Disney Ceases Monorail System, Declares Indefinite Retirement

in Disney Parks, Walt Disney World

A modern monorail train in yellow and white colors passing by on an elevated track at a Disney theme park, with a partly cloudy blue sky in the background and a metal fence in the foreground.

Credit: ITM

The Walt Disney World Resort monorail system has been suffering over the recent months, with many of the monorail vehicles themselves needing to be taken in for repair. Now, the future of the transportation system is getting even more grim.

A monorail glides over a scenic park with vibrant flower beds and floating floral decorations on a sunny day.
Credit: Heather Maguire, Unsplash

The monorail was created by Walt Disney himself. It opened in 1959, just four years after Disneyland Resort. This new method of transportation could move guests from inside Disneyland Park, in the Tomorrowland section, to Disney Springs. While it was not essential for guests to get to and from the park, it became a staple at Disney World.

Fast forward to Walt buying the land for Magic Kingdom in Orlando, and suddenly, The Walt Disney Company needed to figure out the answer to a problem. To get from the Ticket and Transportation Center (parking) to the Magic Kingdom would be a two-mile walk due to the need to get around Seven Seas Lagoon.

The fix to that was to add a monorail and ferry boat system. Guests could either sail to the most magical place on earth or take a monorail that now also connects to EPCOT, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

A monorail glides above a parking lot with a dramatic sunset in the background, highlighting a cathedral spire and lush trees in a serene urban landscape.
Credit: Christian Lambert, Unsplash

Unlike the Disneyland monorail, however, the Disney World monorail system is essential to guest transport, and without it, thousands of guests could end up waiting hours to enter or exit the park.

Recently, we uncovered that, like Las Vegas’ Mark VI monorail system, Disney World’s was also in trouble. Vegas will shut down its monorail system in 2028 due to its inability to maintain it.

As Casino.org stated, “The problem is that operating the monorail, for which the LVCVA pays a Los Gatos, Calif. company, up to $500K annually, has become like driving a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California SWB Spider. Sooner or later, it will break down and require a replacement part that can’t be obtained because it’s not manufactured anymore.”

Monorail at the Magic Kingdom.
Credit: Inside the Magic (Luke D.)

Recently, we saw Disney remove the peach monorail from its tracks in order to give it a refurbishment. Now, the blue monorail has been confirmed to be gone for refurbishment. It has not been confirmed by Disney as to how long the monorail will be “out of office”, however, Inside the Magic did confirm from cast members that the monorail is not currently in operation.

There have been many reports in the recent past of monorails being cracked and broken in certain areas (cosmetically), and duck tape has even been used to hold the plastic casing together. Additionally, there have been many instances in which guests are stuck in the monorail cars for long periods of time due to the monorail in front of them or their monorail breaking down.

With these monorails rotating their refurbishments, it seems Disney is attempting to overhaul all of them. 

This marks the second phase of refurbishments for Monorail Blue, as the maintenance team strives to ensure the continued operation of the monorail fleet, which has been in service for approximately 35 years. The previous fleet of monorails was retired after 20 years of service. The future duration of Walt Disney World’s monorail system operation without requiring an upgrade to a new fleet remains uncertain, per Mickey Blog.

A scenic view of a monorail passing over a vibrant, floral-filled park with a large pyramid structure and reflecting pond under a blue sky with fluffy clouds.
Credit: Brian McGowan, Unsplash

Regarding the Disney monorail, the Florida Department of Transportation has commenced the process of overseeing the regulation of Walt Disney World’s monorail. This step comes several months after Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill granting the state authority to inspect and regulate the privately owned transportation system.

“Being that this is the first time that the State has had oversight, FDOT is doing its due diligence to thoroughly complete the review while ensuring the safety of travelers,” said FDOT District Five Public Information Director Cindi Lane.

The FDOT’s Structures Maintenance Office, responsible for inspecting numerous bridges and other structures statewide, has commenced field inspections of Disney’s monorail structure.

tow truck tows in orange monorail line in front of magic kingdom
Credit: TheCapsTV on YT

These inspections are not meant to shut down the ongoing monorail operations. Florida Senator Nick DiCeglie stated that shutting down the monorails would be considered a “last resort action” rather than a probable course of action. “There would have to be some significant safety concerns in order for that monorail to be shut down,” he continued.

Although the Mark VI monorails are deemed safe, their manufacturing presents challenges as their components are no longer in production. This will pose difficulties for Disney in terms of ongoing maintenance.

The removal of Monorail Blue comes days after the ferry system at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside were discontinued to Disney Springs (and vice versa). The reasoning for that closure, however, it is not mechanical but simply due to the low water levels that the rivers are currently experiencing with the lack of rain in the Orlando area.

Do you think that Disney’s monorail system is in need of a refurbishment? 

View Comments (37)