View Full Version : Bullet train approved

10-27-2003, 02:01 PM
Business - AP

Fla. Bullet Train to Run to Disney Resort
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By MIKE BRANOM, Associated Press Writer

ORLANDO, Fla. - A proposed bullet train across central Florida will run directly to the Walt Disney World resort from Orlando International Airport, bypassing the taxpayer-funded Orange County Convention Center en route to Tampa, a state panel voted Monday.

The Florida High Speed Rail Authority's 7-1 decision ended a debate that has simmered since voters, in a constitutional amendment passed in 2000, mandated the construction of a bullet train network spanning the state.

Disney sold the authority on the potential revenue gained if the train's first leg followed the Central Florida GreeneWay toll road from the airport, instead of taking the Beeline Expressway to the convention hall, located in the International Drive tourist district in Orlando.

The resort promised to place on the trains 2.2 million riders a year, people who currently are bused to their destinations by Disney. The convention center could offer less than a quarter of those "captive riders," giving the GreeneWay route a projected advantage in annual revenues of $55.1 million compared to $40.6 million for the convention center stop.

The resort also promised to donate 50 acres of land for a station at the confluence of three major traffic arteries: Interstate 4, U.S. Highway 192 and the Osceola Parkway.

The state predicts the rail leg could cost as much as $2.5 billion. High-speed rail has been decried as a boondoggle by Gov. Jeb Bush and many legislators since its approval by the voters.

The two contractors vying to run the system are Fluor-Bombardier, builder of the nation's only current bullet train line, the Northeast corridor's Acela; and Global Rail Consortium, a partnership of several firms that has no experience in developing a system on the scale projected for Florida.

10-27-2003, 05:24 PM
From articles long ago, Disney threatened to make "complimentory" transportation from the airport as part of all bookings so as to keep the 2.2 million passengers off the train if they were to route it to the Convention center first. They played serious hardball and apparently it worked. Wonder how Mears feels about all this ?

10-27-2003, 05:39 PM
I wonder where the WDW station will be and how Disney plans to transport all of these people and their luggage to their resorts? And I wonder what it will cost?

10-27-2003, 06:06 PM
High-Speed Rail has incredible potential, not just in Central Florida but across the nation. Typically, it seems, the general public (the "voters") know this already, but often the elected officals lag behind. Florida is apparently no exception.

I'm far less enthused about the two contractors bidding for this contract. As noted above Global Consortium has no experience (never a good thing in passenger rail) while the other, Bombardier, brags that it built the Acela trains. Thing is, they shouldn't be bragging. The Acela trainsets are truly an abomination of a design if there ever was one.

10-27-2003, 06:08 PM
If the numbers in the article are correct, $2.2 million generating $55.1 million in revenues, then we're talking about $25 per person.

Of course, I can't figure out how the convention center's less than 550,000 passengers could have generated $40.6 million in revenue.

What's wrong with the Acela trains? I thought the problems were mostly with the limitations of existing tracks, not the trains themselves.

10-27-2003, 06:35 PM
I wonder where they are figuring the other 25 million is going to be coming from to operate it yearly. They said that it will cost about $75 million a year.

10-27-2003, 08:21 PM
This entire project is a D-O-G voted in by the same buffoon voters that voted for Al Gore. :crazy: (sorry, could not resist).

The estimates for the entire project range from 1 to 6 B-B-BILLION dollars. Simply put, no one knows how much the freakin' thing will cost!!!!

If routing the thing through Disney World puts more riders on it, so much the better. The less of my tax dollars that will have to subsidize the thing.

IMHO, there is absolutely ZERO chance this thing will even come close to breaking even, and I'll be paying for it forever.

10-27-2003, 08:22 PM
Does anyone know how long until this will be completed?

10-27-2003, 11:10 PM
Speaking from our experience in traveling through Europe this summer, hopping on and off trains with our luggage was a nightmare. I'll stick with the towncar service for now.

10-28-2003, 05:24 AM
Originally posted by mom2rb
Does anyone know how long until this will be completed?

An Associated Press article says as early as December 2008.

10-28-2003, 09:40 AM
Originally posted by JimB.
This entire project is a D-O-G voted in by the same buffoon voters that voted for Al Gore. :crazy: (sorry, could not resist).

Curious - looking at the election results I see counties like Hillsborough and Brevard overwhelmingly approving the rail line, and they voted for Bush. Palm Beach County, which is about as Democrat as you can get, voted against it. Now, in Florida vote counts may not mean much, but those margins are pretty comfortable.

10-28-2003, 11:42 AM
wdwguide -

Sorry, I should have labeled the first sentence of my post "sarcasm" for your benefit.

Palm Beach County, which is about as Democrat as you can get, voted against it.

The voters of Palm Beach county have probably seen the success (or lack thereof) of major mass transit projects in South Florida.

My point is, is that this entire project is built on a house of cards and is destined for failure. The ridership projections are, IMHO, immensly optimistic at best, and borderline fraudulent at worst.

It's the same line of utopian garbage that was used to sell the "People Mover" project in Jacksonville, which, while looking really neato, has ridership volume of around 10% of what was projected "Pre-construction"

Unless the train can deliver people to their front door, or have trains leaving stations as often as flights leave airports, it simply will have no appeal to the public at large..........................

10-28-2003, 11:54 AM
***", or have trains leaving stations as often as flights leave airports, it simply will have no appeal to the public at large.........................."***

Good point. we complain now if we have to wait 20 minutesfor a busto the MK. Can you imagine waiting an hour or so just to exit the airport ?

10-28-2003, 03:32 PM
I wonder if Disney is looking at ridership on trains from the airtports to the parks in Japan and France for projections for ridership in Florida. It seems to me that the best way to get to the foreign parks from the airport is via the train, and I bet that, if given the option, most foreign visitors would opt for the train in Florida over town car or rental - it's something they know and understand, while here in the US I think we're more apt to rent a car than hop a train.

How many of us take the train to DLP or TDR when we're overseas? Now I know these are more compact than WDW, but I think that, if given the choice and I could get to my resort from the airport without having to rent a car by using the train and Disney busses, I would do so without a second thought.

If they're not planning on having service until 2008, they've got some time to work out the problems and make it a magical Disney experience! :)


10-28-2003, 04:02 PM
Originally posted by JimB.
wdwguide -

Sorry, I should have labeled the first sentence of my post "sarcasm" for your benefit.

It's just one of my pet peeves - don't take it personally.
I don't care what people vote for as long as they do vote. It's those who stay at home and then complain about the government they didn't participate in forming who, IMHO, deserve to be made fun of.

10-29-2003, 06:31 AM
How many of us take the train to DLP or TDR when we're overseas?The difference for me is that in Tokyo and Paris I was already staying in those cities - not coming from the airport as I would be in Florida - so the subway in Tokyo and the RER in Paris were the perfect ways to go. And neither one is high-speed - though they are efficient.

At $25 bucks a pop (one way or return?) I still think groups would opt for the Town Car service to take you right to your hotel lobby. I also wonder how Disney will offer transportation at their end. Taxi? Bus? That won't work.

10-29-2003, 08:08 AM
Pulling off the transitions would make or break this plan. But, just imagine:

When you get your WDW package confirmation materials, you get bar-coded luggage tags for your WDW destination, and your train tickets.

At the airport, your luggage is separated out and whisked to the train, while you stroll through the airport to the train station. If there is a wait at the train station (the trains run every half-hour), you can stop at the Disney Guest Services counter to check in to your resort, buy admission tickets, etc.

At the WDW station, if you have not yet checked in, you can do so there. Then, you catch a bus/light rail/monorail to the park of your choice. When you return to your room, your luggage has already been delivered.

Now, if they could only figure out how to make a grocery stop.

10-29-2003, 08:22 AM

I think your scenarios are very plausible. I can easily see a "Disney terminal" at the airport where guests would go to accomplish all of the items you mentioned.

The grocery visit comment made me laugh. But this could be a big selling point for Disney. We are DVC members and get a lot of our groceries from the DVC general stores or often by ordering via the fax before we ever arrive. Our groceries are delivered after we check in. If Disney can make this a painless process that is not overly expensive, they could make a nice buck while making our lives a little easier.

10-29-2003, 09:06 AM
I foresee long lines at least at first. I also think that the luggage would be brought to a holding area at the resort because you wouldn't be checked in yet so that would be another place to wait in line.

But maybe Disney can work it all out. And maybe some people will quit using Mears to actually ride this thing. ;) Is it $25 a person one way?

10-29-2003, 09:43 AM
I don't think people would be keen on 1/2 hour waits, unless as you say you spend the time checking in. But what if a train is leaving right away and you're in the check-in line? I agree that the transportation at the Disney end could make or break the concept - and if they take your luggage of your hands.

10-29-2003, 09:53 AM
The half-hour intervals, of course, are purely conjecture, but I really don't see that being a big deal. It's probably a 25-minute max, and for most would be less, and you'd be comparing it to waiting for your luggage and then getting to your Mears ride. It would probably be much less wait than renting a car. And, since it's a bullet train, it's a much faster ride, with no traffic to contend with.

10-29-2003, 09:56 AM
I wonder where the 50 acres is. Is it on the West side of I-4, between Wide World of Sports and Pop Century? Or does Disney own the land north of Celebration on the East side of I-4?

How about a new resort that you could walk into from the train station?

10-29-2003, 10:04 AM
Just doing the simple math leads me to believe this is a round trip number. If Disneys 2.2 mil guests are to generate 55 mil in revenue, 25 per trip would generate 110 mil.

10-29-2003, 10:37 AM
Where else will the train stop? Are tax payers shelling out $6 BIL to run a train just for WDW sake?

10-29-2003, 11:25 AM
viking--But, it's 2.2 million RIDERS. Does that count each way separately?

lucky_bunni--It's part of a major statewide project. See:


In 2002, the Florida High Speed Rail Authority Act stated that the first phase of the system to be built would be from Tampa to Orlando with an extension to St. Petersburg. The Authority refers to the first leg from Tampa to Orlando as Phase 1, Part 1. The extension to St. Petersburg is Phase 1, Part 2. The graphic below indicates the general alignment that was defined in the planning phase for St. Petersburg to Orlando. The white circles indicate possible station locations along the route.

10-29-2003, 11:45 AM
**"Where else will the train stop? Are tax payers shelling out $6 BIL to run a train just for WDW sake?"**

Basically: No to the first question,Yes to the 2nd. But Florida believes they can make the line profitable doing this so for them it is a business decision,not a Disney favor. Time will tell. They are also looking at creating jobs during the construction phase and afterwards.

10-29-2003, 01:03 PM
I'm a proponent of high-speed rail especially after having seen it in action in other countries. It would be wonderful for Florida to be progressive and perhaps set the standard in North America.

The concept has been discussed in Canada but the government rejects it - their solution being to build more and more roads until they all converge and lay on top of each other. This goes back to the 1970s when they looked at the L.A. freeway system as nirvana. I'm pretty sure I'll be riding it in Florida before I ever ride it in Canada. I've bascially given up long distance travel around Ontario because the arteries are all clogged with mammoth transport trucks.

Perhaps this would inspire Disney to expand the monorail system so you could be taken from the train depot to various points on WDW property with a minimum of effort.

11-01-2003, 11:10 PM
I heard something about this a few days ago (i dont remember where), and there was something about Disney ending its deal with Mears to allow their busses to transport guests from the Airport directly to the hotel lobby. This was part of the deal they cut to keep a station from being placed near the other I-4 Parks and the Convention Center. They will however continue their deal with Mears on the Cruise Line Transportation and on Taxi service. From what I heard, Disney plans to have trains coming into the station on WDW property, and then running Disney Transports from the station to hotels. At least this will cut down on fumes from the Mears busses. I hate those things. I would think that the railroad would set up a more frequent schedule and operate similar to an urban transit system with trains departing for Disney every 20-30 minutes.

As for $25 for a round trip ticket, I dont think that is too expensive, after all, its $19 one way or $29 round trip on a Mears bus.