Walt Disney World's monorail suffers another downtime

July 16, 2019, 1:55 PM · Walt Disney World's monorail system is misbehaving... again. The latest stall happened this morning, as reported by Orlando TV stations. Guests reported that monorail trains stalled on the Magic Kingdom loop for a half an hour or more before 10am today.

Guests reported opening windows to get air flowing through the hot, stuffy cabins after the trains stalled. Within the hour, however, Disney managed to roll the affected train back to the Transportation and Ticket Center and exit all the guests safely from the monorail.

Disney World's monorail system has endured a string of embarrassing incidents in recent months, including one train running with an open door. But more typically the problem is the trains not running at all.

Downtimes have made the aging Bombardier Mark VI monorail trains a less-than-attractive transportation choice for many experienced Disney World visitors. Personally, I always opt for the ferryboat when traveling between the TTC and the Magic Kingdom and often use the buses and boat launches to and from the MK and other destinations on property when I am not driving a car. It's just not worth the risk of wasted time to me anymore to ride on a monorail that I've been on countless times.

But for most Disney visitors, the monorail is a fresh attraction that they want to experience. So thousands daily queue for one of the most-ridden monorail systems in the world, even if some guests get caught out on trains during downtimes such as today's.

Many fans have been asking Disney to replacing this aging system with new monorails. But the relative unpopularity of monorails as a public transportation system means that Disney probably would need a bespoke solution, which is likely to be ridiculously expensive. It might be more likely that Disney replaces its monorails with an expansion of the upcoming Disney Skyliner system, at least on the long MK to Epcot route. The monorail loop around the Seven Seas Lagoon might be a candidate for a completely different mass transit system... but who knows at this point?

Which just so happens to also be the question that many Disney guests end up asking when they wonder if the monorail will be running when they visit.

Have you had any issues with Walt Disney World's monorail or other resort transportation services? Please tell us about your experience, in the comments.

Replies (10)

July 16, 2019 at 2:07 PM

Once (2010 or 2011) we were on a monorail and were stopped for 10-15 minutes. Without the air-conditioning on, it got uncomfortable in only a couple minutes. The cabin wasn't packed, but the benches were full and about 6 of us were standing. When we were back up and running, everyone was very relieved.

I hope they always keep the monorail at Walt Disney World. It's a unique and charming part of the experience.

July 16, 2019 at 2:40 PM

I've never experienced a problem while on the monorail, and still to this day find it very charming, as Mr Rumble said.

I hope they do a total refubishment of the system. Whatever the problem is, fix it. Don't just put a bandage on it and wait for it to break again.

Going through the EPCOT park is one of my favorite 20 seconds of a trip to WDW. I'd hate to see it go away.

July 16, 2019 at 2:51 PM

Disney MUST keep and update the monorail system!!! The monorail trains are as iconic as Main Street Station and the castle!!

Obviously there is a need for a system of moving people quickly and efficiently.

I personally HATE the buses. I understand buses are a "cheap" capital expense compared to a monorail or skyliner system but I would think buses cost more in labor?

I WISH Universal would come up with something unique to move me to Volcano Bay and eventually to the new park.

July 16, 2019 at 2:56 PM

FWIW, the Las Vegas monorail is much newer, but uses the same basic Mark VI vehicles (only with a computer pilot, not a human one). While it's certainly not off-the-shelf, the engineering's done; Bombardier could simply manufacture new ones and refresh the whole system.

I've always wondered if the hourly capacity of the PeopleMover would be less than, or greater than, the monorails. Fewer people per car, but vastly more cars, with similar infrastructure requirements. And Walt always imagined PeopleMovers as the close-in transport, with monorails connecting cities.

July 17, 2019 at 12:43 AM

So many times on the monorail but no major issues aside from the usual slow-downs now and then. Also lucky no issues with busses. I know, many have had problems but I guess lucky in that never got that myself which is good.

July 17, 2019 at 1:26 AM

For the price you are paying to get to WDW, and the fact that in the past this was never an issue, it's indeed a disgrace the monorail is in disrepair for so long now.
Imagine being from Europe, saved for many years to visit, suffer trough customs to get into the country and arriving at WDW and get the experience for the first time to take the monorail, go trough the Contemporary and see Magic Kingdom, it is magical and it takes you to another world. It's one of the things that makes Magic Kingdom unique.

July 17, 2019 at 10:15 AM

Is the skyliner a viable replacement for the monorail? Wouldn't you need to close it down during the frequent afternoon storms in central Florida? That seems like a long distance to travel between EPCOT and MK, and they wouldn't want people stranded on it if a storm kicked up. So they'd have to stop running it during any threat of storm. Maybe I'm wrong though.

July 17, 2019 at 10:38 AM

While I've been on a stalled monorail, I've never been in an evac situation. What bothers me most is that Disney's (and Reedy Creek's) response time to a monorail emergency is poor. Typically if an attraction goes 101, it can be evacuated quickly and effectivly. But a monorail rescue takes a lot of equipment and time to get organized. And depending upon where it's stalled, that can be the wildcard.

As a kid, the monorail was the best ride in all of WDW but as an adult, I avoid it like the plague. When we last stayed at the Poly, I was dismayed to find out that there is NO bus to Epcot. They expect you to take the monorail from the TTC. Yes, I know we stayed at a "monorail" resort but that was the LAST method of transport I had wanted to use.

Even the little trams at Orlando airport have walkways next to the track in the event of an emergency. The monorail offers nothing but a drop to the ground below. I'm one of those people who naturally "what if" every situation. The monorail is now filled with WAY too many "ifs".

July 17, 2019 at 11:13 AM

We were at WDW for Easter this year and got to spend 10 - 15 minutes looking at the construction site at MK while the Monorail was stopped between stations. However we made the most of our time by looking at the park maps and deciding where we wanted to go for lunch so that when the time came the decision had already been made. It wasn't a wonderful start to our day but as my youngest son pointed out it could always be worse, another passenger in the car how it could be worse he replied we weren't on It's a Small World.

July 18, 2019 at 5:43 PM

It's a trade off, while the Monorail is expensive, Disney is turning to the Gondolas as a replacement (a reduction in the bus system). Add to that a shortage of bus drivers, rider capacity, and economics should give us pause. Also with Disney trying to be a leader in clean transportation, the monorail has been just that. Look at the overflow from TTC and route to MK and Epcot and it adds more value.

While expensive to build and maintain, they have almost 30 years out of this current series. It is time to replace the fleet.

It is a resort attraction that offers one of a kind views and also, allows them to tier their resort pricing.

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