Featured Attractions

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Theme Park Thursdays: Disney Monorails

When Walt Disney built his first monorail at DISNEYLAND in 1959 it was the first daily operating monorail in the Western Hemisphere. At first, the monorail merely traveled through Tomorrowland, offering scenic views of the Magic Kingdom.

Just two years later, the monorail was expanded to the DISNEYLAND Hotel and back, running alongside Harbor Boulevard and across West Street, the first attraction to take guests outside the parks and across a public street.

Today, featuring the newest fleet of monorails in the Disney empire, the monorail transports guests through Disney California Adventure, stopping at Downtown Disney and back to Tomorrowland.

Unlike DISNEYLAND, the monorail system at Walt Disney World makes no stops inside any of the theme parks. One loop takes guests from just outside Florida's Magic Kingdom around the Seven Seas Lagoon, stopping at and running through the various hotels.

A different loop runs from the Magic Kingdom's Transportation center, through Future World at EPCOT Center and stopping outside the theme park gates.

The original transportation plan for the Florida resort was to have the monorails link up most, if not all, of the theme parks, hotels and attractions. That plan fell by the wayside in 1988 with construction of the Disney-MGM Studios, which was never linked up with the monorail system. Subsequent resort expansion was not linked up either, with the resort currently relying on a fleet of diesel powered buses in conjunction with the existing monorails.

Tokyo Disneyland features a more whimsical design than its American cousins. The system loop provides access to both Tokyo theme parks, all resort hotels and Disney's Ikspiari Shopping Center.

Due to Japan's bizarre transportation laws, the Tokyo Disneyland monorail is considered public transportation and regulated by the government. Unlike its American counterparts, it must keep a regular schedule.