Analyzing the Current State of Disney’s Monorail System
10:30pm on the Magic Kingdom monorail platform feels more like a 3:00am last call has been announced, and you’re starting to wonder when, if, and how you’ll ever get back to your bed. I know first hand how poor the trains are where I live, yet an analogy of the malfunctioning of Disney’s monorail system to the MTA of New York City’s deplorable Subway system would be unfair…to the Subway.
Disney’s monorail is responsible for transporting thousands of guests to and from the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and surrounding Resorts each and every day, and in recent years, the outages, delays in service, and overall poor operation has apparently sent angry and exhausted guests to the feedback forums…because Disney might finally recognize the problem.
Slowly but Surely
Like the deterioration of River Country, the demise of the current monorail fleet has been slow. The current fleet has been running on the beams since 1989- for reference, that was the year The Little Mermaid debuted and is set to celebrate its 30th anniversary next year- and although Disney maintains the trains to functionality, the efficiency and reliability of 3 decade-old trains is definitely cause for questions.
Waiting and Waiting and Waiting…
Last Halloween, after Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, my trick-or-treat induced sugar high was almost gone, and the climb up the ramp stretching up to the monorail platform was the last feat I had to accomplish before I could hit the hay. I have honestly never seen more of a line for any Disney transportation in my life.
The line was so thick with people that it took 4 trains just for my family and I to make it to the top of the ramp….and for the monorail to break down and stop running. With the ferry boat line now even longer than the line we were in and with the density of the line behind us, we knew we just had to wait….and wait, and wait, and wait. We made it onto a train nearly 85 minutes after we had left Magic Kingdom.
Fast forward to this spring, and I again was aboard a very crowded monorail that had taken, in my opinion, far too long to arrive and was traveling much too slowly on the beams. When the guests in my car boarded the monorail, everyone’s eyes immediately flew to the gigantic piece of white ceiling tile dangling from the top of our car by concerningly thin electrical wiring.
The monorail departed. The duration of the trip was entertaining to say the least, as myself and fellow guests kept our eyes locked on the precarious piece of tiling that we all thought would crash down on us. In Disney’s defense, a maintenance crew boarded the car when we had all departed to look at the issue…but COME ON, there is no way that train should be in operation! My personal monorail mishaps are certainly not the only stories out there, nor are they the most concerning. So what is Disney going to do about it?
Although the trains are old, and although that ceiling panel could have been a major mishap, I don’t feel unsafe when I ride the monorails. No monorail train goes more than one overnight before it is thoroughly inspected and maintained, and the fast-acting maintenance team proved their capability when they quickly boarded to fix the ceiling tile.
Each night, just behind Magic Kingdom park, the trains are taken to this behind-the-scenes maintenance shed (which also houses the Magic Kingdom trains!) for their inspections, take a look!
Ironically just two days after from the ceiling incident in April, Disney has reportedly been in talks with Bombardier. That’s the Canadian company responsible for manufacturing the current monorail fleet. The talks must have escalated quickly. Before I had a chance to read the news story, a second story popped up that was all about the new Magic Kingdom theatre that was announced at D23.
It talked about how every cent of the funds set aside to build it have been re-routed to our friends up North. There has not been an announcement stating for what this money will be used for. Should we get our hopes up that a new monorail system might really be coming to Walt Disney World?
Never Tell Me The Odds!
What are the odds of a new monorail fleet? I think not great, but not bad either. If I had to make a prediction, I wouldn’t put money on an entirely new fleet of trains. Right now there are 12 trains in operation. To replace each and every one of them with a brand-new vehicle would be astronomically costly.
With plenty of finances being poured into a new gondola system, it’s seems unlikely that we will see a brand-new lineup of trains before the Resort’s 50th anniversary. What do you think? Have you ever experienced delays or mishaps on Disney’s monorail? Is it ready for an overhaul, or do you think Disney should invest money elsewhere? Let us know in the comments!
Thanks for visiting MickeyBlog.com! Want to go to Disney? For a FREE quote on your next Disney vacation, please fill out the form below and one of the agents from MickeyTravels, a Platinum level Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, will be in touch soon!
Special thanks to Maria Salerno for writing this article: Hiya pal! I am a NYC-based writer thrilled to be a part of your Disney vacation planning! I’m a WDW Annual Passholder, so you can find me in the parks regularly throughout the year. In addition to being a Disney Parks loving girl, I’m also a Disney toy and merchandise collector, a runDisney enthusiast, and Disney music and movie aficionado. You can follow me on Instagram: NYCtoAP and find me on YouTube: NYCtoAP. Thanks for reading, hope to see ya real soon!