Fun Facts and Secrets About Disney Monorails

Orig Art
Original Art

  1. There are two monorails systems at WDW. The first (and obvious one) is the concrete-beam Bombadier transporation system around the property. The second is the pirate ships of Peter Pan's Flight.
    REPORTED: Mark Thompson 09 JUL 01
  2. How awesome is it that the DIsneyland Monorails are getting a make over? Internally I mean. They are getting a new guidance system in order for each train to have a sensor on the beam. The driver will then know if the train is approaching an area of the beam where another train is at. Unfortunately, when the trains return in March, they will still run on the one-way route to the new Downtown Disney station and back to Tomorrowland. That means long lines again for the Monorail.
    REPORTED: Tadao 15 FEB 00
  3. I have been to Walt Disney World four times since 1994, and on our first visit, in March 1994, and our most recent visit, in October 2000, my family and I have gotten to sit in the front of the monorail. The first visit, we went with my aunt and uncle (who go to WDW 2 times every year) and they asked if we could sit in the front since it was our first time. On the latest visit, my best friend came with us (her first visit), and she wanted to sit up front, too, so we asked again and got to sit up front. The secret is to get to the monorail line early, so you can get to the cast members first and ask to sit in the front.
    REPORTED: Sarah 03 FEB 01
  4. When the driver comes into the station with his arms folded in a "X" against his chest. The passengers in the front car will not be getting off so no one else can sit up front. A monorail operator told me this secret.
    REPORTED: David Kalina 15 JUL 97
  5. I would like to set the record straight on the voice. Throughout the 1970's and into the 1980's the voice heard on all Disney monorails, as well as most all the voiceover work for all the parks was the legendary "Voice of Disney", Jack Wagner. I have had the privilege of working with him many times through the years. One interesting side note is that Jack's home in Southern California was one of the first uses for a direct audio link from a remote recording studio. It was put in by Disney in the 70's and connected a voiceover booth in his home to Studio D at Disneyland in Anaheim. He frequently would receive last minute calls for special events and was able to just walk over to the booth and "beam" it directly to the park. Anyhow, with the amount of work that Florida was generating after Epcot and the Studios opened, plus the fact that Jack wanted to head towards retiring sometime, other voice talent was sought out locally in Florida. There have been several people used in voiceover work since then, one of them being Kevin Miles, who is one of the original members of the Voices of Liberty at Epcot, and can still be heard there daily. Kevin recorded the monorail voiceovers after the Grand Floridian was built, and his voice was still there until the 25th Anniversary rolled around, when it was updated by one of the new voiceover talents. The amount of voiceover work at the parks now is astronomical, and it is shared by a couple of people who have "the voice", including Kevin. Interestingly enough, though, Jack's voice can still be heard welcoming everyone to Orlando on the monorails at the airport terminals.
    REPORTED: Tom 25 JUL 97
  6. The monorail is kept at 45mph in regular service because of wear and tear (anyway the rides already bumpy imagine it faster).
    REPORTED: Justin Naranjo 10 JUN 99
    I have been reading the speeds posted for monorail travel. The actual speed that a monorail travels with passengers never exceeds 21mph. If it does the emergency shutdown system kicks in and the monorail stops on the track. It must then be restarted completely.
    UPDATE: Joshua 25 JAN 01
  7. How do the Monorails keep from crashing into each other?

    On the beamway at certain points there are transmitters. These MAPO transmitters send an electrical signal through the track. When a train is on the track, it blocks that signal.

    These transmitters correspond to locations on the beam called Holdpoints. The holdpoints are located at certain numbers, which must all be committed to memory (your memory, not the train's)

    Each train has a receiver that can tell how many of these signals it is receiveing. Say Monorail Red is driving behind Monorail Blue. If there are four transmitters between the trains, Red will only get four signals, because all the signalls ahead of Blue are blocked by that train's presense.

    If Red gets within two holdpoints of Blue, the train's MAPO receiver will say "Hey, you're gettin' close buddy!" and turn on an amber light on the console with a beeping alarm. At that point the driver consults his super-keen monorail-intellect and figures out where the next holdpoint is. He then stops there and tells all the passesngers that the train is "waiting for further traffic clearance."

    If Red doesn't stop at that holdpoint? When he passes over the transmitter at that holdpoint, and his MAPO is then only receiving ONE signal, the train will automatically assume the driver is insane: "Hey this idiot is tryin' ta dent my nose!"

    The train puts on 85-90 psi air brakes and stops on a dime, then you get canned. Well actually you're allowed three "overruns" (the term for crossing the line). If however you do something that is really dangerous, Good Bye. Three overruns is the limit for your entire career. They never go away.

    What do we do with overrun victims? Send 'em to Buses of course!

    What does MAPO stand for?

    MAPO is a subsidiary of WED (Walter Elias Disney) Transportation. The name is short for Mary Poppins.

    The MAPO system is also called the MBS (Moving Blocklight System).
    REPORTED: Chris 13 FEB 00

  8. In the event of a fire in mid-track on a monorail, the driver is supposed to get out of his cab, through the side door, climb onto the roof of the train, and go to each car to help people out. He then takes a rope, which goes over the nose of the monorail, and people climb down, then walk along the track to safety.
    REPORTED: Jeff Schultz 01 MAY 97
    If there is an emergency you have to open the hatch on the roof and crawl to the cab of the monorail, there is lanyard that attaches to the roof of the cab and to a latch by the headlight, this is stowed under the drivers seat. After going down the lanyard, you have to walk (or crawl) along the beam to the nearest station. There is no provision for people in wheelchairs or people with babies. They have to wait for the tow train.
    CONFIRMED: Justin Naranjo 10 JUN 99
  9. Actually I was at WDW, and thile I was riding in the front of the monorail a maintenance guy was up there, I asked him what the fastest a monorail can do. He told me the story about how when they first got them, they removed all the fail-safes and got it to 69m.p.h. on the straightaway at epcot.
    REPORTED: Jeff Schultz 23 JUN 97 pict from pict from
  10. The monorail operator isn't required to let you sit in the front, but if you ask nicely and you are the first person(s) to get there, he will usually oblige you. The operator's cabin can seat 5 people comfortably, or 7 uncomfortably. Most of the seating is in the form of a U-shaped couch that faces backwards. If you do manage to get seated in the cabin it's a real treat. The operator has very little to do and most of them like to talk.
    REPORTED: Anthony Spataro 27 MAY 97
    I'm sure it's not that big of a secret, but you would be surprised at how many people don't know that you can ride in the front of the monorail with the driver if you simply ask.
    CONFIRMED: Chris Chappa 29 MAY 97
    Sometimes if you ride in the front of the monorail, you receive a special conductors card from the conductor of the monorail.
    UPDATE: Anne Pezzano 31 AUG 98
    CONFIRMED: mickeyden 29 JUL 99
    CONFIRMED: Mark 06 MAR 01
    I was fortunate enough to be a part of the Walt Disney World Millenium Celebration. My parents, my best friend, and I enjoyed EVERYTHING Disney for 2 wonderful weeks. We spent the first 10 days of our vacation at the theme parks, and we enjoyed everysecond of it! I must say it was the best vacation of my life. Our last five days were spent abord the Disney Magic... perhaps the best part of my summer vacation. All four of us had such a wonderful time! I just wanted to set one thing straight about the monorail system. Although it is a special privilege to sit in the front car of the monorail with the conductor, it is not a hard feat to achieve. You simply walk to the front of the boarding area and tell the cast member (s) that you would like to sit in front. You may have to wait if there are others in front of you, but the employees have absolutely no problem with it. Monorail cars fit four comfortably, six people if you squeeze. Some conductors hand out little "license's"
    UPDATE: Jess 01 APR 01
  11. Walt Disney World's Monorail line was upgraded from Mark 4 to Mark 6 Monorails in 1991.
    REPORTED: Tom & Renée Shaw 26 DEC 98
  12. Walt Disney World's Monorail line is 13 miles long and has 12 monorails each carrying 300 people per train.
    REPORTED: Tom & Renée Shaw 26 DEC 98
  13. Walt Disney World's Mark 6 Monorails travel on two tires per car at each end. The tires are the same that are used on large cement mixing trucks.
    REPORTED: Tom & Renée Shaw 27 DEC 98
    The monorails use regular truck tires for their drive wheels, they are frequently used as a testbed for expirimental tires.
    CONFIRMED: Justin Naranjo 10 JUN 99 Precast
  14. Walt Disney World's original Monorail tracks were cast offsite but the Epcot extension was cast on property.
    REPORTED: Tom & Renée Shaw 27 DEC 98 Precast
  15. If a monorail breaks down at Walt Disney World, there is a special tractor stored in the Monorail Barn to pull the broken monorail back for maintenance.
    REPORTED: Tom & Renée Shaw 27 DEC 98
    There are indeed 3 diesel tractors that will pull monorails in case of a failure. They connect to the monorail via a coupler that is located along the "skirt" next to the track.
    CONFIRMED: Justin Naranjo 10 JUN 99
  16. A Cast Member noted that the EPCOT station design doesn't allow for expansion stating that it was built backwards from the original design specs, ( I always wondered why the trains run "english style" on the left! ). I tried to confirm this "backwards" statement with another monorail driver, he didn't dismiss that backwards statement outright he just said that with lack of repair parts further expansion was too expensive. Interesting but sad for the monorail fans out there!
    REPORTED: Timothy O'Massey 04 MAR 98
  17. The latest on the MGM/Animal Kingdom Monorail... I talked to a CM who said that he'd seen conceptual drawings a long time ago of a MGM Monorail and doesn't really seem to doubt that there could be another circuit (or addition to current circuit; however unlikely) that would possibly connect Downtown Disney, MGM, Animal Kingdom and maybe a resort or two. On the con side, he also said that it would be seriously unlikely to happen soon because of the contruction problems Disney had with building the Epcot circuit: The Epcot monorail track was built by two separate crews. The studs and tracks crews. The studs crews would lay the studs for the monorails one day, and the tracks crews would lay the tracks on top of the section the studs crews did the previous day. What happened was the tracks crew came to work one day, but when they got to the section they were to work on, there were no studs there! As it turned out, a large portion of the WDW property has very unstable soil; the studs had sunk into the ground over night. So Disney apparently spent tons of mony to brings in heaps of firm dirt to put in the ground so the monorail track could be placed. So, Disney will be very reluctant to do that again. My take on this is that they probably won't build any more monorail tracks until either they see what kind of profit they make with Animal Kingdom (I plan to be there Opening Day.) or until they have a fifth park in operation.
    REPORTED: Skunk Nut 22 FEB 98
  18. Does anyone else notice that if you ride in the nose-cone or tail-cone (front or back) of the Disneyland Monorail, its a lot more rocky and bouncy? As opposed to the middle cars? Just wondered if anyone noticed.
    REPORTED: Tadao 08 NOV 99
  19. On the monorail, the flashing lights on the top of the front and back cabins are signals for the TTC (Ticket and Transportation Center). The GREEN lights are RESORT MONORAILS;the RED lights are MAGIC KINGDOM MONORAILS; the ORANGE lights are EPCOT MONORAILS. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
    REPORTED: Holden 21 APR 02

pict from Where to next?

For web page problems contact

For web problems contact the
Web page ©1995-2009 by T.R. Shaw. All rights Reserved, USA and Worldwide