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  • [Chat] History of the WDW monorail through the 80's. Disney Parks Blog

    The History of the Walt Disney World Monorail: Mark IV, 1971-1989

    posted on February 13th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


    As we continue our popular series on the history of the monorails at Disney Parks, Erin Glover asked me to step in and tell you the stories of the Mark IV and VI monorails at the Walt Disney World Resort. When Walt Disney World Resort opened in 1971, it also brought with it a new era in monorail trains, the Mark IV. The nearly 3-mile monorail track provided a means of transportation for guests visiting Magic Kingdom Park.

    Imagineer Bob Gurr based the design of the Walt Disney World Monorail System on the original monorails at Disneyland Resort while giving it an updated look.

    On opening day, there were ten trains built with five cars each on two monorail tracks (express and Disney Resort hotels) for guests to make their way to experience the magic.
    Be Cool Stay in School!
    Next year I'm trying for a summer internship at Stark Industries.

  • #2
    Re: History of the WDW monorail through the 80's. Disney Parks Blog

    Thanks for the link!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: History of the WDW monorail through the 80's. Disney Parks Blog

      I've never seen the opening day fleet picture - so cool!
      ~ Erik

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      • #4
        Re: History of the WDW monorail through the 80's. Disney Parks Blog

        Originally posted by Erik Olson View Post
        I've never seen the opening day fleet picture - so cool!
        Actually, I'm not sure that 10 monorails were available on opening day. I'm fairly certain that they had something like 6 initially and then expanded a year or so later to a fleet of 10. I'm thinking that an annual report from 1971 or 1972 can confirm this fact.

        But, in all cases, the opening version monorails were so cool and I just loved the black push buttons that unlocked the doors. It was such a cool sound. And the smell of the AC on the monorail - amazing memories!

        Tom

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        • #5
          Re: History of the WDW monorail through the 80's. Disney Parks Blog

          Originally posted by disneytom View Post
          Actually, I'm not sure that 10 monorails were available on opening day. I'm fairly certain that they had something like 6 initially and then expanded a year or so later to a fleet of 10. I'm thinking that an annual report from 1971 or 1972 can confirm this fact.

          But, in all cases, the opening version monorails were so cool and I just loved the black push buttons that unlocked the doors. It was such a cool sound. And the smell of the AC on the monorail - amazing memories!

          Tom

          Monorails

          A link to the fact that opening day didn't have all 10 monorails but, then again, the information here isn't entirely correct either, the interiors of the original trains were brown/beige and then as some of them got refurbished they were changed to blue interiors.

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          • #6
            Re: History of the WDW monorail through the 80's. Disney Parks Blog

            Here's some odd pictures of Mark IV's
            Interior - each car seats 40, no standing (too short), folding strollers only.


            Mark IV Control Panel

            Mark IV Doors - Auto open, slam coosed. Nothing like 24 slamming doors to start your Disney day.

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            • #7
              Re: History of the WDW monorail through the 80's. Disney Parks Blog

              Yeah, the slamming of the doors was pretty odd but somehow I felt safer in those older era monorails than today's version. It seems like today's doors just aren't as secure as they were back then - as if you can lean on them on and they would open (although I'm sure this isn't the case). When you slam anything it showcases strength. Granted, those older monorails rattled more but everyone was seated so it just felt more secure.

              I wonder when the next generation of monorails will debut? I thought I heard something about them being driverless as well (similar to Tokyo Disney Resort) - but that seems a bit risky to me at WDW as there is much more going on and you'd think you'd want a human at the helm.

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              • #8
                Re: History of the WDW monorail through the 80's. Disney Parks Blog

                Most of the rattle was from the little flip up handle on the door that tipped out the window. These handles just got looser with every door slam. The whole sitting down thing evolved from the Disneyland trains. Capacity jumped to 60 per car with standing in the Mark VI, which was much more mass transit focused than an Attraction focused.

                The Mark VI cars seem much more solid, have carried more passengers over the years and have lasted longer than the Mark IV's.

                The trains are presently having automation added although a attendant will do the annoucements and authorize the all-clear for leaving the station. As for a remodel or new trains who knows. I'm hoping for an overhaul update with new interiors. Keep wishing.

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