Friday, June 25, 2010

A Walk Around The World With Ridge--Welcome Aboard Our Highway in the Sky

Por favor mantengase alejado de las puertas! One of the most unique ways to get around Disney is the Monorail system. The Monorail in Walt Disney World has about 15 miles of track which run from the Magic Kingdom to EPCOT, the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) and to the Monorail Resorts around the Seven Seas Lagoon. The Monorail commenced operation on October 1, 1971, beginning with two lines that had service from the Magic Kingdom to the Monorail resorts (Resort line) and the TTC (Express line).  The Resort line included service to the Polynesian, Contemporary and the TTC. Now I know, some people are saying I am forgetting a resort, but I haven’t. The Grand Floridian Resort didn’t open until 1988 and was added to the line at that time.  The EPCOT line opened with that park on October 1, 1982, establishing the third and final line.

On our trips to the “World” riding the monorail is a must.  At those times when you need a break from the park but aren’t ready to hang up your spurs for the day, step out of the main gate at Magic Kingdom or EPCOT and take a spin on the Monorail.  It holds iconic status with park-goers and makes children and adults smile (and the air-conditioning is refreshing on a hot day.)  For those of you who are like my family, when you climb on board you move all the way across the car to make room for others and if you end up standing be sure to "hold on to the handrails while the vehicle is in motion."

One of the most quoted phrases is the above, “Por favor mantengase alejado de las puertas” or “Please stand clear of the doors.”  There are even t-shirts for this piece of Disneyana.  (Amy has one.)  Our newest member of the clan really enjoyed her rides on the monorail.  There was enough to look at to keep Tink busy while at the same time giving her mommy a break in some air conditioning.
Before my sister and her “Prince Charming” (her words, not mine) were married, he came with us when she was running the Disney Marathon.  PC and I used the Disney transportation to make it to every "not in a park stop" listed for us to cheer on Amy and her running partner. The monorail was an invaluable part of the adventure for me and PC.  We hopped on at the start in EPCOT and then transferred at the TTC over to the Resort line stopping where necessary to get the photo ops. Then back on the monorail to head back to EPCOT to await her arrival at the finish.  The monorail even made a stop at her wedding a few months later.

The current trains were installed back in 1989 are the Mark VI trains (sounds all futuristic.)  They were built by Bombardier of Canada.  In case you have never heard that name, Bombardier makes just about anything with wheels from ATVs to Trains. There were a dozen trains in service until last year’s first fatal monorail accident at the Walt Disney World Resort in the monorail's 38 year history (I’m not going to go into details, I am sure everyone knows about it.) Each train is a different color so they are easily identifiable.  Monorail Teal has been added, created from the two trains that collided as per the story I read in the Orlando Sentinel.

Just a random bit of trivia, the Express line runs counter-clockwise while the Resort line and EPCOT lines run clockwise. Some of the technical features of the monorails are each train is 203 feet long and carries about 350 people at a time. The Contemporary can park 2 trains over night when the temperature is below freezing. The maintenance bay can house the remaining vehicles, all of which are inspected every night. The trains used to allow passengers to ride in the cab with pilot, however this practice has been stopped, and it is unclear if this will be a permanent policy change.

Be you quote the spiel along with the announcer when you ride the monorail? 
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