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Disney's new Monorail, its transportation of the future...still is

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  • Disney's new Monorail, its transportation of the future...still is

    Disney's new monorail, its transportation of the future . . . still is

    Photo: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disney Enterprises Inc.

    CHANGES:

    Although the new craft has made appearances, riders will have to wait a little longer.

    By David Haldane
    Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
    July 6, 2008

    Those yearning to ride Disneyland's long-awaited new monorail found they had to hang on a little longer Saturday. The Mark VII, which had appeared off and on late in the week, never made it out of its shelter, to the dismay of some visitors hoping to step aboard.

    "I'm a little disappointed," said Samantha Wakach, a vacationer from Los Angeles, who'd been told by the concierge at her hotel that the new train was operating. "That's why we decided to come over here instead of walking."

    The Mark VII, otherwise known as Monorail Red, is the seventh generation of the ride that's been entertaining visitors since 1959 when it made its entry as the nation's first electric train system on a single rail.

    Sleek and futuristic, it was promoted as a vision for public transportation.

    On Saturday the long-awaited new train, the park's only upgrade of the attraction in 21 years, failed to appear after several hours of on-again, off-again operation over the previous two days.

    Disney officials attributed the glitches to the attraction's normal "test and adjust" period, when mechanics and designers work out the bugs.

    "We are working on solving them," spokeswoman Betsy Sanchez said of the unspecified problems.

    She would not predict when the ride would open full time.

    When it does, Disneyland guests will be whisked along the system's 2.5-mile route in even sleeker-looking coaches complete with remodeled nose cones, seats facing outward toward the windows and blue glass with shimmering red, blue or orange stripes.

    "This is such an important icon," designer Scott Drake said. "It's the first thing our guests see when they drive up, so we wanted to make sure there's as much color as possible."

    The new trains, he said, will also have lighting under and behind the seats "so that at night the interior looks like its glowing the color of the windows."

    As for its mechanical aspects, Drake said, it won't be much different from the original Alweg Co. model introduced in 1959.

    That was the year after Walt Disney, vacationing in Germany, happened to see one of the company's test vehicles passing on a rail overhead.

    Disneyland's founder was so inspired, according to Drake, that he asked one of his transportation specialists, a young designer named Bob Gurr, to work with Alweg engineers on building the park's -- and America's -- first monorail.
    At www.monorails.org ,the official website of the Monorail Society, an organization based in Fremont, Calif., dedicated to promoting single-rail technology as a safe, environmentally friendly and a cost-effective alternative to modern mass transit, lists only 10 monorail systems currently operating in the U.S. Six are in amusement parks, airports or zoos.

    Crediting Disneyland with giving "fame to monorails in the 20th century," the website sardonically notes that "while Disney installed the monorail to promote it as a train of the future, the effect it had was just the opposite. Monorails, for many years, would be typecast as amusement park rides."
    http://www.latimes.com/
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  • #2
    Re: Disney's new Monorail, its transportation of the future...still is

    I dont know when this was written but guest have rode the Mark VII and it is on and off the beam for soft openings. Including last night.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rz-c7Ees4QQ

    Come Celebrate with us, we can't wait to meet ya!

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    • #3
      Re: Disney's new Monorail, its transportation of the future...still is

      Good Lord that thing is beautiful. FINALLY something in Tomorrowland to be really excited about and thankful for!

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      • #4
        Re: Disney's new Monorail, its transportation of the future...still is

        Who is writing for the LA Times now???

        "I'm a little disappointed," said Samantha Wakach, a vacationer from Los Angeles, who'd been told by the concierge at her hotel that the new train was operating. "That's why we decided to come over here instead of walking."
        Sorry, if your from LA, and your at Disneyland, your not a "Vacationer". It's like 15 miles away. (Thanks to G4's Mom for that one, as we saw this in the paper yesterday morning).

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        • #5
          Re: Disney's new Monorail, its transportation of the future...still is

          If you're on vacation, you're a vacationer.

          If you're from L.A. and you visit Disneyland 26 miles away (about 40 if you're coming from the Valley), you're not a "tourist," though. A vacationer you might be, but not a tourist.

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          • #6
            Re: Disney's new Monorail, its transportation of the future...still is

            Much like most of tomorrow land, the monorails there did need a face lift. It is good to see that Disney is trying to keep more of the park looking new and refreshed. I have not been in it yet but I look forward to taking a ride on the new monorail.

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