Disney World signs on to High Speed Rail

When the Obama administration announced there was $8 billion in the stimulus package for funding High Speed Rail projects, there was good reason to hope that Central Florida would be receive part of that funding. Now that hope has been given a shot in the arm by the addition of support from the regions 800 lb Gorilla – Walt Disney World.

Disney World was against the previous effort to bring high speed rail to the region because it included a stop near Universal Studios at the Orange County Convention Center; although the reason they gave today for their previous opposition was that they didn’t want a project that would detract, rather than complement, a commuter rail project. Now that there is a good chance the commuter rail project will be approved, Disney no longer opposes the convention center stop. That stop should also put Universal Studios and SeaWorld in the ‘yes’ column for High Speed Rail as well.

The second big sign that Disney World is on board is their willingness to give up to 50 acres of the Walt Disney World property to host a station for the resort area stop. There was no announcement as to where the station would be, but since the train will run down the middle of I-4 for most of the route, it’s likely Disney would want to donate a part of the property they own on the other side of Hwy-192 next to Celebration.

Now I have to wonder if WDW will light a fire under its committee that has been studying the concept of adding a PRT system to the resort. This would be similar to what Disney has called a ‘Peoplemover’ system in the past. I also think that a light rail system running from Disney’s Animal Kingdom to Downtown Disney would be a great addition.

More on the High Speed Rail project and what it means for Central Florida in the Orlando Sentinel.

7 thoughts on “Disney World signs on to High Speed Rail”

  1. This is pretty good news, except for the proposed $20 fare one way. That’s comparable to a Long Island Rail Road fare for the same distance; I would expect a Florida fare to be less expensive.

    I wish they were also discussing a high speed rail alternative to driving ALL the way up I-75 for the trip between Fort Myers and Tampa, but that’s another story!

    Tink *~*~*

  2. This is a STUPID move for Disney and Orlando. Now tourists can stay in Tampa area hotels (near their nice beaches) and take the bullet train to Disney. Orlando’s economy and tourism industry are going to take a big hit because of this!!!

    1. How exactly is it a stupid move? If anything, it would enhance the area as a vacation destination by making beaches, theme parks, and other cities easier to access. I doubt many would opt to commute one hour each way for a multi-night Disney vacation (although some could argue they already do when utilizing the WDW bus system…). The fare would put the kibbosh on that idea real quick $20 x round trip x family of 4 = lots of cash to go back and forth to the beach every single night. Disney has nothing to fear by making the resort easier to access.

  3. I think that any rail system that quickly moves tourists around the state will be good for tourism on a whole in the state. And that’s good for Disney since it will attract more guests in general. At this point I think Disney has shown they’re happy to increase attendance without the capital expenditure of another non-DVC hotel.

Comments are closed.