Walt Disney World has one of the longest-running careers out of any active theme park, and a lot of maintenance goes into keeping them running.
The Walt Disney World Railroad is one of the oldest attractions on the resort property, but fans have noticed a surprisingly prolonged absence of the trains since before the 2020 pandemic. The railroad was an excellent way to get around the Magic Kingdom, especially if visitors have been schlepping from land to land. Closed for refurbishment since 2018, the trains have been missing from the Park for four years now, and the experience is desperately missed by hardcore fans.
Making stops in Main Street, Frontierland, and Fantasyland, the train rides offered quick and scenic access to other areas of the Park guests would otherwise travel by foot. It was undeniably the best way to see all the Magic Kingdom had to offer in a single sitting. Less time hoofing it through the various lands of the Park meant more time dedicated to riding the rides, seeing the shows, and mingling with Mickey and all his friends.
Casual Disney fans might be saying, “it’s just a train, what’s the big deal?” What these fans might not understand is just how important the circle trip around the Magic Kingdom is to longtime Guests, but to Walt Disney as well. Trains, railroads, and various other locomotive paraphernalia were a personal special interest of Walt’s, and the trains’ absence from the Magic Kingdom experience is like taking a piece of the man himself away.
While some might be quick to blame the pandemic for the trains’ prolonged absence, keep in mind that these engines are decades old. The vintage locomotives are, as the on-ride narration describes, “descended from the mighty trains that powered the golden age of steam,” making them functioning ridable antiques. Old tech takes a lot of attention and care to keep working properly, and the trains are pieces of Disney history that need all the extra dedication to detail and preservation to maintain the Disney standard.
The railroad’s prolonged absence has definitely affected the overall experience for many dedicated fans, and that’s certainly understandable to a point. However, a functioning and maintained experience is easily well worth the wait for however long it takes to get them back in working order. Hopefully, fans can expect to take a scenic circle trip around the Magic Kingdom sometime soon.
Do you miss the Walt Disney World Railroad? Tell us in the comments below!