The monorail is one of the most iconic modes of transportation in the whole of Walt Disney World. If you’ve never been on the monorail here before, it’s one of our favorite ways to get between the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Keep reading as we discover everything you need to know about the monorail and how you can make the most of this fun transportation option on your next trip.
What is the Walt Disney World Monorail?
Walt Disney World’s monorail system is very similar to those you might see in other cities around the world. It’s located above the ground and transports guests between various resorts and theme parks on the property. The monorail was first invented back in the 1800s but was patented by Henry Robinson Palmer in 1821. The vehicle is supported by a single rail and offers a smooth and efficient way to ride between locations in the resort.
When Did the Walt Disney World Monorail Open?
The Walt Disney World monorail was inspired by the Viewliner in Disneyland. Walt was always looking for new and exciting innovations to add to his theme parks, and the Viewliner was something he started working on in 1957. This wasn’t technically a monorail system and was instead more like a train that traveled between Tomorrowland and Fantasyland. Fast forward to the opening of Walt Disney World in 1971, and the monorail system opened here with two routes. In the beginning, there was the Magic Kingdom Resort or Express route to choose from. The Epcot line was added to coincide with the opening of this park in 1982, so the resort now has three monorail lines for visitors to choose from.
Where Does The Monorail Stop?
There are quite a few monorail stops to choose from now. These are the options you have for your next vacation:
- Magic Kingdom – Choose from the Magic Kingdom Express or Resort lines to get to and from the park.
- Transportation and Ticket Center – When you park your car at the start of your day, you can get the monorail or boat over to the Magic Kingdom. From here, you can also get the resort line, which will take you to any of the Magic Kingdom resorts. The Transportation and Ticket Center is where you’ll connect to the Epcot line.
- Epcot – The Epcot line runs in a circular loop from the park to the Ticket and Transportation Center. You arrive at the main entrance, ready to head into the park for the day.
- Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa – All three of these resorts are on the Magic Kingdom Resort line, which stops at the Magic Kingdom and Ticket and Transportation Center also.
What Time Does The Monorail Rail Start and Stop?
When planning a trip to Walt Disney World, you need to ensure you know what time your transportation options will stop and start each day. You don’t want to end up arriving late to a dining reservation or struggling to get home at the end of the night. According to the official Disney website, the monorail runs from 30 minutes before the earliest park opening time until one hour after the latest park closing time. This will incorporate special events, such as the Halloween and Christmas parties. However, if you are attending a private event or something like a runDisney race, you’ll need to check at your resort for the operating times. They usually put signs up near the monorail entrance, which will confirm when they will start operating each morning.
What Hotels Are Connected To The Monorail?
As we shared earlier, the only hotels that are directly connected to the monorail are the three Magic Kingdom resort hotels. These are all incredible resorts for anyone looking to stay in a Deluxe resort, and they offer some of the best transportation options. From the Contemporary Resort, you can also walk to the Magic Kingdom. The Polynesian and Grand Floridian are also linked via walkways, and all three resorts have boat transportation. You’ll have no issue getting to the Magic Kingdom, and you can also connect to Epcot at the Ticket and Transportation Center.
How Many Colors Are On The Monorail Line?
For anyone who loves learning about trains and other types of transportation, you’ll be fascinated by the monorails at Disney. Currently, the monorail system operates twelve Mark VI monorail trains. These trains are also used on the Las Vegas Monorail, and Disney first introduced them in 1989. Disney’s trains were built by Bombardier of Canada, and it’s rumored they cost $3.5 million each. They have six cars each, totaling 203 ft and six inches in length. Each of the monorail cars can sit up to 20 people, with a further 40 people standing. In the past, guests used to be able to ride up the front with the pilot, but following an incident in 2009, this opportunity was stopped.
To identify which monorail you are riding on, you’ll need to look at the colored stripe on the outside of the train. At Disney, they currently have a blue, black, coral, gold, green, lime, orange, peach, red, silver, teal, and yellow monorail. There were pink and purple ones as well, but these were retired after the 2009 incident. Monorail Teal was actually built using the undamaged parts of these two monorails. Monorail Peach is the newest of the trains, which also incorporated parts of these two retired trains. Kids and adults alike love seeing how many of the different monorail colors they can ride on one trip. They really are a great way to get around the resort, so keep an eye out to see how many different trains you can ride next time you are at Walt Disney World.
Fun Facts About the Walt Disney World Monorail System
As you can imagine, there’s a lot to learn about this unique transportation option at Walt Disney World. These are a few of our favorite lesser-known facts about the monorail.
If you’ve visited the resort before, you may have seen some fun, decorated monorails. This started a while back with the TRON paint scheme in 2010 but continued in 2012 with The Avengers. Iron Man, Monsters University, Star Wars, and Zootopia are a few other films that have appeared over the years on the side of the trains. At the current time, Monorail Gold has been wrapped with Mickey and Mickey for the resort’s 50th Anniversary celebrations.
Please Stand Clear of the Doors
One of the most iconic things about the monorail at Disney is the classic announcement as your board the train. Every time you ride, you’ll hear, “Please stand clear of the doors. Por favor manténganse alejado de las puertas.” This was recorded by Jack Wagner, who is well known for being the voice of Disneyland. In the early years, the trains offered more narration about your journey and how the monorails worked. However, in 2012, the voice was updated again, and it now features Tom Kane as the narrator.
Severe Weather Warnings
A common concern for anyone when visiting Orlando is the weather during certain times of the year. The monorail won’t run when winds are over 39 mph or during a hurricane or other severe weather warnings. As a result of this, the company puts as many trains as possible away but has to leave three monorails and two service tractors out in case of issues with the weather.
To ensure a safe ride, a moving blocklight system is used to ensure the trains are safely spaced out. This system is installed on the front of each train. It’s referred to as MAPO, which comes from Walt Disney himself. During the recent pandemic, the company added plastic dividers to safely transport guests around. The capacity was also reduced at this time to minimize the number of people in each carriage.
The Monorail’s Maximum Speed
The monorail can travel up to 40 mph during its normal operations, however, there are areas where it needs to slow down to as low as 15 mph. The train’s computer will limit the speed, and an operator can’t do anything to override this. It’s more of a scenic ride than a thrill ride, but still one we recommend everyone does on a trip to Walt Disney World.
The monorail is one of our favorite ways to get around Walt Disney World. If you are lucky enough to stay on one of the resorts on the monorail, you’ll want to take this as much as possible to get to and from the parks each day. Make sure you listen out for that iconic announcement as you board the monorail for your journey, as it’s one of the highlights of any ride. Just double-check the operating hours during your trip to avoid any issues so that you can make the most of this transportation option during your vacation.