DEBATE: Disney Monorails. Magical - Yes. But Effective?

Discussion in 'Disney Rumors and News' started by DisneyKidds, Mar 4, 2003.

  1. DisneyKidds

    DisneyKidds <font color=green>The TF thanks DisneyKidds for mo

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    So as not to consume the infrastructure thread with talk of the monrails that should have been, let's give it it's own thread ;).

    You will hardly get an argument that the Disney monorails, as they exist, are Magical :). Who doesn't come away from multiple trips on the monorail with "Por favor mantengase alejado de las puertas" etched into their memory :tongue:. Furthermore, they serve the MK rather well.

    Seeing that monorails are often bantered about as what could have been/could be a solution to the WDW transportation system woes, let's look bit closer at these Magical wonders, and explore from a guest point of view whether they are truely efficient, and could be effectively used on a larger scale. We'll leave all talk of money and cost-benefit aside, leave out the comments about management being too cheap, and look at it from a guest use point of view, and how a resort wide system might be designed from a guests point of view.

    Let me start with these observations regarding the existing monorails.

    1) As stated, the existing monorails are pure Magic (even though I often think they are overrated - but we can talk about that later :eek: ).

    2) Minimum time to make the MK resort loop is 15 minutes, all stops included, no waiting for a train. With a wait and traffic it can take as much as a half hour (I know it can as it happened to us, several times, on different trips).

    3) Minimum TTC to Epcot one way trip, no stops, takes 10 minutes (or is it longer?), again with no waiting for a train.

    If monorails were to be implemented resort wide, I submit that the followig would have to be true (based on logical assumptions which I'm sure everyone will challenge :().

    1) Every venue throughout WDW could not be connected to a single monorail line as it would take way too long to make the loop.

    2) There would have to be a hub somewhere that would connect several different lines. That could be the TTC, or most likely there would be an outlying hub.

    3) There would likely be at least 3 monorail lines. As the MK loop shows, 4 stops over a relatively short distance will take 15 minutes. Take a line that runs beyond Epcot and then stops at 4 places and you would have a half hour trip to the TTC, plus another 10 or so to the MK after connecting at the TTC. As such, the various lines would have to be somewhat contained.

    Practically, you might be able to have one line that extends beyond Epcot to serve the Epcot resorts, as well as MGM. Another line could serve Port Orleans, OKW, CBR, Typhoon Lagoon and DTD. Another line could serve Coronado Springs, Blizzard Beach, the All Stars, AKL and the AK.

    4) Any monorail trip to a theme park would involve one or more transfers.

    There you have it, a bare-bones framework for a monorail system. Given that, one must ask if such a system would be all that efficient. While it would be much more Magical than busses, I have real doubt that it would be as efficient or effective as the current bussing system.

    Take Coronado Springs or AKL under such a system. You'd have to travel the AK line, making several stops along the way, and transfer at the central hub. After making that connection you would travel to the TTC. Another connection gets you to the MK. So, you have two transfers, waiting time for monorails, and 30 minutes of train time. All in all you probably wouldn't get from CS or AKL to the MK in any less than 45 minutes. If that can be done in 20 minutes via bus, would such a monorail system better than the system of busses that currently exists?

    Here is your chance to be transportation infrastructure imagineer for a day. Be practical, and think, would a resort wide monorail system be all that efficient? Furthermore, if it resulted in longer trip times than the busses do, would it be all that Magical?

    I think the monorails that exist to serve the MK are great. They are unique and innovative and serve a contained area in an efficient manner. The monorail that serves Epcot is nice as well, but I always wonder what it's ridership level are and does it really serve that many people. I also often wonder why monorails are not more commonly found throughout the US if they are truely an efficient and effective means of public transportation over a wide area. What do you think? Thoughts, ideas? I know this stuff is very "if pigs could fly", and some people don't like to talk about that sort of stuff, but if monorails ideas are going to keep being talked about, let's really talk about them.

    PS - As stated, let's try to be realistic. For example, trip times could be greatly reduced if a new fandangled high speed monorail was invented. However, that technology doesn't exist today so don't even go there ;).
     
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  3. WebmasterCricket

    WebmasterCricket <font color=blue>Administrator<br><font color=red> Administrator

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    Honestly, I think the monorails are only perceived as magical because they are Disney monorails. I've ridden other things like them and sorry, but they were just like riding a city bus, but slower.
     
  4. BRERALEX

    BRERALEX That's a wrap.

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    I think what makes the monorail magical is the scenery around them. If they created more monorail lines and you'd have to transfer more then one time and it became a logistical nightmare then it would no longer be magical or fun.

    They wouldnt be too effective either if you had to transfer more then once. Tranferring once to a more central statition then the ttc would be acceptable but more then one transfer would just.......suck.

    I think their just isn't an ideal transportation sytem for the way wdw is spread out
     
  5. wdw4us2

    wdw4us2 <font color=blue>Not only a DIS Vet, but a 33 year

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    There was talk a few years ago of moving the TTC to Epcot because it is more centrally located on the property. This would probably be a good thing if the monorail was expanded.

    I don't see the feasibility of having the monorail extended to every resort. However, I do think that it would be workable if it were extended to Disney/MGM Studios and the Epcot Resort Area (Boardwalk, Yacht/Beach). If Epcot were the TTC, people staying at the MK Resort Area could take the monorail to Epcot as well as other resorts and Disney/MGM Studios. Resort to resort travel is probably the biggest deficiency of the current WDW transportation system.

    Just suppose you are staying at the Polynesian and would like to spend some time at Boardwalk to go dancing and drinking after 9 pm. With the current system, you'd have to take a bus to DTD and then catch another bus to Boardwalk and do the reverse on your way back to the resort. Anyone who's ever done this knows that you're looking at a (generally) 1 hour one-way trip. I'm sure that a monorail system would be more efficient time-wise. I'm sure someone will say that you can drive that distance in less time, but my scenario is for people without a designated driver.

    The monorail is also more environmentally friendly that the buses are. Just think of the pollution reduction, fuel consumption and road wear and tear that would occur with the number of bus routes that could be eliminated.

    These are just some random thoughts without taking the costs of monorail expansion into consideration.
     
  6. BRERALEX

    BRERALEX That's a wrap.

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    thats happened to me several times but i dont think it's possible to link the monorail to the boardwalk. If they placed a new ttc at epcot it would have to be by where the epcot parking lot is now right? so then youd have to walk through epcot to get to the boardwalk hotel assuming there are no hotels linked to the monorail. So either way it's a nightmare. plus if epcot closes at 11 but your partying till like 1am your beat to get back to the monorail. you'll have to do the bus thing of hell again.
     
  7. wdw4us2

    wdw4us2 <font color=blue>Not only a DIS Vet, but a 33 year

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    What I meant to say (if it wasn't clear) is that the new TTC would be at Epcot AND the monorail line would be extended to the Epcot Area Resorts as well as Disney/MGM Studios.
     
  8. BRERALEX

    BRERALEX That's a wrap.

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    would it be all the epcot resorts or some of the epcot resorts and is there room to fit a monorail line to handle either and if not then did they map out where they placed everything well enough.

    a monorail line to MGM hell yeah i just didn't think you could fit a line to the epcot resorts. And even if you could then it starts to become an eyesore so many of those grey colored monorail line all over the place
     
  9. mjstaceyuofm

    mjstaceyuofm Mouseketeer

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    DK - you have some real good ideas. I think you've set us out on the right foot.

    My plan is kind of a hybrid between monorails and busses that deviates slightly from your plan. I think it would take a number of lines similar to what you have proposed. Each of these lines would serve a particular area of the world. I would envision three monorail lines: you’d have a line that serves the AK area, one for the Epcot/MGM area and one for the MK area. Each of these lines would have a minimum of three separate stops – the designated park(s) (potentially including water parks and DTD) for that line, a local hub, and a central hub where all three lines would meet. The local hub would serve as a port to load passengers for the resorts in that area. All the resorts for a particular line would have busses that take people from the resorts to its particular monorail line hub. The monorail would then go to the central hub where people could switch to whatever line they wanted to. Now the obvious caveat to this is further proliferation of Baron’s caste system where you’d have certain resorts that have monorails attached (i.e. the existing monorail resorts and maybe AKL on the AK monorail line, Y&BC on the Epcot line…)

    So say you’re at Wilderness Lodge and want to go to CS. You take a bus to the MK monorail line local hub. Take MK monorail to the central hub, switch to the AK monorail line and get off at it’s local hub and take a bus to CS. I know we’re talking about 4 different trips but what this system does is the following:

    1. Eliminate any and all busses at the theme parks/water parks/etc.
    2. Create a continuous loop of localized busses that just frequent hotels.
    3. Reduce the number of busses making long hauls between places like VWL and Epcot/AKL/MGM.
    4. Create a central monorail hub that has no busses.
    5. Create a uniform system in which everyone has to take the monorail to go to a park.

    Hopefully this reduces the number of busses required and gets the busses away from taking those long hauls.

    Realistically, this most likely could not be retrofitted to the existing monorail lines and would require a total re-working of the current monorail system. But were talking hypotheticals here, right??? :crazy:
     
  10. BRERALEX

    BRERALEX That's a wrap.

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    OK. I think they should use a good protion of the epcot parking lot to build TTC 2 (the sequal).

    1.Have one line going to DTD then to MGM and back to epcot a big circle line.

    2. have another line going from epcot ttc to animal kingdom, another nice and smaller loop that goes just to the park and back.

    3. busses to the waterparks.

    4. noone goes to wide world of sports anyways so who cares.
     
  11. mjstaceyuofm

    mjstaceyuofm Mouseketeer

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    Actually, I too like the bus rides myself - leave the driving to someone else. That's good for me...
    Scoop, aren't you a lawyer? You know this would never fly... I can just see the lawsuits now:

    Man taking picture from double decker bus falls out, breaks legs.

    "all I wanted to do was get a picture of the castle...." says man....
     
  12. DisneyKidds

    DisneyKidds <font color=green>The TF thanks DisneyKidds for mo

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    For this reason I believe Disney would be better served by a subway system, rather than monorails. But again you have to consider whether that would be any more efficient than the current WDW transportation systems.

    I work in Manhatten. While the NYC subway system is not as asthetically pleasing as, say, the DC Metro, it is extremely efficient. Every morning I have to go from Grand Central to Penn Station. Maybe a mile. Certainly a much shorther trip than getting form one end of WDW to the other. My subway ride, including a transfer, is 15 to 20 minutes. Even if Disney put in an efficient subway system, guests still wouldn't be able to travel around WDW any quicker than they do now.

    Busses aren't sexy, at least not the bus system Disney has now, but it is hard to say they are inadequate (oops - that is the other thread ;)).
     
  13. BRERALEX

    BRERALEX That's a wrap.

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    subway system sounds mad cool and would be a great way to get around but you miss alot of excitement of the environment. i love that little loop the monorail does around the 'ball' when your pulling into epcot and i love being able to see the mk gates when your pullin into mk.

    a subway sytem would be ideal transportation wise really, (i'll be using them when the car show comes back to the city), but not asthetically pleasing, and i think detrimantal to the experience. there'd be no build up to pulling up to the park. even when your on the resort monorail you know you can look out and see the castle and you can see the rockets in tommorrowland moving and you know the place is alive and your excited (at least i get excited). being underground would take alot away from the experience.

    man that would scare the hell out of me, i'd need some tequilas in me first.
     
  14. DisneyKidds

    DisneyKidds <font color=green>The TF thanks DisneyKidds for mo

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    Interesting ideas Matt. However, here is the problem I see. As it stands now, you get on a bus, you get off at the park. Can't get any simpler than that. As interesting as your plan is, 1) people still have to take a bus, albeit a shorter ride, and 2) after that they have to make a couple of connections. Will that really be a more efficient system than we currently have. Furthermore, is that system going to entice peoople to stop driving. Come next November we'll have 3 kids, and will be pushing 2 strollers. The last thing I'm going to want to do is navigate those strollers thru 2 or three different connection, including a bus. As it is now, I roll out to the car, fold the stroller once, have the kids sit comfy in a car seat, and reload them at the park. An all monorail system where I could keep the kids in the strollers from the time I leave the room to the time I enter the park might entice me to forgo the car.

    Curious, what engineering firm do you work for. I work for one of the biggies headquartered in NY (although I'm an accountant type and not an engineer ;))?
     
  15. DisneyKidds

    DisneyKidds <font color=green>The TF thanks DisneyKidds for mo

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    True, you wouldn't get the same approach as you do on the MK monorail. However, you don't get that on a bus either. Frankly, the highway and traffic view you get from a bus isn't ll that asthetically pleasing either.

    Just think of the incredible things Disney could do with the blank canvas that would be the new underground subway system. If anyone could make the ride magical, make the ride an attraction in and of itself, it would have to be Disney.
     
  16. BRERALEX

    BRERALEX That's a wrap.

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    coughcoughsuckercough. that will be the biggest pain in the booty to keep breaking down the stroller and reloading them. but no matter what you would do you would need to make two transfers with a bigger monorail system.



    no. fun to dream it up but no there would be too many transfers.

    I thought of this of course but having rid the subways many times after awhile you don't even look out the windows and there wouldnt be much room to work with to make it work.

    Of course this is all hypothetical but being that your an engineer is it even possible to really gut out a subway sytem this late in the game with how big wdw has become. and if not does that mean i should hop over to the other thread and bash them for not thinking it out well enough lol.
     
  17. raidermatt

    raidermatt Beware of the dark side. Anger...fear...aggression

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    Again, customer perception = business reality.


    Now, I'll preface my monorail comments by again saying I am not a transportation engineer, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

    However, while transportation engineers are very good at engineering efficient transportation systems, they are not experience at looking at transportation as a "value add" to a resort vacation destination like WDW. As has been pointed out many times, WDW is a unique situation and must be viewed without pre-conceived notions about what works in New York, San Francisco, or Souix Falls.

    Yes, there are things to learn from a city's transportation system, but again, WDW has other factors at play.

    For instance, the quickest route is not ALWAYS going to be the most desireable for WDW guests. Most will sacrifice a few minutes in speed if the experience is upgraded. This dynamic rarely comes into play in transportation systems designed to deal with work commutes.

    So with that in mind...would a WDW-wide monorail make sense for WDW?

    I don't know, but I know it COULD and should be studied in great detail before being dismissed.

    What I can say is that this issues of grey colored monorail lines all over the place can be tossed out immediately. They are considered a bonus by the vast majority of guests who stay at resorts that they are serviced by, and just about everyone of us gets at least a bit of enjoyment at watching a monorail glide by.

    The only pertinent numbers would be the number of people that take it from the MK resorts to Epcot. Its not really a practical option if going from an Epcot resort to MK. I know I said guests will sacrifice a few minutes for Magical transportation, but trying to catch a boat or walk to Epcot's WS, then walk to the front of Epcot to catch the monorail makes it much more than a few minutes difference than the bus. If one could catch a Monorail at the resort itself, that would be a different story.

    All that said, I'll take a look at a map and see what I can propose that would at least be worth considering. But my initial take is to make the Epcot/MGM area the central Monorail hub. All lines would pass through all stations in this area, including the Epcot resorts (deluxes at least) as well as MGM and Epcot.

    From there, the lines would "spoke" out. A line would be one that travels between ends of different spokes (though the spokes would likely still actually be loops). For instance, one might be the MK/AK line. You would NOT need to transfer if traveling from an MK resort to the AK area, or the Epcot area for that matter, since you would pass through it.

    I'll look at it some more later, but that's what comes to mind initially.

    One final thought for now, though...I don't think its really fair to say that at least some Monorail expansion would not be efficient. My understanding is that Disney has indeed worked out some expansion plans, and likely would have implemented them were it not for a reluctance to come up with the up-front capital.
     
  18. Bob O

    Bob O <font color=navy>Voice of Reason<br><font color=re

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    The monorails are very nice and magical but it is impratical from a cost perspective to have one monorail system going to all the parks and all of the resorts.
    Unlike some here i have had no problems with the disney transportation system as it curremtly is and much perfer to drive in my rental car than be on a bus with a bunch of strangers.
    The money disney has available should be used to improve the park's and let the transportation run the way it is. Any money spent on the transportation system or additional monorails is less money that will be available to spend improving the parks which is in every park.
    It all gets down to proper planning and where you choose to stay on the grounds. And if off-site again it gets down to having a plan ot action which reduces the amount of trouble you may encounter.
     
  19. DisneyKidds

    DisneyKidds <font color=green>The TF thanks DisneyKidds for mo

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    I'll take the "pain" that comes with #3 ;). The one benefit to a monorail system would be that you wouldn't have to break down the strollers. Roll on, roll off :).
    I'm not an engineer (but I do play one on TV :crazy: ), but I really do work for an engineering firm. Actually the one that built the original subway system under NYC over a hundred years ago. Given everything that would be required to put in a subway system, no - I don't think it is realistic logistically. Being a numbers guy - oh, the cost if they tried, but I said we wouldn't talk about that ;).
     
  20. BRERALEX

    BRERALEX That's a wrap.

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    true. But it seems the next time if there is a next time that they expand the monorail lines if they don't go all out there will be an uproar. I think it's gonna have to be an all or nothing situation which is why maybe they've waited so long to expand aside from the amount of money it would cost.

    I do think lots and lots and lots of grey monorail lines would be a factor in not expanding ALL over the place. lots of places have restricitions on eyesores and a huge expansion which would bring about many lines would not only be a large eyesore but such an eyesore you would ruin lots of the great pituresque shots you have now of the resorts.

    but yeah i do think some expansion is needed. Maybe a monorail line from mmk to ak so all the grand floridian guests dont have to take that long bus all the way to see the animals. Is Ak monorail expansion even worth it? Even they realize it's half day park as stated in the new disney magazine.

    oops. sorry. crounch out some numbers on how much a huge monorail infrastructure renovation would hit the mouses wallet!!!!! j/k.
     
  21. DisneyKidds

    DisneyKidds <font color=green>The TF thanks DisneyKidds for mo

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    I think this is quite an assumption. Even before ME tightened the purse strings there were probably lots of plans that were conceptualized and put to paper but didn't happen for a variety of reasons. You've been riding shotgun with Baron too long and all you can see as motivation for anything is $$$$ ;).
     

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