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Aug 24

The Friday Five – The Disney World Monorail

 

One of our favorite things to do at Walt Disney World is to ride the Monorail. It has been in continuous operation since 1971, is a major means of transportation at the Disney World Resort and is always a great ride. Here is a list of facts and information about the Disney World Monorail System.

1. The Walt Disney World Resort currently operates twelve Mark VI monorail trains on three lines of service.The monorail system opened in 1971 with two routes and with Mark IV monorail trains. It was expanded to three lines in 1982, and switched to Mark VI trains in 1989.  The Mark VI has a higher passenger capacity, as well as improved air conditioning, door systems and improved safety features. Each Mark VI train consists of six cars. The overall length is 203 feet with a capacity of 365 passengers. There are 3 distinct monorail lines: The Express Line, Resort Line, and Epcot Line. The Express Line runs from the TTC (Ticket and Transportation Center) to the Magic Kingdom. The Resort Line makes stops at the Contemporary Resort, the TTC, The Polynesion Resort, the Grand Floridian Resort, and the Magic Kingdom. The Epcot line runs back and forth between the TTC and Epcot.

Monorail Pilot

Monorail Central

2.The Disney employees that operate monorail trains are called pilots. One employee is scheduled as the central coordinator (“Monorail Central”) during each shift. “Central” controls the operation of the entire monorail system, usually by issuing instructions to pilots via radio. Central is responsible for setting up each day’s operation in the morning, for handling contingencies and emergencies that occur during the day, and for moving trains off the system after all parks have closed. An employee can act as Central only with a history of safe train operation, the ability to train other monorail pilots, and a rigorous training period during which they must successfully triage and handle simultaneous simulated emergencies. Monorail Central operates out of the glass booth on the Epcot Load platform at the Transportation and Ticket Center. Several qualified coordinators are usually available during each shift that can take over Central’s duties if needed. The manager who oversees all monorail operations during a given shift at Walt Disney World is called “Monorail One”.

3. The trains are driven by eight 113 hp motors which are powered by a 600-volt electrical system running through a busbar mounted on each side of the concrete beam. Each train also has seven inverters on board that convert the 600 V DC to 230 V AC for use by the air conditioners and air compressor, and additionally has a battery-backed 37 V DC low-voltage supply that provides power for the train’s electronics. Maximum speed during normal operations is 40 mph, with several speed zones throughout the system with limits ranging from 15 to 40 mph. These speed limits are strictly enforced by the train’s computer and cannot be overridden without the operator engaging a special lockout. Attempting to drive the train too quickly in a given speed zone will result in an “overspeed stop”.

4.There are 12 different monorails at WDW, each distinguished by the colored stripe down the side of the cars: red, coral, orange, pink, gold, yellow, lime, green, blue, purple, silver, and black. In November 2009, Disney put Monorail Teal into service. Monorail Teal was built using the undamaged portions of the two trains involved in a fatal accident in July 2009.The colors of the two trains involved, Pink and Purple, were retired from service.The twelfth train, Peach, was placed into service in September 2011 to restore the resort’s fleet back to 12 trains. On March 19, 2010, Disney debuted Monorail TRON on the Epcot line as part of a marketing plan for the movie Tron: Legacy.  It was the repainted Coral monorail, was removed from rotation in July 2011, and has returned to its normal route and colors. In March of 2012 Monorail red was transformed into The Avengers Monorail to promote the movie. It is expected to run through the summer.

 

 

5. Monorail Shop is Disney’s monorail maintenance facility located a short distance northeast of the Magic Kingdom, and provides space for up to nine of the twelve Mark VI trains on its upper level (the bottom level houses the four steam locomotives that circle the Magic Kingdom on its west side, and a bus repair facility on the east side). On any given night, two monorail trains are parked at various stations on the system. On nights where the temperature drops below freezing, the trains will be parked inside the Contemporary Resort; but in practice, trains can be left in any station (even on the express side of a resort station). No train will ever be left outside two nights in a row because routine maintenance is performed nightly. The Monorail Shop also has a painting room located on Beam 10 that is elevated 25 feet (7.6 m) off the ground and has a lift mounted on the wall for the painters. It takes three weeks to paint a monorail train.To access the wheels and underside of the monorail, a portion of Beam 1 inside Shop is removable, primarily used to change load tires.

For seasoned Disney World visitors the following words give them such joy. Jack Wagner’s famous, “Please stand clear of the doors. Por favor mantengase alejado de las puertas.” line can still be heard as the automatic doors close on each of the monorails. The Walt Disney World monorail system has featured many different narrations and narrators over its 40+ years in operation, beginning with Jack Wagner in the early ’70s. Hearing these words always make me smile and causes me to remember our trips to Disney World

“Please stand clear of the doors” ; “Por favor mantengase alejado de las puertas”

 

 

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