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  • What is the future of the Disneyland Railroad?

    What is the long-term plan of the Disneyland Railroad, if any?

    My main concerns are the following:
    • Certified steam locomotive engineers are difficult to find nowadays and those who used to operate steam locomotives during the 1950's, or earlier, have retired or passed away. To operate a steam locomotive requires years of certified experience because the boiler can (technically) explode in a worse case scenario. Operating a steam locomotive is not like pressing a button to start and stop the cars on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.
    • Replacement parts are difficult to find as they are custom built. You cannot just go to a local Autozone supply store specializing in train parts.
    • California is a progressive movement in the climate change movement. The sight of smoke coming from an out-of-date steam locomotive might offend environment activists someday which will lead to bad press for the Disney parks.
    The Disney company is trying all ways to save money, but how would you feel if the Disney company makes an ultimatum decision to place all five steam locomotives in a Disney museum and run cheaper to maintain "electric on the inside, but steam on the outside" locomotives?




  • #2
    Originally posted by MrsSally View Post
    What is the long-term plan of the Disneyland Railroad, if any?

    My main concerns are the following:
    • Certified steam locomotive engineers are difficult to find nowadays and those who used to operate steam locomotives during the 1950's, or earlier, have retired or passed away. To operate a steam locomotive requires years of certified experience because the boiler can (technically) explode in a worse case scenario. Operating a steam locomotive is not like pressing a button to start and stop the cars on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.
    • Replacement parts are difficult to find as they are custom built. You cannot just go to a local Autozone supply store specializing in train parts.
    • California is a progressive movement in the climate change movement. The sight of smoke coming from an out-of-date steam locomotive might offend environment activists someday which will lead to bad press for the Disney parks.
    The Disney company is trying all ways to save money, but how would you feel if the Disney company makes an ultimatum decision to place all five steam locomotives in a Disney museum and run cheaper to maintain "electric on the inside, but steam on the outside" locomotives?


    They've already addressed this years ago. They were all converted to biodiesel sourced from the parks. They convert park frying oil to biodiesel to operate the trains. I believe the steam is just for effect. See the Disney+ series Inside the Attraction amongst other sources for discussion of the biodiesel. You can even see them refuel at one of the stations, I believe it is Toontown. Looks like an ordinary diesel gas nozzle.

    Disney also invented the air launch system to eliminate majority of fireworks pollution, and made the patent open to anyone worldwide to implement. They used to use black gunpowder for launch which was heavily polluting.

    They also send all water from major areas to the Orange County Aquifer after treatment when they do major projects requiring drainage of the Rivers of America, or Paradise Pier etc. so none of it is wasted.

    And they replaced all their Toy Story shuttle bus fleet with clean electric vehicles this year in partnership with Anaheim Resort Transit. They were operating clean air busses before but now they are completely zero emissions.

    Disney is generally on top of environmental issues before the finger is pointed at them. It's one area I'll give them credit for in recent years compared to other theme park operators. Generally true historical vehicles shown for educational purposes are given a pass anyway. Even in a all electric future there will still be historical vehicles on the road and in shows that run old fashioned gas. There are some historical narrow gage railroads with steam engines in the redwoods near the bay area and they've never been so popular nor are they under any pressure to close.

    I do wonder if they will eventually address the largest problem in the parks today and that is the Autopia. I suspect that it is not long for this world and that is why they are not going to electric. They did replace the vehicles with less polluting ones from Tokyo about five years ago but this is still an opportunity to improve.
    ClownLoach
    MiceChatter
    Last edited by ClownLoach; 01-13-2022, 11:43 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Best part is when you ride through tunnels in the train now the exhaust smells somewhat like French fries.
      ClownLoach
      MiceChatter
      Last edited by ClownLoach; 01-13-2022, 11:39 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by ClownLoach View Post

        They've already addressed this years ago. They were all converted to biodiesel sourced from the parks. They convert park frying oil to biodiesel to operate the trains. I believe the steam is just for effect. See the Disney+ series Inside the Attraction amongst other sources for discussion of the biodiesel. You can even see them refuel at one of the stations, I believe it is Toontown. Looks like an ordinary diesel gas nozzle.

        Disney also invented the air launch system to eliminate majority of fireworks pollution, and made the patent open to anyone worldwide to implement. They used to use black gunpowder for launch which was heavily polluting.

        They also send all water from major areas to the Orange County Aquifer after treatment when they do major projects requiring drainage of the Rivers of America, or Paradise Pier etc. so none of it is wasted.

        Disney is generally on top of environmental issues before the finger is pointed at them. It's one area I'll give them credit for in recent years compared to other theme park operators.
        Okay that solves the environmental issue, but the locomotive is still a pressurized boiler. Yeah I'm sure everyone knows how to safely operate one.

        And most importantly, a pressurized boiler is the most catastrophic equipment the park has because it could explode with a wide radius.

        Comment


        • #5

          I think it's extremely unlikely that Disney would spend the money to replace the working innards of the DLRR steam locomotives with electric power. Management's view would be:
          • The environmental issues have already been addressed.
          • The danger of a boiler explosion is remote.
          • It's a non-IP attraction.
          • It's a Disney Parks icon.
          If the cost of operation and maintenance became an issue, I wouldn't put it past them to run it only during high-attendance periods, or shut it down entirely for an extended-but-bogus "upgrade."


          Last edited by Mr Wiggins; 01-14-2022, 12:54 AM.
          "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
          it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
          together with every variety of recreation and fun,
          designed to appeal to everyone."

          - Walt Disney

          "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
          - Michael Eisner

          "It's very symbiotic."
          - Bob Chapek

          Comment


          • #6
            "They've already addressed this years ago. They were all converted to biodiesel sourced from the parks. They convert park frying oil to biodiesel to operate the trains. I believe the steam is just for effect. See the Disney+ series Inside the Attraction amongst other sources for discussion of the biodiesel. You can even see them refuel at one of the stations, I believe it is Toontown. Looks like an ordinary diesel gas nozzle."

            I don't think you're correct. Yes, they converted engines to biodiesel, but it is just burned in the firebox to create steam-instead of wood or coal. The engines still run on steam. It's NOT just for effect.

            Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.
            Mark Twain

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
              If the cost of operation and maintenance became an issue, I wouldn't put it past them to run it only during high-attendance periods, or shut it down entirely for an extended-but-bogus "upgrade."
              But even in that scenario, I think they know they'll get flack again for shutting it down. Look at the outcry back when the park reopened last year, and how the trains were only running at limited hours.

              Now if we want to talk about a significant transportation headache to come, then we have the Monorail system for that. With 6 decades old concrete tracks, the Monorails being older than they appear (35 years old to be exact!) and no AC on board, lets hope that Disney is smart enough to factor it into their DisneylandFoward plan.

              And with a realistic budget, because they will need at least a 9 figure budget for that.(No Bobby, I said 9, not 6!)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MrsSally View Post
                What is the long-term plan of the Disneyland Railroad, if any?

                My main concerns are the following:
                Originally posted by MrsSally View Post
                Certified steam locomotive engineers are difficult to find nowadays and those who used to operate steam locomotives during the 1950's, or earlier, have retired or passed away. To operate a steam locomotive requires years of certified experience because the boiler can (technically) explode in a worse case scenario. Operating a steam locomotive is not like pressing a button to start and stop the cars on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.
                Thank you for raising accurate and valid points. It seems you have more than a basic understanding of steam locomotive operation. I will give my responses based on my experience as an actual qualified steam locomotive fireman and engineer trainee on an FRA-governed Eastern tourist railroad for the past 12 years: It is true that it takes a bit of "OJT" to become qualified to operate a steam locomotive (both firing and running). But it's not like it's impossible to get this training any more. As in days past, both at Disneyland and in the real steam world, this knowledge is passed down from crewman to crewman. While the "controls" of the Disneyland engines can seem complex, in terms of actual steam locomotives, they are as basic as you can get. With these Park engines, running on a line with very little to no gradient, it's very easy to fire consistently. After a few months or training, it should be second nature. There are also dual water glasses so both crew members can keep an eye on the water level (low water being the chief cause of boiler explosions over the years).

                Originally posted by MrsSally View Post
                Replacement parts are difficult to find as they are custom built. You cannot just go to a local Autozone supply store specializing in train parts.
                This is somewhat true. There are some very specialized parts that make up a steam locomotive. All can be reproduced or purchased, however, given enough money. But the locomotives can also use off-the-shelf parts, like Schedule 80 piping, various nuts and bolts, electrical parts, sheet metal parts, etc.

                Originally posted by MrsSally View Post
                California is a progressive movement in the climate change movement. The sight of smoke coming from an out-of-date steam locomotive might offend environment activists someday which will lead to bad press for the Disney parks.
                You very rarely see actual "smoke" emanate from the smokestacks. They are very clean burning. Certainly not the most efficient means of power conversion, but nothing like the plumes of dense black smoke you might see from mainline oil burning steam locomotives.

                Originally posted by MrsSally View Post
                The Disney company is trying all ways to save money, but how would you feel if the Disney company makes an ultimatum decision to place all five steam locomotives in a Disney museum and run cheaper to maintain "electric on the inside, but steam on the outside" locomotives?
                I think this would be the final nail in Walt Disney's coffin.

                Much of the charm of Disneyland is its nod to historical America, which Walt was passionate about. This history is brought to life not only through the use of actual antiques, but in the actual use of obsolete technology. Horse-drawn streetcars; steam powered river boats; and the five authentic steam locomotives that power the Disneyland Railroad. Much charm would be lost if these were made to be electric or even internally combustion powered (e.g., Hong Kong Disneyland).

                In addition to Griffith Park carousels or cartoon characters, the main impetus for building Disneyland came from Walt's operation and enjoyment of running his live-steam Carolwood Pacific Railroad--outside, and shared with families. Steam engines are basically "alive." They aren't started or stopped with the turn of a key. They have to be fed and watered; you have to pamper them. They even "breathe." None of this can be duplicated with any other technology. Ward Kimball said Walt thought of the trains and the Mark Twain as the "Seventh and Eighth Wonders of the World."
                Right Down Broadway
                Diamond Cracker
                Last edited by Right Down Broadway; 01-14-2022, 07:48 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by MrsSally View Post

                  but the locomotive is still a pressurized boiler. Yeah I'm sure everyone knows how to safely operate one.
                  You'd be surprised how many of us there are! It's certainly a skill that can be learned.

                  Originally posted by MrsSally View Post
                  And most importantly, a pressurized boiler is the most catastrophic equipment the park has because it could explode with a wide radius.
                  This is certainly true. For those who don't know, what causes boiler explosions is low water in the boiler. (while there are safety valves on the engines that open up when the pressure gets five or 10 PSI too high, their function isn't to prevent boiler explosions--the boilers are built to withstand 4 times their operating pressure of 150 PSI).

                  Inside the boiler is the literally-shaped fire "box." the top of this box is called the "Crown Sheet." It's maybe a 1/2 inch or less of steel sheet. Unusually this metal would soften under the heat of the 2,000 degree fire within the box. But usually, the crown sheet is covered with several inches of water, which absorbs the heat transferred from the crown sheet. The crown sheet stays relatively "cool" and solid.

                  If, however, the fireman isn't paying attention, and the water level dips below the height of the crown sheet, exposing the metal, then the metal can soften. With 150 pounds of steam pressure being exerted on every square inch of of the crown sheet, the metal could rupture, and allow the hundreds of gallons of water in the boiler to be exposed to atmospheric pressure. Thanks to the Ideal Gas Law, we understand that water under 150 pounds of pressure is not boiling at 212 degrees, but is really at a temperature of around 365 degrees.

                  When this 365 degree water is exposed to atmospheric pressure, it explodes into steam violently, and since the force of the explosion would be down, through the firebox, it would probably launch the entire boiler and cab off the frame, depositing it and the crew 1/4 mile away. No one survives those.

                  Now, there are several precautions Disney employs to keep this from happening. The first is training--make sure the crew understands the consequences, and knows what to do in a low-water situation. Second--both he fireman and the engineer can see the actual water level through water sight glasses--sort of like the glass level indicators on coffee urns (it used to be just the fireman had a water glass).

                  They also have spigots bolted directly into the boiler at different levels. Opening these can let you see whether steam or water comes out. This was the very first method used in the 1830s to check boiler water level. Next, each crown sheet is equipped with a "soft plug;" a bolt in the crown sheet that has been drilled out and filled with a soft alloy, sort of like lead. If the water dips below the crown sheet, the core of the soft plug would melt fairly quickly, allowing a blast of steam and water into the firebox to extinguish the burner.

                  Finally, the engines are equipped with "low water alarms," which can electronically sense if the water gets too low. When this happens, a solenoid kicks in and extinguishes the fire. It can only be reset by a roundhouse lead.

                  So, while anything is possible, realize that the Disneyland Railroad has been operating steam locomotives for nearly 70 years without a significant uncontrolled escape of steam. Hopefully they can continue for another 70 years.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MrsSally View Post

                    Okay that solves the environmental issue, but the locomotive is still a pressurized boiler. Yeah I'm sure everyone knows how to safely operate one.

                    And most importantly, a pressurized boiler is the most catastrophic equipment the park has because it could explode with a wide radius.
                    They don't hire kids off the street and hand them a 3x5 card with "how to operate this ride" instructions and put them in the driver's seat on day one, at least not in California. CAL-OSHA is one of the toughest public safety organizations in the WORLD. Every single aspect of training must be in published materials that can be read and reviewed by officials at any time, and operators of equipment must be fully trained in a documented manner by fully trained and qualified trainers. CAL-OSHA couldn't care less about the decades of experience some operators have either - they still have to be fully trained again every few years. And we know CAL-OSHA actually shows up to inspect because they consistently turn a profit for the State of California with all the fines they hand out for the slightest infractions (usually they start at $10K and could be for as little as a box not checked on the safety checklist one day). These guys will show up to a 7-Eleven several times per year to inspect the hand truck they use to move cases of beer to the cooler... So I would imagine that they have several officials who are at Disneyland on a full time basis, just like the Anaheim PD and FD officials who are always assigned to the parks. I would not worry about Disney suddenly running out of qualified operators. They have plenty of them, including management and trainers who are required to know this equipment inside and out to legally be able to train operators, and again all operating instructions are
                    ​​​published and might even be available for public review through whatever process CAL-OSHA demands.

                    I would also add that despite the age of these trains - Disney has added substantial amounts of safety equipment and monitoring systems that are required by CAL-OSHA. Despite being an old fashioned historic train - there are electronic safety overrides in place. There is a electronic signaling system that engages the brakes if the train is put into motion on a red light. So just like a roller coaster the trains cannot get too close together on the tracks. There are also safety gate overrides - I have experienced this myself when the train was starting to roll out of New Orleans Square Station and a guest reached over and opened the gate to trains - the train instantly, and violently, stopped dead in its tracks. The conductor went and addressed the individual then got back on board and explained that the train stopped due to the safety monitor on the gate. It looks like an old train, but it is loaded with digital monitoring systems now. If anything is out of spec alarm bells will be ringing not just on board that locomotive but also at the control desk where management directs operations.

                    If the train operators all win the lottery and quit tonight - the trains will still run tomorrow because the Managers and Trainers have to know how to run them. Then they'll start the months of training for new operators.
                    ​​
                    You might remember that it took Disneyland months to reopen. They had already negotiated with the state and knew when they would get the "green light" so they had already recalled cast members to come back and prepare the park for operations. But the part that took the longest was that every single operator of every single piece of equipment had their CAL-OSHA certification lapse during the closure - even the managers and trainers - so they had to teach every single person every single aspect of their job again. And the train operation part took so long that they weren't running yet upon reopening.

                    ​​​​In a nutshell - you don't need to worry about a lack of people with historical knowledge about safely operating a train. They have the means and ability to replace them. You don't need to worry about the environmental aspects as they've been handled. They have the ability to rebuild and restore these trains while upgrading them - the fleet at WDW underwent this process over the last decade. I recall reading articles somewhere here on Micechat documenting the process of the experts (I want to say back East somewhere) meticulously dismantling these historic trains and spending years restoring every last detail while adding the necessary state of the set safety measures. If there are no trains then there is no Disneyland. The trains will run as long as the park is open. Let's hope that is for a long, long time.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If anyone were to ever say, "The Disneyland railroad is problematic. It encourages bad environmental practices", I would have thrown them out of me house LOL

                      Along with the trains being converted already, the train is such an iconic staple of the park, that removing it would be the same as removing the castle.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Dtimeisnow View Post
                        If anyone were to ever say, "The Disneyland railroad is problematic. It encourages bad environmental practices", I would have thrown them out of me house LOL

                        Along with the trains being converted already, the train is such an iconic staple of the park, that removing it would be the same as removing the castle.
                        Not to mention that the constant answer from our public officials about how to save the environment is mass transit - TRAINS. The other reason they run them on a regular basis is that they have a massive ride capacity. It would be hypocrisy to call out "the solution" as a problem.

                        No ride holds more people than the Disneyland Railroad - especially with all the higher capacity cars with front facing benches running (sorry I can't remember the name if it's holiday or excursion seating). It is amazing how every single ride can be running on a Saturday with nothing down and you can walk the park and it feels like it isn't very crowded. That's because the majority of park guests are in line queues or on vehicles. But if two or three big rides go down at once - suddenly the walkways feel like fireworks time on New Year's Eve. That's how it would feel with the Railroad gone. They would actually have to lower admissions if they didn't run the Railroad as park capacity would be lowered dramatically.

                        And from a cost and efficiency standpoint I would imagine that when you factor Cast Members to passengers there is no ride more efficient to operate than the Disneyland Railroad. If you've got 4 trains running that is 12 cast members plus one per station, that's 16 total plus one or two in the command desk. Between queues and trains it probably takes 5,000 guests off the walkways at any given time. What other ride at Disneyland can manage to hold at least 5,000 guests at a time (and that may be an under count) with only 18 cast members running it? This makes the Railroad one of the cheapest to operate rides they have. If you're not on the Railroad then you're on a more heavily staffed ride, period.

                        I think we have addressed all the issues here.
                        -Safety is not a problem
                        -Environmental aspects have been addressed
                        -Staffing/Training process has been addressed
                        -Restoration of trains has been addressed
                        -Cost of operating has been addressed - high efficiency attraction means closing it INCREASES costs instead of saving money
                        -High Value to park operations has been addressed

                        The trains aren't going away. They'll actually outlast the castle. (There will be a day where they have to partially demolish and rebuild in phases since Sleeping Beauty Castle is all 1950's wood inside and it doesn't last forever - see Knott's Ghost Town for example as it was entirely replaced one piece at a time about a decade ago)

                        Let's move on to bigger and better things.
                        ClownLoach
                        MiceChatter
                        Last edited by ClownLoach; 01-14-2022, 11:22 AM. Reason: Math error corrected

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ClownLoach View Post

                          Between queues and trains it probably takes 5,000 guests off the walkways at any given time.
                          This is a bit of an over statement.

                          Full trains hold between, say, 280 and 300 people. Let's just round up to 300 per train, with all four trains running. That's only 1,200 people. I doubt there are 3,800 people waiting in the queues at the four stations--that would nearly be 1,000 people a station! Can you imagine 1,000 people waiting at NOS, Toontown or Tomorrowland, let alone MSS?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The DLRR is on the short list of never going away with the Castle and Matterhorn almost everything else is replaceable though some would create serious outcries. The Carousel, POTC, Jungle Cruise, HM, IASW are others that are close to untouchable but the current admin would cut them in a heartbeat if it could save money without upsetting too many customers. I remember the year or so the DLRR wasn't running and every time we went the park felt lacking and we heard a lot of grumblings about both at and away from the parks by fellow fans.

                            I think the conversion of Autopia to EP is very easy and battery swapping or induction charing would not be too difficult. I have actually designed several battery interfaces for the RC industry a decade or so ago that are still used today and the beauty of EP is batteries and motors in almost all tech and applications are scalable much easier than internal combustion power. Batteries and electric motors have been used longer than burning fuel. The first automobiles were actually electric. The fact that we have dragged our feet converting all transportation minus Air and Space to EP is more about regulations and lobbyists than the ability to make it affordable and available. I believe once Honda's current contract ends they will likely convert to EP with Honda or another sponsor with many car makers going to EP and likely willing to take Hondas place. Toyota, Tesla, Ford, GM, Mercedes, Hyundai, VW etc. are all beginning their conversion to mostly if not all EP vehicles in the next decade. Autopia to EP is a matter of when not will. They are just milking it for now. California is already getting ready to outlaw small combustion engines (one of Hondas cash cows) and you will not be able to buy. lawnmower or leaf blower that isn't EP the next target is scooter s and motorcycles, the writing is on the wall and the direction is clear.

                            Also the center guide rail will disappear in the future as well once they move to new cars which will likely have sensors keeping the vehicle on path and the days of bumping your friend will also go away and the trailing car will be stopped prior to contact having zero affect on the car in front. No more whiplash liability. CM's will be able to also control the vehicles remotely and could in a emergency stop all vehicles on the track or even set a auto return to pits mode to bring in a any stragglers. The amount of off the shelf tech that could benefit Autopia that is already available at manageable cost is huge. If you do not see many of these conversions in the next 10 years it will be because of mismanagement then inability to implement.

                            ...Nevermind I forgot who is in charge, expect them to convert it all to pedal power soon (in the guise of their guests are too fat) and cut the track length by half and have you exit through a sport drink kiosk. A customer who works up an appetite is more profitable at the mobile order windows.
                            Disneyland Fan since the 70's

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ClownLoach View Post
                              Best part is when you ride through tunnels in the train now the exhaust smells somewhat like French fries.
                              LOL
                              I smell Cheese Burgers
                              Soaring like an EAGLE !

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
                                I think it's extremely unlikely that Disney would spend the money to replace the working innards of the DLRR steam locomotives with electric power. Management's view would be:
                                • The environmental issues have already been addressed.
                                • The danger of a boiler explosion is remote.
                                • It's a non-IP attraction.
                                • It's a Disney Parks icon.
                                If the cost of operation and maintenance became an issue, I wouldn't put it past them to run it only during high-attendance periods, or shut it down entirely for an extended-but-bogus "upgrade."

                                You make it sound as if converting them to electricity would be an upgrade. This would be terrible, they would no longer be steam engines. They would then need to operate with fake steam engine noises like the trains at Hong Kong Disneyland, which are completely pointless.
                                Yamamoto364
                                MiceChatter
                                Last edited by Yamamoto364; 01-15-2022, 12:32 AM.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I wouldn't worry about any of the vehicles that require a fuel source that's non electric, because for the last decade, Disney's been on a massive environmentally friendly kick trying to come up with alternate fuel sources that are more cost effective and better for the environment. With the trains, those have all been converted to a more eco friendly engine and fuel source. The same goes for the autopia cars when they did the major overhaul back in the late 90s, as well as the trams being switched to electric.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Right Down Broadway View Post
                                    This is a bit of an over statement.

                                    Full trains hold between, say, 280 and 300 people. Let's just round up to 300 per train, with all four trains running. That's only 1,200 people. I doubt there are 3,800 people waiting in the queues at the four stations--that would nearly be 1,000 people a station! Can you imagine 1,000 people waiting at NOS, Toontown or Tomorrowland, let alone MSS?
                                    Agreed. Taken with a grain of salt, DLRR is not in the top 5 resort rides with the highest RPH. Small World, Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder, and the Incredicoaster* allegedly make up the Top 5.


                                    *Not necessarily in that order

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Starcade View Post
                                      The DLRR is on the short list of never going away with the Castle and Matterhorn almost everything else is replaceable though some would create serious outcries. The Carousel, POTC, Jungle Cruise, HM, IASW are others that are close to untouchable but the current admin would cut them in a heartbeat if it could save money without upsetting too many customers. I remember the year or so the DLRR wasn't running and every time we went the park felt lacking and we heard a lot of grumblings about both at and away from the parks by fellow fans.

                                      I think the conversion of Autopia to EP is very easy and battery swapping or induction charing would not be too difficult. I have actually designed several battery interfaces for the RC industry a decade or so ago that are still used today and the beauty of EP is batteries and motors in almost all tech and applications are scalable much easier than internal combustion power. Batteries and electric motors have been used longer than burning fuel. The first automobiles were actually electric. The fact that we have dragged our feet converting all transportation minus Air and Space to EP is more about regulations and lobbyists than the ability to make it affordable and available. I believe once Honda's current contract ends they will likely convert to EP with Honda or another sponsor with many car makers going to EP and likely willing to take Hondas place. Toyota, Tesla, Ford, GM, Mercedes, Hyundai, VW etc. are all beginning their conversion to mostly if not all EP vehicles in the next decade. Autopia to EP is a matter of when not will. They are just milking it for now. California is already getting ready to outlaw small combustion engines (one of Hondas cash cows) and you will not be able to buy. lawnmower or leaf blower that isn't EP the next target is scooter s and motorcycles, the writing is on the wall and the direction is clear.

                                      Also the center guide rail will disappear in the future as well once they move to new cars which will likely have sensors keeping the vehicle on path and the days of bumping your friend will also go away and the trailing car will be stopped prior to contact having zero affect on the car in front. No more whiplash liability. CM's will be able to also control the vehicles remotely and could in a emergency stop all vehicles on the track or even set a auto return to pits mode to bring in a any stragglers. The amount of off the shelf tech that could benefit Autopia that is already available at manageable cost is huge. If you do not see many of these conversions in the next 10 years it will be because of mismanagement then inability to implement.

                                      ...Nevermind I forgot who is in charge, expect them to convert it all to pedal power soon (in the guise of their guests are too fat) and cut the track length by half and have you exit through a sport drink kiosk. A customer who works up an appetite is more profitable at the mobile order windows.
                                      Some armchair engineering thoughts on this. I think the real issue is that eventually Autopia will go away entirely, along with the subs and the other underutilized land in Tomorrowland. They're not going to lay out Capital Expenditure dollars on anything over there and that would include electric vehicles - unless the long term plan includes some kind of smaller future Autopia in a redevelopment of Tomorrowland where they could move the new electric vehicles over to a new track. The requirements for Capital Expenditure dollars would be that the expected life of the attraction would allow for depreciation over decades and we all know that the Autopia in current form isn't going to be there that long. California laws around sales of small engines won't make any difference - in fact the current vehicle fleet was transferred from Tokyo Disneyland. Repair and Maintenance is a different spend category and we do see that happening now on the subs which are probably getting their final restoration project that will take them to the end of their days. Electric conversion is not repair and maintenance so as a result such an expense would be accounted as an immediate "loss" which prevents Disney from just flipping the switch.

                                      Tomorrowland North (everything except Star Tours and Space Mountain) along with the sub lagoon, old motorboat lagoon that sits dormant, the Small World "Mall" parade viewing platform, the Monorail tracks, old Carousel of Progress building, and the Fantasyland theater combined are enough to drop in a clone of "New Fantasyland" from WDW and build Tron with extra space left over for example. It is well known that Disney originally considered all of this space for Star Wars Land which would have fit and still left room for another attraction where the Theater is. Look at Google Maps satellite - this comprises about 30% of the park prior to the SW:GE expansion. It is clearly underutilized land that eventually will go in the eventual redevelopment of the Northeast quadrant of Disneyland.

                                      It's going to be a long, long time but I believe the eventual plan with DisneylandForward is going to be to push West across Disneyland Drive and add a couple of lands to the park for capacity shift while the rest of the park is under construction. They can bring in carbon copies from Tokyo or Hong Kong to have something fresh and different from the usual WDW clones. They will need the expansion space to accommodate the loss for several years of most of the Northeast quadrant of the park.

                                      Once those are up and running - it will enable Disney to clear cut this entire massive area and start fresh with whatever replaces Tomorrowland. I believe that the real challenge is that access to the surviving rides (Space, Matterhorn, DLRR possibly rerouted, IASW, and new ToonTown) will be difficult because of the layout of service corridors and equipment - likely years of long walks down narrow walled off walkways like we saw during the long DCA rebuilding. If you look at what they're doing now - you can see a similar pattern. At DCA the first act was to put in World of Color and Toy Story Midway Mania at the back of the park so there were big new attractions to draw people back through the construction mess. Now they are doing the same with new ToonTown and MMRR. Space would be the draw on the other side of the quadrant and could be accessible through temporary backstage pass through similar to how guests had to enter DCA for a year or so behind Soarin - of course the Space bypass would be up longer.

                                      The key is that they need to expand West first to make up for the fact that the entire park will feel like a construction zone for several years once they finally address the problem of this dying unproductive space. It was mentioned earlier that the Monorail is also nearing end of life and will need track beam replacement as well as new trains which will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, so if it survives it will likely lose all the winding turns over Autopia and become a much shorter ride from station to station. I suspect that the time line for all of this construction is why they chose the option they did for Star Wars land as it would have likely added even more years of work for that project. I still wonder if the structure of the Matterhorn - the world's first steel roller coaster - has a lot of years left on it or not since it was mainly wood with plaster and concrete thrown on top... The track is inseparable which was the flaw in the design. Could the eventual plan include a replacement Matterhorn built in the motorboat lagoon area/Autopia area - maybe with a sprinkle of Expedition Everest thrown in?

                                      I believe that by the time D23 rolls around they're going to have the basics approved by Anaheim since this time they aren't trying to get the city to fund them - and I'm sure they will give Anaheim some kind of monetary gesture that will give them the freedom to rezone whatever they want within their property. We will probably see more generalized examples of the future of the DLR presented in the manner we've seen so far - an explanation of the general site plan of an expanded resort and a likely timeline for all the work over the next decade or so but few specifics of what lands or attractions would be built in the project. They are clearly committed to expanding the Disneyland Resort over the next few decades to head off future competition - and I believe that they're going to be up to their necks in it soon.

                                      I strongly believe that the days of Universal being both a studio and theme park in Hollywood will end during this decade - resulting in a massive theme park expansion that puts Disneyland at risk. The value of all that land is almost priceless, and movie and TV production continues to leave the state. Comcast has shown they will spend billions on theme parks and that they want to supplant Disney as the industry leader in quality to take market share. With the growing congestion in SoCal a true quality full day/multi-day theme park experience in LA would likely steer millions of guests to Universal that currently drive in hours of traffic to Anaheim.

                                      Disney clearly has realized this future arms race in SoCal is coming - prior to the real estate explosion they were likely safe from a major Uni expansion which is why DLR was not getting much attention after the DCA and SW build outs. When Universal decides to once and for all clear out the studios and soundstages they will build a full scale expansion and second gate (on half that land - the other half would go residential and net them billions of dollars). Universal has the opportunity to make a mini version of WDW there mostly funded by the profits of building residential high rises on the backlot- heck they could easily turn the entire park backwards and build a new CityWalk type setup with hotels and new parking "downhill" and move the entrance down there along with a second gate. I think this is what is driving the sudden DisneylandForward initiative... Due to the amount of rebuilding needed and the fact that they are still walled in by Harbor and Katella - Uni could easily build that entire resort expansion and second gate in the time it would take Disney just to get those first few expansion lands up on the old Lilo parking lot.

                                      There are too many billions of dollars of future one time profit sitting on that land - Comcast will monetize it. They will get past any red tape by making the new residential component "green" and sustainable. They're not afraid to do this in LA - they aren't afraid to expand in Orlando despite the competition of WDW's 4 parks. They're more challenged in Orlando because they built "boxed in" similar to DLR and now are building their 3rd gate "off-site" which will require a transportation network in what used to be an all walkable resort. Expanding Universal Hollywood is a piece of cake by comparison.

                                      One thing is for sure - there is a lot coming to Anaheim in the next few decades. But there is a lot that will stay in place forever. Circling back to the original topic - it'll still be surrounded by the Disneyland Railroad.
                                      ​​​​​
                                      ClownLoach
                                      MiceChatter
                                      Last edited by ClownLoach; 01-15-2022, 08:58 AM.

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                                      • #20
                                        Where is Steve DeGaetano when you need him? Sure, he treated Micechat like Trump treated Twitter. But when it came to trains he definitely knew what he was talking about.

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