship Earth always makes you stop and stare. I am sure there are specific reasons why Disney didn't use the land between MK and Epcot to build the newer parks and resorts, but it would have been cool to design them around the current monorail layout and have everything connected from the start.

From TH Creative
Posted April 6, 2012 at 1:44 PM
I would suggest that Universal Orlando construct a monorail from their parking garage to the gates of their theme parks ... but they'd probably charge guests for the ride.

(Chuckle)

From Mark Fairleigh
Posted April 6, 2012 at 3:04 PM
Tim W, as a fan of the NYC Subway system, transferring trains sounds like fun to me! ;P

Seriously, I'm imagining a "grand central" station that acts as a major hub and transfer point with dining and shopping options inside.

From Skipper Adam
Posted April 7, 2012 at 9:34 AM
Mark, I always thought the TTC could be fixed utp really nice. If they expand the monorail and the TTC (or the central focus of traffic bearing what ever name) gets busier, it makes sense to have food there, shops etc. Where there is traffic, there is profit and it would be cool. I always thought it would be neat to have a restaurant at the TTC looking over the Seven Seas Lagoon.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted April 7, 2012 at 8:25 PM
I think it is cost prohibitive.

If it wasn't, I think it would be done by now!

From Dan Babbitt
Posted April 9, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Wow!!!

Tim Hillman had a bad trip to Disney World!

I dont think they will be adding any new track to the system because I believe they had to map out the system back when they were constructing the resort. I believe they had to submit it to the Florida Department of Transportation and so changing it now would require more money then before.

From Skipper Adam
Posted April 10, 2012 at 9:13 AM
I think that would be nominal in the overall price of things.

From Mark Fairleigh
Posted April 10, 2012 at 11:05 AM
Skipper, that would be absolutely fantastic. If you show up at the park a little early for a night event, go have dinner, soak up some magic, money in Disney's pockets. You could even have a live band or accapella group outside the restaurant stoking up the magic.

From Tim Hillman
Posted April 10, 2012 at 2:54 PM
Actually Dan, I haven't had a bad trip to Disney World. What I have had over the last several years are several mildly disappointing trips to Disney World. Compare that to several very satisfying trips to Universal Orlando, and I can truly say that Disney is failing to meet the expectations that they have set.

I could write about this ad nauseum, but it won't make any difference to most people who think the sun rises and sets in the Magic Kingdon. (Actually with parks all over the world is the sun never shining on a Disney park? Geography assignment for the tweens on the site.) My experiences are only anecdotal, but at 50 plus years of age, I can see a pattern of just doing enough to please the masses and focusing too much on maximizing revenue streams.

Disney is a business and they have to turn a profit, but does anyone truly believe they they haven't had the funds to extend the monorail lines and expand the parks to include more attractions so their visitors can enjoy more of the "magic"? I don't, and I think that most people who have been to the Tokyo Disney resort might feel the same way. Take a look at what they did with someone else's money, and you might feel a bit shortchanged.

From chris cona
Posted April 10, 2012 at 5:48 PM
I love Disney a lot, the bus system can get pretty annooying at times because of cowarded buses and long waits for it to come. I do not see disney investing in the expanison of the monorail system. They had a chance before and because they didn't do it before they won't now. Yea it would be cool to have it like a ny sub way station but disney doesn't have the money and will never do this.

From chris cona
Posted April 10, 2012 at 5:48 PM
I love Disney a lot, the bus system can get pretty annooying at times because of cowarded buses and long waits for it to come. I do not see disney investing in the expanison of the monorail system. They had a chance before and because they didn't do it before they won't now. Yea it would be cool to have it like a ny sub way station but disney doesn't have the money and will never do this.

From Tim W
Posted April 10, 2012 at 6:37 PM
Mark, I never thought that a complete monorail system would be an above ground subway basically. The few times I've been to NYC, I've gotten around fairly well on the subway system. So I really don't have a complaint.

From Randall Peek
Posted April 10, 2012 at 8:41 PM
The main selling point of the bus system is that from each of the hotels, one usually boards a bus going directly to your destination, rather than having to go through a transfer point. The only way to sell a move to a monorail or PeopleMover system would be if there were appreciable advantages to the guests to offset the need to transfer. If, for example, there was a lot more in the way of on-ride entertainment, such as flat-screens with entertainment, or even video games, then it might be able to sell this move.

Also, if the technology that is expected to be used for the Hogwarts Express isn't exclusive to Universal, then a move to monorails with video 'windows' might be not only a way to turn the ride into its own attraction, but also could steal a lot of Universal's Pottermania thunder.

From Skipper Adam
Posted April 10, 2012 at 9:06 PM
I think riding a monorail instead of a crowded bus is the selling point. The buses are on the top of the list of constant complaints from guest. They are pretty hated.

From Brandon Townsend
Posted April 11, 2012 at 7:18 AM
The following is from a former Disney employee on a website about Disney rumors etc. I can't verify the veracity but it sounds logical.

"The figure of a million dollars per mile keeps coming up in Internet discussions about expanding the Walt Disney World Monorail system. Someone will post that it would certainly be nice if Walt Disney World would replace the stinky diesel bus fleet with sleek “highway in the sky” Monorail lines. Then, someone will reply that they heard that the cost would be a hefty million dollars per mile, and that’s just prohibitive.Actually, if the Walt Disney Company could add ten miles to the Monorail system for just $10 million, they would jump at the opportunity. The truth is that the cost would be much, much higher.
The Las Vegas Monorail, which opened in 2004, cost $654 million for just 4.4 miles. It uses the same Bombardier technology as the Walt Disney World Monorail. Bombardier acquired the technology from Disney. There were some issues in Las Vegas—such as having to deal with many various property owners, structures in the right-of-way, and municipal politics—that Disney would not face. So maybe Disney could hold the costs under $100 million per mile."

I hate the buses as well and would love to see the monorail expanded. Even at the above cost it would pay for itself over time. At least for now Disney should change the diesel buses to electric or fuel cell. Walt is probably spinning in his cryogenic chamber over all that pollution being discharged daily at his world.

From Skipper Adam
Posted April 11, 2012 at 8:13 AM
A lot of people forget the cost of new trains. In reality, Disney would probably need at least 20 new trains to run the lines effectively, that's where the cost is. But I agree that in the end it would pay for itself.

From Flavio de Souza
Posted April 11, 2012 at 10:42 AM
If they could substitute ALL the buses (and their operational structure) with monorail lines, it would be worthwhile but to do that the lines would have to connect not only all the parks (that is an easy task) but also all the Hotels and also downtown Disney. This would be a challenge!!!

From Rafe Oneal
Posted April 11, 2012 at 3:53 PM
I just love that fact, that if the Disney World Monorail System is expanded as mentioned above, that finally, after all these years, Walt Disney's vision for future mass transportation is being proved to be the best idea. We fans of Walt know what the Disney Company is just figuring out: Walt really did know what he was doing! Brilliant! Gotta love the Guy!

From Kevin C
Posted April 12, 2012 at 1:28 PM
It was the buses that killed me last time I went to Disney World. I seriously don't want to go again because of the hassle getting from park to park.

Connecting all of the parks with monorails would definitely alleviate most of what I didn't enjoy the last time around. It just felt like we spent more time traveling than in the parks.

From Dan Babbitt
Posted April 13, 2012 at 2:30 PM
Here are some questions to ask yourself:

After a long day at a park do you want to drive back to your hotel?

Do you want to PAY for a rental car?

Do you want the hassle with parking?

Do you want the hassle of tourist drivers?

So if you say no to all these then the bus is the best option. Heck I would love there to be monorails but do you think that every resort will have its own monorail line and train?

NO.

Your going to have to get to a central hub and then get on another train to the park. So its going to be longer and more hassle with the monorail then with bus's which have a direct line to your resort.

If you want to use alternative modes of transportation then stay at the deluxs resorts!

From Phil B.
Posted April 13, 2012 at 3:23 PM
I prefer having a rental car, even with the added cost, coming and going as you please is a pleasure. I don't really mind the busses, but sometimes the wait at a stop for a bus going where you need to go can be lengthy. Also, I had the misfortune of being on a bus during a driver shift change on my way to Typhoon Lagoon. The wait for the bus from the resort, coupled with the shift change meant a ride that would have taken 10 minutes in a rental car ended up taken a little over the hour by the time we made our way through the gates.

As far as expansion of the Monorail lines, I'd love to see it. It would reduce the resorts overall carbon footprint. Eliminate some of the congestion on the remaining busses in the fleet, and overall enhances the resort experience by allowing another fun method of transportation to the parks and resorts. Most resorts and parks are clustered south of the magic kingdom. Using Epcot as a central hub to branch off to other lines could work, as it seems to be located the best geographically. 3-4 new lines would cover most resorts, all parks and Down Town Disney. It's all a matter of making it happen. I say do it while the economy is still down, cause when it goes back up, so does the cost of everything else, and a project of this magnitude is never going to decrease in cost.

From David Sutter
Posted April 20, 2012 at 12:39 PM
ACtually the monorail in the origianl plans is laid out from Downtown Disney to the Magic Kingdon with the Stops a the M.K., Epcot, Studios and Dwontown area.So as to the plans yep their there. Just when will it happen who knows.

From Phil B.
Posted April 21, 2012 at 2:16 PM
Would love to get a look at the expansion plans that have been drawn up. I would imagine that there are multiple layouts depending upon what areas and stops they would look to service. Come on anonymous WDI insider, leak a plan and get the net buzzing!

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