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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.

The hotel that was originally planned as the Legendary Years and the second half of Pop Century sat abandoned and forlorn for many years. Eventually it became known as Disney’s ghost hotel with the occasional brave soul venturing inside to take spooky videos of the partially constructed buildings.

Now Disney is in the middle of finishing the hotel, but not as the Legendary Years. Instead it will become the Art of Animation Hotel and feature some regular value rooms, but also a new type of room at Walt Disney World, the family suite.

Here’s a video from Jeff Lange showing construction going on at the site earlier today.

Come below the jump for concept artwork: