Monorail

June 1959 – present

LOCATION

Tomorrowland – To board from inside the park, head toward the rear of Tomorrowland, near the lagoon. You’ll find the Monorail sign and a ramp to the platform on the left, between the Finding Nemo Submaring Voyage and Autopia.

Downtown Disney – To board from Downtown Disney, head toward the ESPN Zone. You’ll find the loading platform on your right, next to the Rainforest Café.

BACKGROUND

Originally, the Monorail fit in perfectly with Tomorrowland’s emphasis on future technology; Walt believed monorail systems would become a common method of public transportation in the near future. However, with the rise in popularity of major highways, the Monorail instead became a symbol associated with Disney parks.

When the Monorail first opened in 1959, it had no transportation function at all; it was a sightseeing attraction that completed a small loop around Tomorrowland. But in 1961, Disney opened the Disneyland Hotel station (now the Downtown Disney station), officially marking the Monorail as a transportation vehicle for resort guests.

As the resort has expanded, including the opening of a new park and two new hotels, the Monorail’s track has remain largely unchanged. Instead, the resort built around the Monorail, and guests now get a tour right through the heart of the resort.

EXPERIENCE

Details:

  • Single Rider Line – no
  • Fast Pass – no
  • Height Requirement – none
  • Duration – 11:00

Guests can board the Monorail in Tomorrowland or in Downtown Disney. From either stop, guests embark on a 10-minute tour of the Disneyland Resort, including views of Downtown Disney, the Grand Californian Hotel, Grizzly Peak, Buena Vista Street, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland. The narrated tour provides a glimpse of park history, shares resort trivia, and points out park landmarks visible from the track. When the ride comes to an end, guests can choose to disembark or complete the full circuit around the resort (Note: you can only stay on if you’re in Downtown Disney; all Tomorrowland riders must disembark. On crowded days, you may be required to disembark at both stops).

MY RATING: ★★★★☆

The Monorail is fun to ride, and offers some really unique views of the park. The narration is interesting, and taking the Monorail from one end of the resort to another gives your feet a much-needed break. However, it doesn’t stop in California Adventure, even though the track leads right through two of its lands. If the Monorail stopped in California Adventure, I would up this rating to five stars.

VISITING TIPS

As the day goes on, lines for the Monorail steadily increase, with peak lines around dinnertime. However, the cars accommodate over 100 passengers per trip, and makes return trips fairly quickly. So long as the park isn’t extraordinarily crowded, you shouldn’t have much trouble getting on. If the park is extremely crowded and you want to take a trip on the Monorail, try riding at lunchtime or in the late morning.

TRIVIA

At the opening ceremony, the massive ceremonial scissors couldn’t cut the ribbon, so Walt tore it with his hands.

The Monorail has had several generations of vehicles: Mark I (1959-1961), Mark II (1961-1968), Mark III (1968-1985), Mark V (1985-2007), Mark VII (2007-present). Mark IV and Mark VI models operated in Walt Disney World, but never serviced passengers on the west coast.

When the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage opened in 2002, the Monorail sported yellow and blue paint to match the submarines. And when Cars Land opened in 2012, the Monorails received temporary decals giving each vehicle eyes and a mouth.

Monorail

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