History: The forerunner of the modern monorail system was tested in Germany in the 1950s where it caught the attention of Walt Disney, then in the midst of planning Disneyland in California. In 1959, when the Disneyland monorail system premiered at the theme park, it became the first new-style monorail to operate daily in the United States. Today, the Mark VI Monorail Trains at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida incorporate nearly 40 years of research and development in monorail technology. The system, in operation since 1971, was expanded in 1982 with a four-mile extension to Epcot and updated in the early 90s with new trains to complete the 12-train fleet.
Highway in the Sky: Walt Disney World Resort has a 14.7-mile system of elevated beamway that services seven stations between Epcot, Magic Kingdom and three resorts – Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. The system monorail carries hundreds of thousands of guests each day.
Specifications: Each of the twelve, six-car trains is 203 feet long and has and an overall height of 10 feet, 5 ½ inches.
Design: Features includes air conditioning, door systems and safety features, a re-designed interior, sliding-door systems, on-board monitoring and communications and control.
Color Identification: Each of the 12 monorails is identified by a colored stripe: Peach, Teal, Red, Coral, Orange, Gold, Yellow, Lime, Green, Blue, Silver and Black.
Technology: Trains travel on a 26-inch-wide concrete beam supported by tapered concrete columns approximately 110 feet apart. The beams and columns are constructed in sets of six and post-tensioned together to form a single 600-foot structure. As trains move along the beamway, they pick up electrical power from a metallic buss bar.
Capacity: Nearly 7,000 guests per direction, per hour. On a typical day, more than 150,000 guests utilize monorail transportation.