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The Monorails Must Roll

The monorail station could be looking like this a lot more when Disney institutes its new reduced hours for the trains.
The monorail station could be looking like this a lot more when Disney institutes its new reduced hours for the trains.

One of my favorite Robert Heinlein short stories is “The Roads Must Roll.” Written in 1940, it speculates about a rapid transit system that would move people across the country in speed and comfort. The high speed nature of the rolling roads meant that maintenance was a huge deal. When the employees decided to organize for better working conditions, well, the shit hits the fan. In some ways it foretold the air controller strike of the Reagan era. These days there is an odd tie-in to the Walt Disney World monorails system too.

Walt Disney World just announced they would be reducing the operating hours of their monorail fleet. They used to run 1.5 hours after the parks closed or after the last scheduled event (extra magic hours, christmas party, etc). Sometimes these hours were stretched even further on the EPCOT line. Now they will all shut down 1 hour after the posted closing time for the park with no allowance for extra magic hours or other events. Guests will be placed on buses or water craft to be returned to their hotels or the TTC and EPCOT parking lots.

Initially, there was a lot of outcry directed at Disney for reducing benefits to resort and park guests at the same time they are raising prices, but soon word leaked out that there was an important reason behind the shift. The reason? The monorail fleet is just breaking down under the strain.

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The Five Biggest Needs at Walt Disney World

With all the new DVC Resorts, what does WDW need to do?

A few weeks ago during a quarterly results call Disney CEO Bob Iger seemed to imply that once the Magic Kingdom’s new Fantasyland is done and California Adventure’s remake is complete that will be the end of major projects for the parks, at least for a while. I’m not sure he’s taking into account the long list of work that needs to be done.

The list of small projects that could make a trip to Walt Disney World better for the guest is nearly endless. It ranges from little things that could be done better (parking guests at the back of the parking lot when whole sections closer to the gate are still open, bringing back the Country Bear Holiday Show) to large projects (building that bowling alley at ESPN WWOS, a new country or two at EPCOT). But I wanted to focus on the largest needs, those that would make the biggest difference in guest experience.

So follow me below the jump for five suggestions I think WDW should commit to:

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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… Read More »Disney World signs on to High Speed Rail