Is it a vital piece of Disney World transportation, or just a futuristic novelty? The Walt Disney World monorail is a bit of both.
What Is the Walt Disney World Monorail?
The Walt Disney World monorail is part of the complimentary internal transportation. This futuristic vision of Walt Disney incorporates train-like vehicles into a raised track system. The monorail at Disney World operates on three separate tracks which take guests to two different parks and three different resorts. Monorails, and their predecessors (trains), have always been a big part of Walt Disney’s Vision.
When Walt was constructing Disneyland in California, he knew he wanted monorails to be included in Tomorrowland. Walt was a big believer that monorails would be integral to the future of transportation.
At the time, the monorail was just an attraction inside Tomorrowland, rather than a transportation option. With the opening of the Disneyland Hotel, the monorail track was extended to connect the hotel and the park, making it a true transportation method.
During the planning of Walt Disney World in Florida, the monorail was included as a method of intrapark transportation from day one. The idea was for the monorail to service the parks and the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, or EPCOT.
At this point in the timeline, EPCOT was not a theme park, but rather an elaborate future community for people to live, work, and play. The community was designed to be efficient in all modes of transportation, with monorails, people movers and other futuristic ideas.
Unfortunately, due to his untimely death, EPCOT never came to fruition in the way Walt imagined, but the monorail did. Today, the monorail faithfully services 2 of the Walt Disney parks and carries around 50 million guests a year.
Where Does the Disney World Monorail Go?
Many guests visiting Disney World for the first time are keen to ride the monorail, and one of the first questions they ask is where the monorail in Disney World goes. The second question is whether the monorail goes to EPCOT and Magic Kingdom. Since the monorail runs on three distinct lines that do not connect, both are valid questions.
The Disney World monorail does serve the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT parks, but to truly understand the Disney World monorail routes, you have to become acquainted with a place called the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC). You can learn more about the Transportation and Ticket Center here, but in a nutshell, the TTC acts as a hub for two of the monorail lines and for day guests who drive to Magic Kingdom.
Day guests visiting the Magic Kingdom and parking in the nearby lot will be taken by tram to the TTC. After a quick security screening, guests enter the TTC where they can hop on the Express Disney World Monorail to Magic Kingdom. This line is the first monorail line.
Monorails leaving the station will travel south, passing the three Disney World Magic Kingdom resorts. This route is also known as the resort monorail loop.
From the TTC, the monorail also services four resorts in the Magic Kingdom area (more on this in a bit). Guests staying on and off the resort property can always reach one of these resorts from the Transportation and Ticket Center by hopping aboard the second line commonly referred to as the Resort Monorail Line. This line also follows the resort monorail loop but will make a stop at each resort.
The third line leaving the TTC travels to EPCOT. By monorail, it takes approximately 15 minutes to get from the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) to EPCOT. For travel from the TTC to Magic Kingdom, expect the ride to take just under ten minutes. And lastly, the monorail that serves the three resorts makes the trip to the Magic Kingdom in around 20 minutes roundtrip. This can take longer depending on how long it takes guests to board and unload from the Disney World monorail stops.
Walt Disney World Monorail Route Map
For a quick overview of the Disney World Resort Loop and the Express Monorail Route, you can take a look at the Disney World monorail map, shown above. As depicted, the Magic Kingdom Express line, travels directly from the Transportation and Ticket Center to Magic Kingdom in a loop.
The Express line does not stop at any resort. It whizzes through the Contemporary and then, after dropping guests off at the park, continues past the other area resorts without stopping to return to the TTC. That means you can hop on this line when leaving Magic Kingdom and receive a non stop ride back to the TTC and your car.
The second monorail line, known as the resort monorail loop, travels in the opposite direction of the Magic Kingdom Express line. It stops at all resorts along the way. The four resorts that can be accessed directly by monorail are the Grand Floridian, The Polynesian and The Contemporary, including Bay Lake Towers.
When returning from the Magic Kingdom to your resort, the monorail will follow the same sequence. The monorail stops in order are as follows: Contemporary/Bay Lake Towers, Transportation Ticket Center, Polynesian Village and then Grand Floridian.
The third monorail line, begins at the Transportation and Ticket Center and travels directly to EPCOT and back. It does not ever travel to the Magic Kingdom.
If you are staying at a Magic Kingdom monorail resort and hoping to go to EPCOT, you will need to switch monorails. This can be done at the TTC. Simply board the monorail at your resort and depart at the TTC and then board the EPCOT monorail.
Understanding Disney World Monorail Stops
You’ve probably realized by now that each monorail line has a different route or sequence of stops. To make it easier to understand, we’ve outlined the Disney World monorail stops according to route:
Disney World Express Monorail
Transportation Ticket Center (embark)
Magic Kingdom (disembark)
Reverse the order above when leaving the park
Disney World Monorail Resort Loop
The Contemporary/Bay Lake Tower
Transportation Ticket Center
Transportation Ticket Center
Reverse the order above when leaving the park
Disney World Hotels with Monorail Service
Some of Disney’s most popular onsite resorts are the Disney World hotels offering monorail service. These include the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, The Contemporary, and Bay Lake Towers.
As mentioned above, the resort monorail loop travels from the TTC to the Polynesian, onto the Grand Floridian, then to Magic Kingdom. After Magic Kingdom the monorail stops inside the Contemporary for access to that resort and Bay Lake Towers, before completing the loop back at the TTC. It is worth mentioning that the express monorail travels the same loop in the opposite direction.
If you are leaving the Magic Kingdom and looking to board the monorail back to your hotel, be sure to get on the resort monorail. The Express line will not stop at any resorts.
Each resort has its own monorail stop, with the exception of Bay Lake Towers, which shares a stop with the Contemporary. To access the stop from the Contemporary, the monorail platform is on the fifth floor. In fact, it is the only thing on the floor.
You will have to take the elevator or escalator to the 4th floor and then take the small escalators up to the monorail platform. To reach Bay Lake Towers, you will take the escalators from the monorail platform to the connecting pathway between the Contemporary and this resort.
To access the monorail from the Polynesian resort head to the second floor of the lobby, or Great Ceremonial House. Once there, the monorail station will be at the front of the building.
At the Grand Floridian, the Walt Disney World monorail station is also located on the second floor.
What Is It Like Inside the Monorails?
The interiors of the monorails are quite spacious. Each monorail car has two sections. Padded benches facing opposite directions divide the two sections. There is an additional bench opposite the center as well.
Each bench can easily hold 4-5 adults. The monorails have plenty of floor space for strollers, and for guests to stand. Overhead bars provide a place for standing guests to hold on.
Currently, most of the monorail interiors feature a teal color scheme. But, at the time this article is being written, many of the monorails are undergoing an inside makeover.
The redesign changes the interior color schemes to match the exterior stripes featured on each monorail.
Tips For Using the Walt Disney World Monorail
Tips for Polynesian Guests
Our first tip for using the Disney World monorail is for those planning to stay at the Polynesian. For quicker access to EPCOT from the Polynesian, take the short walk to the TTC rather than boarding the resort monorail.
This will take out the long trip around the lagoon with many stops for guests to get on and off. Direct access to the TTC means direct access to the EPCOT monorail line. The walk only takes about 5 minutes.
The next tip for those staying at the Polynesian is to use the Express Magic Kingdom monorail to access the TTC and walk from there. This can save you time if the wait times for the resort monorail are longer.
Boarding the Monorail
An essential tip for using the Walt Disney World monorail system is to know how to board quickly. Often times cast members will assign you a slot to wait in, but if they do not, head to the slots with the least amount of people. Many guests wait at the center which causes a bottle neck when boarding.
An additional tip for boarding is the ensure your strollers are folded or otherwise prepared for boarding. The longer you take to board, the longer the train will be delayed.
Know Your Options
The best piece of monorail advice is to know your routes. Knowing your routes and your other transportation options can help you get to the parks faster.
For example, knowing that both Magic Kingdom monorails will get you to the parks is helpful, but knowing the express one does not stop at the resorts will save you a lot of time when traveling from the TTC.
Also, during peak times, the monorails can be very crowded. Knowing that you can walk to the TTC from the Polynesian, or to Magic Kingdom from the Grand Floridian can save you some time waiting.
It is also important for guests staying at a monorail resort to know that the monorail cannot take them to all the parks.
Booking a Room
Nowadays when booking a room inside a Walt Disney World resort, you can request a room, or a room area where you would like to stay. Depending on your needs, you may opt to book a room closer to the monorail station for easier access.
When we stay at the Polynesian, we usually try to choose a room halfway between the Great Ceremonial House (where the monorail platform is) and the walkway to the TTC. This ensures fast access to both the Magic Kingdom monorail and the EPCOT line at the TTC.
At the end of the day, the monorail may not have become all that Walt Disney imagined, but it is still a great Disney World transportation option! There is no more relaxing, fun and picturesque way to travel to EPCOT and the Magic Kingdom than the monorail.
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