The interesting part for theme park fans is the route that the train is initially designed to take. It would start at the Orlando International Airport, then make stops at the Orlando Convention Center (a short bus hop to SeaWorld and Universal Orlando), Walt Disney World (near the end of World Drive, by Celebration), near Lakeland (not too far from Legoland Florida), and finally in Ybor City (a straight shot down the street from Busch Gardens Tampa).
Call this the Theme Park Express.
No word tonight on when the project would be completed, or if it is built in segments, when the first segments would be open.
On the other hand, it could be a giant money pit mired in mismanagement and failure. It wouldn't be the first time a project like this fails if that happens.
I'm sure that FlexTicket customers will receive some sort of inclusion into this venture. They already shuttle guests down to Tampa via bus if you buy a FlexTicket or multi-day SeaWorld/Busch ticket. They could cut the buses out and stick to the tracks. Unlikely to save them any money, but likely to satisfy their customers (and possibly draw more in).
Let's set the record straight since the article title is misleading. Lakeland is not close to Winter Haven where Legoland Florida is. It's a 30-40 minute drive by car to Winter Haven. In fact, the comment about Universal being close to the convention center is false. Universal is a 10-minute drive from the convention center.
This high-speed rail project is another waste of taxpayer dollars and will not eliminate the need for cars or other forms of transportation within the Orlando. In the end it will be another government subsidized rail line that will be under utilized and cost taxpayers millions to keep operational. Like nearly all rail lines in the US the fee charged to the rider will be a fraction of the actual cost to operate the line.
This is another wasteful government project and nothing to get excited about. I shouldn't have to point out that most Orlando visitors don't visit Busch Gardens. Hence, why it's an upgrade on the Flex Ticket. This is a theme park fan site and the way we visit parks is very different than the average Orlando visitor.
I've not yet seen when exactly the Lakeland station will be located, but it seems to me to make some sense to place it on the eastern side of town, closer to Winter Haven, if there's any interest in using this train to serve the tourist market. (And, frankly, I think that's the *entire* purpose of this route - to help get lots of rental cars off the road in Central Florida.)
Obviously, there'd need to be bus connections from all of these stops to the various theme parks, but it'd be easier for Legoland to run shuttles from a Lakeland train station than from the Orlando parks. (Though I woudln't be surprised if they do both at some point.)
I also love how some people get indignant about the government spending money on rail but never say a peep about the government spending money on roads. Face it, unless you're walking (and often even then), *all* transportation you take off private property is subsidized by your tax dollars - budgeted and spent by your elected representatives in government.
Though I am not too impressed with the Disney Stop. Sure, its better than nothing, but Celebration is really nowhere that near the rest of Walt Disney World.
Still pretty cool. Disney's Magical Express might be a good option still.
Also, what is with the no named cynics? How is this really political? Give people jobs, get the theme park more guests (thus more people working at the parks) and allow guests to go to Disney, Universal, and Seaworld without a car (which is tough)
WORDETH TO YOUR MOTHERETH!
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