Park of the Week: Islands of Adventure

Should there be a monorail expansion in Disneyworld?

Walt Disney World: A monorail expansion that would cover the 4 parks and Downtown Disney.

From Daniel Etcheberry
Posted December 7, 2010 at 8:26 AM
It would be better and more fun than taking the bus.

From Jesse Key
Posted December 7, 2010 at 8:28 AM
I think so. I'd like that..... Where's the petition?!

From Anthony Murphy
Posted December 7, 2010 at 8:48 AM
It has become WAY too expensive to build the monorail these days. I think I have heard somewhere along the lines of a million per foot!

In similar news, I believe the Obama Administration has alotted money to FL to help build a light rail that will go from the airport to Tampa with a few special and magical stops along the way!

From Mike Gallagher
Posted December 7, 2010 at 10:23 AM
Anthony said "...with a few special and magical stops along the way!"

You mean Orlando Thrill Park? Oh boy! :)

From Anthony Murphy
Posted December 7, 2010 at 11:16 AM
And Universal
And Disney (sort of....actually celebration)

From Randall Peek
Posted December 7, 2010 at 1:09 PM
A million dollars a foot? Absolutely absurd. There is no way that it could cost that much. That would be the equivalent of five billion plus dollars for a single mile of track. Considering the whole of EPCOT cost about one billion dollars when it opened, which wasn't even thirty years ago, I think you would agree that this estimate is way out of line.
I do think that the monorail is an expensive luxury compared to the bus system, but it is one of the things that gives WDW its character. In addition, it is a long-term capital expenditure, and ultimately is probably cheaper than running buses for the same time period. The monorails lack the versatility of a bus, which can run from any Point A to any Point B, but where's the fun in riding the same vehicle you can find in any city in America? The monorail is unique, elegant, and, most of all, fun.

From Phil B.
Posted December 7, 2010 at 1:58 PM
I thought I heard not too long ago that he cost was actually something like a million dollars for each new section of track, which from what I could gather from a quick search on the net are 85 to 110 feet long each. So plugging in the math, even if you used only 110' sections, each new mile of track would cost at least $48 million. So extending the track to all of the resorts as well as the two other parks, two water parks, ESPN Sports complex and Down Town Disney would be a massive and expensive project that I would imagine is going to set the mouse back in the area of at least a billion slices of cheese. That being said, I would LOVE for them to expand the system on such a grand scale! In the very least, get the two other parks online.

From Rob P
Posted December 7, 2010 at 2:14 PM
I think Anthony was merely illustrating the point that it's economically unviable to extend the monorail....mores the pity.

But I do like the proposition of a light rail network linking a few points from Orlando airport to Tampa. How good would that be ? To access the major parks without having to drive ( and therefore have a beer or two where available ! ) and to Park hop from Universal to Disney to Seaworld to Busch in a single day.( not in that order obviously )

How much do you reckon the fares will be pitched at ?

From Nick Markham
Posted December 7, 2010 at 2:41 PM
^I think it is actually $1 million per square foot. When Disney built all that time ago, it certainly didn't cost that much, but these days prices are crazy, especially for such a large project.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted December 7, 2010 at 2:44 PM
I think the cost went up significantly after EPCOT's line was put in because, lets face it, who really builds Monorail Track?

I was on a behind the scenes tour and they said that it would not be worth spending all that money for monorail track.

Also the WDW version makes the DL version look like a model train set (its more of a ride than a mode of transportation).

From TH Creative
Posted December 7, 2010 at 9:04 PM
Actually Anthony no one has to "build" the track. It's concrete (an elastic substance that can be formed per specification (and I am certain the company has the specifications). It also has a flexible and lightweight foam core.

I think the real challenge for a system expansion would be the location of the hub and its relationship to a destination. Where are you wanting to move people from and ... well, to.

Although it is only an assumption, it would seem (at this point) that the desired plan would be to move guests to the Downtown Dsney (DTD) area (especially with the upcoming Hyperion Wharf). But from where? The only answer I could offer would be from the TTC. But that would mean expanding the existing station and that only three hotels (DGF CRH PRH) would gain any advantage. Wilderness Lodge would have to take a bus to the monorail station and if guests were going to do that why not ride the bus to DTD?

Add into the mix that the monorail service is an overhead element (not a profit center) and you'd be hard-pressed to justify expanding the system.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted December 7, 2010 at 9:58 PM
I agree with it being bascially a "free" attraction at WDW.

It was a couple of years ago, but I think one of the issues the tour guide said was that there is very few people who can or will build monorails and tracks outside of Disney. It would have to be done in house!

From Eric Malone
Posted December 7, 2010 at 10:03 PM
My guess is that it's much cheaper to run and maintain a fleet of buses in the short and long runs that there's no point in the monorail. Not to mention, expanding the monorail, no matter the cost, would pretty much obsolete the buses, which they've already invested in.

Personally, I'd LOVE to see monorails obsolete buses in Disney World, but I don't see it happening.

From Rob P
Posted December 8, 2010 at 3:43 AM
I like the monorail too but a bus service does offer greater flexibility.
I don't know the operational record of the monorail ( I'm sure one of you probably does ) but if there was a track or train problem then the monorail is limited in it's options.
Not so with the buses. road,traffic or breakdown problems can be remedied by re-routing or replacement buses.
Once again I don't know the operational costs of either service but if the core purpose is simply getting people to the Parks then it's possibly the buses that win out over the monorail.
The monorail is more fun though and , if money wasn't an obstacle, then I'd personally prefer to see an investment in that service.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted December 8, 2010 at 3:48 AM
Rob P. asked, "How much do you reckon the fares will be pitched at ?"

A million dollars a foot.

From David Sutter
Posted December 8, 2010 at 4:58 AM
Actually if you look at the plans for Disney World the Epcot line goes thur the park and out world show case to the Downtown Disney area. Which is not a stretch considering that World Show Case is a very short distance from Downtown Disney West Side. There for the would be no need to change the TTC hub. That being saie the Disney Studios Could also be in one of the legs of the line. AK woulded be the only stretch to the system.

From Rob P
Posted December 8, 2010 at 9:27 AM
I asked, "How much do you reckon the fares on the light rail will be."

Mike answered :

A million dollars a foot.

Well I have two feet so that makes it $2 million !!

( where's Groucho when you need him ? )

From Mike Gallagher
Posted December 8, 2010 at 9:58 AM
Yeah, well,I once shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I'll never know.

From Tony Duda
Posted December 8, 2010 at 10:06 AM
I like to go elephant hunting in Alabama because the Tuscaloosa there.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted December 8, 2010 at 11:06 AM
^^^Tony, that was painful to read. I'll give you some leeway, know, the Jersey thing.

From Carrie Hood
Posted December 8, 2010 at 5:42 PM
Personally I think Central Florida needs something like Light Rail badly. If you look at every other major metro area they all have some kind of mass public transportation aside from buses, normally trains. The entire North East Corridor can be accessed by local trains and so can most of South Florida. Orlando didn't even really HAVE a bus system that extended beyond the downtown area and the International Drive Trollies until the mid 90's which is down right insane for an area that big and expanding. You know, those cars/trucks/SUVs/RVs on the highways going around that make you insane cause they can't drive or are lost? Yeah, Light rail would help! I wish they had it when I was working at Seaworld and Disney, that would have saved me almost 50 miles round trip daily!

So on that, YES! Give us Light Rail!

As for Disney, it was rumored they looked into extending it not long after MGM opened but it was deemed to expensive. As it was pointed out the Monorail is a free service perhaps if they where making money on it but otherwise I doubt we'll be seeing any kind of expansion in the near future. Perhaps if the economy becomes stable and people in general are making money again, this may be possible but until then? I think we're all out of luck.

From Rob P
Posted December 9, 2010 at 1:45 AM
Mike and Tony : You just made my day !

From Bruce Golden
Posted December 17, 2010 at 2:53 PM
monorail costs have been one of my interest for severa; years - replicating the current Disneyworld track design with State of Florida standard highway pre-cast sections should cost about $2.5MM/mile installed on driven concrete pile foundations. last info I have on comparable new trains indicates they run about $3.5MM each. Least well documented cost of an install is the power supply and control system - using subway data, looks like would be about $1MM/mile. All in cost for a 6 mile loop and 8 new trains would be about $49MM direct costs --- not counting train stations or an required additional maintenance shop facilities.

From Rob P
Posted December 21, 2010 at 5:23 AM
Pardon my ignorance Bruce but what is $MM ?
Is that a millon million ?

From Doug Jenkins
Posted December 23, 2010 at 9:58 AM
Busses and boats are fine. The extended monorail would be nice until you saw how much the admission had gone up to pay for it. Rather see new and updated rides.

From Jake Johnson
Posted December 29, 2010 at 7:10 PM
We were at Disney in july the day after the accident where the young conductor was killed. The mono system was closed for a good part of the that day starting back up in the early afternoon.

later that day when riding the bus back to our resort, Summers Bay, a off duty driver was seated up front and we got to talking.. he was a former mono driver and knew the kid that was killed..

at one time disney was going to extend the rail to include going through the dolphin motel like it goes through the Contemporary Resort.

If you look at the end it has the same square area inside the main building.. but as pointed out the cost to extend it just to include that hotel was not considered feasible and the area was populated with rooms.

that my story and i am sticking to it..

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