When the Walt Disney World Resort Monorail system opened back in 1971, it was considered one of the most advanced (and futuristic) methods of transportation available in the United States. Now fast-forward to 2014. Would you still describe this transportation system to be "futuristic?" Do you think the current conditions of the vehicles (or trains) themselves is just as good as when the entire system debuted? Sadly, many will answer "no" to both questions.


While the Walt Disney World Resort Monorail has proven to be quite reliable for the past 43 years (there has been one fatal accident, unfortunately, but it still is one of the safest transportation systems in the world), time and the elements have seemingly taken a big toll on the monorail cars, and Disney doesn't seem to be keeping up with maintenance on said vehicles.


True, the system is currently undergoing a major upgrade (which involves the automation of the train; no longer will there be the need for a Cast Member to drive it, therefore reducing the possibility for human error), but that involves the technical aspect, which many Guests may not notice. What they will notice, though, is the sad look of the interior (and, sometimes, even the exterior) of the trains.

We have personally been noticing these issues for a while, but we were reminded about them while boarding monorail yellow a few days ago. If you don't find the following issues to be major, consider that monorail yellow is actually one of the trains that seems to be in better shape than most of the other trains. Imagine that.

First of all, the condensation that creates inside the cabins due to the extreme level of (necessary) A/C is becoming a major problem. water constantly drips down on Guests, the floor, and the seats. We are sure you will agree with us that this should not be considered normal. A minor amount of water is expected, of course, but not like this:



This particular seat was especially wet. Would you want to seat on that? Probably not:


The fabric on the sides of the seats is also very dated and looks dirty. The Walt Disney World Monorail system has thousands of Guests using it multiple times a day, so some level of wear and tear is expected, but we would also expect to see things taken care of periodically. This is not acceptable:



Even the doors themselves look dirty. If trains ever get completely replaced, we would suggest not using any type of fabric. It may look good at first, but it is incredibly difficult to take care of it:


As far as the floor goes, there is not much to say. For the amount of foot traffic it receives, it doesn't look too bad. Of course, there are some areas that look dirtier than others, but that is about it:


We would like to specify that we are not trying to have you, our Readers, concentrate too much on the faults that can be found while visiting the parks, but we do think that the Walt Disney World Resort - the LEADER in the theme park and entertainment business -  should have higher standards that these. The monorail trains have not been changed in decades, and have just received minor changes in the past years. We are sure most of you will agree with us that something needs to be done.


Now, it is your turn to tell us how you feel about this. If you had the chance to use the monorail system during one of your most recent Walt Disney World Resort visits, did you notice some of these issues? Of course, we know that Guests are excited when visiting the parks, so we don't expect them to focus on the monorail trains. Some, though, notice the small things. Feel free to share your opinion.

18 Comment(s):

Anonymous said...

The monorail makes Disney .. Maybe they update the trains. They are one o the reason I stay at Contemporary. Going "home" in a few weeks. See ya soon Mickey !

I feel your being too harsh considering how many guests this system moves. In comparison to other commuter rails, it is pristine! My only hope is they continue to upgrade on a regular basis and extend it's route to other parks and resorts.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's a big deal either. Certainly not immaculate, but I'd spend money elsewhere.

Don said...

Disney once was the gold standard in theme parks and resorts. That time is long gone (at least decreasing 10+ years) and still the Disney apologists think it's ok and keep paying ridiculous prices for mediocrity to keep their ridicules "Disney lifestyle" afloat because they are afraid to see that their investment and trust in a company is only a one way love affair that only exists when they pull their wallet.
Disney has made itself the laughingstock of the theme park business.

Kendall said...

I agree, for the zillion people that ride per day the interiors could be much worse. I thought we would have seen some improvements because of the reduced running hours / increased maintenance hours. That work must have been strictly mechanical. Hopefully with the automation upgrades will come some interior refurb also.

Anonymous said...

If the A/C is keeping the interior comfortably cool, there is bound to be condensation on the cool surfaces when the doors open and the hot, humid air enters.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that since Disneyland Resort in California has the Mark VII trains whilst Walt Disney World still uses Mark VI trains that WDW hasn't decided to upgrade to the newest model that Disneyland is using or even design a Mark VIII model to keep it looking more futuristic.

Anonymous said...

Disneyland seems to upgrade their monorail more frequently than Walt Disney World. I think upgrading to the Mark VII trains (or a newer model) makes sense especially if it gains a newer more futuristic look.

Sabi said...

The monorail is a plus walt disney world. This is definitely one of the best things you find when you get there. Need an upgrade, yes, I agree ... but the maintenance is just right because of the number of passengers carried daily.
I too would like to move to the Mark VIII what new paths ... I see it very unlikely because of the costs involved.

SK said...

What planet is Don on??? They are the envy of the theme park world, not the laughing stock. Just take a look at the attendance figures. Disney had over twice the worldwide attendance of it's nearest competitor in 2013. Attendance was up 4.8% in 2014! That doesn't sound like a laughing stock to me... or anyone else

Anonymous said...

Sk, they may not be a laughing stock, but Don is correct, they are no longer keeping the parks up. The monorail is just a small part of if. There was a business book called "THE MAGIC KINGDOM" and it told all the things they did to make the parks special. They no longer do many of them. The dont paint any longer at night, wash the outside of the resorts while guests are there, soaking them with water. They have gone downhill - regardless of how many people attend.

Anonymous said...

Last Anonymous:

I disagree. I have always found WDW to be top notch in the care of their parks. I doubt the guests are getting soaked with water. That would be really bad for that employee. And just because a book says it is going downhill, doesn't mean it is

Anonymous said...

There is much more and worse than that wrong with those trains. On the a/c topic, condensation isn't possible to change. But the mold in the carpets can be changed or replaced with something else. Try driving them, its worse sometimes. Monorail yellow has a nickname for some called monorail Smellow because of the unbearable smells. These are mostly caused from the a/c over time and is well know to the pilots and maintenance. The fact is, this system doesn't get the proper care because of a few reasons. 1. Money, disney doesn't want to invest in things unless they have to or it will make them more money. This has not been a Family ran company for a while. It is a true penny pinching corporation. 2 staffing. Maintenance doesn't have time to daily checks at night and work on problems too. There are many more problems that I could go on and on about. For those that think the DLand mark7 can run on wdw beams they cant. So that is not an option. Wdw chose the lowest bidder, at the time bombardier, to make these trains. You truley get what you pay for. For those that think the trains are reliable and have some sorta 90%+ running record, haha thats a joke, that is a figure that is made only when the monorail is not hooked up to a tractor. Some frequent annual passholders have noticed the trains go down all the time and go in and out of monorail shop multiple times a day. In reality it is a joke. And I love the monorails. Its sad to say all this but its true. They need to make a new train and replace the beams. That would have been my plan. But if they don't I can garentee it will bite them in the ass. Lets just hope when it does no one gets hurt.

Anonymous said...

I feel the condition of the monorail trains is good considering that most of the current fleet of Mark VI trains are from as early as 1989. There are literally millions of riders per year traveling on the WDW monorail system.

The big issue is their inability to be flexible. Some of my worst stay have been @ the Contemporary where I am limited to transportation to Epcot via the monorail. If you catch it at the right time it can take well over an hour to get from the CR to Epcot which has happened a few times to me. When trains switch from the garage service beam all the way over to the Epcot beam it requires time. All monorail traffic is held during beam switching which in this case is 2 track changes. Add this to MMK emptying prior to a holiday party and the monorails are backed up. Then if a train breaks down or has trouble it really throws a wrench into the mix. Busses are not the most magical systems of transport, but extra busses can be added or rerouted in seconds if changes arise and if one breaks down another can simply go around it.

Hopefully the new automation systems will allow much quicker changes. I enjoy the monorails and hope at some point the system as a whole can be updated and become more efficient since it has been more than 40 years.

Anonymous said...

I do love the monorails, I have a picture of me in the pilot's seat from a long time ago, when they used to allow people in the nose seating area. My only real issue I've ever had with them is that there's generally a piss smell in them, whether its the real deal or just stinky tourists, they almost always seem to have that smell.....

JEANY SANCHEZ said...

I love those monorails in Disney World and I hope the cast members can clean the monorails up or updated to new monorails in Disney World.

Anonymous said...

7 days last week.. only rode the monorail once. I was stunned. In previous trips, the monorail was a great ride. It was down once, and by the time they got us onto a ferry boat, it was back up. Other times it is over crowded. We took the resort bus to the MK. It was much, much faster than driving.

As for Mk VII trains... you do realize that the Disneyland Monorail is a different design. They would not work at WDW at all.

herschen said...

I spoke to a cast member on the monorail. The Mark VII is too small for Disney World. The Mark VII goes from Downtown Disney to Tomorrowland. If it shut down, it would not devastate the park. He also told me that the company that built the monorails for Disney World, Bombardier, no longer builds them. The last project they worked on was the Las Vegas monorail. Since the Disney World system consists of 11 monorails, they are not going to be able to find a company to put together an assembly line. The only way that they are going to get new monorails is if another system elsewhere is built and they piggyback on that production. Unfortunately, there aren't any monorails on the horizon; light rail has been proven to provide all the benefits of the monorail without the huge cost. The good news is that the monorail at Disney World has about 20 more years before the frames start failing and Disney has developed a "shop" on site to handle any and all mechanical problems. Hopefully this post explains why Disney has their hands tied in regards to poor conditions on the monorail.

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