Check out the train attraction at Disney World!
Right now, guests at Disney can see the Walt Disney World Railroad up close and personal! Normally, the trains transport guests to and from three stations in the Magic Kingdom: the Main Street Station, the Frontierland Station, and the Fantasyland Station. The relaxing, 20-minute, 1.5-mile scenic round-trip tour became a staple for visitors over the years, and the young and old alike looked forward to their time aboard these iconic pieces of Disney history.
Due to construction, the trains are currently serving as temporary static displays. Even though guests won’t be able to ride them again until next year, they DO get the rare opportunity to examine their exquisite details up close! With no rush of people entering and exiting the train, guests can take their time taking selfies and meandering around the platform.
Walt Disney Loved Trains – Almost As Much As His Wife!
Walt was an avid train enthusiast from a young age. When he was fifteen, he got a summer job working as a “news butcher”, selling newspapers, snacks, and cigars to passengers. Twelve years later, he was traveling on a train when he came up with the idea of Mickey Mouse.
His original idea was to have a train encircling a “Mickey Mouse Park” near his cartoon studio. His friends, Ollie Johnson and Ward Kimball, were on-board with this as well, having built trains in their backyards.
Later, he built his own small but rideable train in his yard with the help of his friend Roger E. Broggie. His wife wasn’t too pleased, as they planned to lay the tracks right through her rosebushes! In a paltry effort to get her on board with it, he named the train Lilly Belle after her. She was not amused.
Antique Trains at the Disney Theme Parks
When Disneyland was planned out, he had to include a train in his plans. The imagineers decided on two almost full-sized trains that were scale replicas of Lilly Belle. They were named the C.K. Holliday and the E. P. Ripley
For the Walt Disney World railroad, Imagineers decided to upcycle older trains that had already seen their day. The four trains that they found – the Walter E Disney, the Lilly Belle, the Roger E Broggie, and the Roy O Disney – were originally manufactured between 1916 and 1928 at the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia.
The imagineers found the trains in Mexico hauling produce at the time. They then took them to the Tampa Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company for a complete overhaul and restoration before bringing them to their current home in Orlando. Since then, they’ve been regularly maintained, and served to transport guests around the theme park.
A Nostalgic Ride for Park Guests
Since 1971, the Walt Disney World Railroad has been an iconic part of the Magic Kingdom. After guests go through the front gate, they’re greeted by the Main Street Station – situated on a hill and gleaming in the sun. The hill is meticulously landscaped with floral depictions of characters, and the steam from the engines rises in the distance.
The trains were designed to keep the flow of people moving and usher them from the ferry boats and monorails into the park. The height of the station was also built on purpose to block out views of the outside, further heightening guests’ immersive, magical experiences.
Out With the Old, in With The New
In December 2018, the Walt Disney World Railroad closed in order for construction work to be done. The long-awaited Tron Lightcycle Power Run will be finished soon, with its silvery glass dome overhead, and swooping lengths of track.
Because the supports for the roller coaster will need a bit of extra room, construction workers had to move lengths of train track in the way. And as a result, the Walt Disney World Railroad came to a temporary halt.
On the bright side, construction on the new Tron ride is almost finished! There has been a bit of delay with COVID-19, but it’s set to open in 2022! And, the railroad’s opening won’t be much further behind!
As an added perk to the new track for the trains, all four of the steam engines got a new paint job, too! Then they were gone over with a fine-toothed comb in the maintenance garage. But currently, guests can see the Lilly Belle in the Main Street Station up-close and personally!
A Unique Opportunity You Won’t Want to Miss!
Guests may not be able to ride the trains now, but they can actually do MORE than what they could when they were up and running! When the trains were in service, guests rushed onto and off the trains, and were more concerned about seeing the park than taking in the details of the authentic antique steam engines.
What’s more, it’s a perfect backdrop and photo opportunity! Now, you’ll be able to get a clear view, and a glimpse of the Lilly Belle in her newly-restored glory. And you’ll be able to take pictures with it and share them on your favorite social media platform!
Until now, the Walt Disney World Railroad was filled with the hustle and bustle of the passengers. Now that things are more calm, you can stop by and check out all of the details you’ve never seen before! For more information, give us a call at (407) 236–1098 to get a free quote and to book your Disney VIP tour. We’d be happy to help you with any of your vacation-planning needs!