All aboard for the final article in this series: the Top 5 Trains at Walt Disney World Resort. Walt Disney was a train fanatic, so it’s only logical they would be prominent features in his theme parks. You know, he built his first thrill ride, the 1/8 scale Carolwood Pacific Railroad, in his own backyard years before opening Disneyland Resort. Proof positive that Walt, like Peter Pan, never wanted to grow up!
Walt’s favorite tops today’s Top 5:
1.) The Walt Disney World Railroad – Like its Disneyland counterpart, the Walt Disney World Railroad encircles Magic Kingdom Park, delivering Guests to convenient locations in the different lands and stopping every four to ten minutes on its 1.5-mile track. Its four antique, steam-powered engines, the Walter E. Disney, the Lilly Belle, the Roy O. Disney, and the Roger E. Broggie, were built in the United States around the turn of the 20th century and serviced the United Railways of Yucatan in Mexico until Disney purchased them in 1969.
Did you know? A cattle car, gondola, and a piece of track from Walt’s backyard set can be seen in the Carolwood Pacific Railroad Room at the Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
2.) The monorail – The monorail takes Walt’s train passion and kicks it up a big Disney notch. It was originally conceived as the public transportation of the future, meant to service residents of Walt’s Environmental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, but has come to be a “wienie,” representative of the Most Magical Place on Earth.
Did you know? Until an unfortunate accident a couple years back, Guests were able to request a ride up front with the engineer. You may still ask to be shown the controls, and even get your picture taken with the driver.
3.) Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover – I’m not really sure if the PeopleMover qualifies as a train; however, it was another of Walt’s dreams and passions, and it does, well, move people from one place to another on a track, so in my book, it counts! Walt’s PeopleMover was originally intended to be the primary locomotion of the internal section of Walt’s E.P.C.O.T., carrying workers and residents throughout the business center of the community. At Magic Kingdom, it’s a great place to kick back, relax, and people-watch.
Did you know? Tomorrowland Transit Authority received the 2004 Disney Magazine Reader’s Choice Award for the Most Underrated Attraction at Magic Kingdom Park.
4.) Wildlife Express Train – Well, Walt had no hand in planning Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but he would enjoy the steam train that treks to and from Rafiki’s Planet Watch. This rustic journey takes Guests up close and behind the scenes of the care and handling of more than 1,000 animals.
Did you know? The Wildlife Express Train’s three engines and two sets of cars were built in 1997 a few miles from William Shakespeare’s Stratford-on-Avon cottage at Alchester, England.
5.) Tying for fifth position are Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain because I just couldn’t cut either off the list. – These two were both featured on the Top 5 Mountains list from last week. They’re the double threat! Big Thunder‘s runaway mine train sends ’49-ers careening down gorges, through canyons, and around hairpin turns at speeds of 25-30 mph. On Expedition Everest, Guests dare to face the 18-foot Yeti and get hurtled through dark twists and turns before safely returning to base camp.
Did you know? Big Thunder Mountain‘s set is decorated with authentic 1800s mining tools and instruments. To the people of the mountainous regions of southwestern China, Nepal, India, and Tibet, the Yeti is both real and mythical, being more revered than feared.
I hope you’ve enjoyed a look at my Top 5’s! If you missed any, you can check them out now: Top 5 Flying Rides, Top 5 Boat Rides, and Top 5 Mountains at Walt Disney World Resort. Did your favorites make the lists?
Jodi Whisenhunt’s MAGICAL MOUSE SCHOOLHOUSE: Learn While You Play at Walt Disney World Resort is now available in print and can be purchased at CreateSpace and Amazon. (Kindle version coming soon!) Come, think outside the textbook and stretch the walls of your home classroom with Walt Disney entertainment!