Disney Monorail

Disney has monorail systems at both of its parks in North America, as well as its Tokyo park.  The monorail provides a unique method to get around the parks.  While each of the park's systems are different, they each provide an iconic method of transportation that has come to symbolize the wonders of Disney Magic.

Disneyland Monorail

The monorail in Disneyland was the first daily operating monorail in the Western Hemisphere and the first monorail in the United States.  It opened on June 14, 1959 as a Tomorrowland attraction.  In 1961 the track was lengthened to have a stop at the Disneyland Hotel.  It was eventually expanded to include a stop in Downtown Disney.  This brought its track length to a mere 2.5 miles, 4 kilometers.   Unlike the Walt Disney World version, the Disneyland Monorail probably has more in common with an attraction than a form of transit.

Disney World Monorail

By comparison, the Disney World Monorail is much more geared toward function.  It has 14.7 miles (23.7 km) of track and services both the Epcot and Magic Kingdom parks.  It opened in 1971 as has been one of the primary methods of getting from the Transportation and Ticket Center, where many guests park, to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.  It also services three Disney World Resorts, the Contemporary Resort, the Polynesian Resort and the Grand Floridian.

Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo Disneyland has taken the monorail to a new level.  While the Disney World Monorail is considerably more functional than the Disneyland Monorail, Tokyo's Monorail is designed like true public transportation system.  These trains carry 571 passengers and are built to "full scale."  Interestingly, the trains are also driverless. 

Disney Monorails

While all the parks have very complex transportation systems, the monorail is by far the most iconic piece.  Unfortunately they are very expensive.  Even when they were originally built, they cost a million dollars per mile.  Because of this high cost, Disney seems to have lost its commitment to using them. Hong Kong Disneyland was built without a monorail system and neither Disney's Hollywood Studios, nor Disney's Animal Kingdom are serviced by a monorail.  Nevertheless Disneyland, Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland provide an interesting spectrum of how functional these transit systems can be.

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You can read more about Disney history and tips for your vacation at Disney World for Grownups. The discussion forums there are very unusual in the level and detail of their discussion. With topics ranging from eating in your hotel to whether Eisner "gets" the Internet, you can engage in some very interesting conversation.

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