Friday, February 16, 2007

Disneyland Then and Now: The Disneyland Monorail

Surely you've seen the Disneyland Monorail before--after all, it's one of the main sights in Disneyland! While it's often overlooked as merely another means of transportation in the park, the Monorail is actually a surprisingly interesting piece of Disneyland history.

Attraction poster for the Monorail | Disney

Opening on June 14, 1959, the Disneyland-ALWEG Monorail System (renamed to the "Disneyland Monorail System" in 1987) was the first daily operating monorail in the western hemisphere. Moreover, it was the first monorail in America, a fact the park enjoyed sharing with guests. (In fact, every time you ride the monorail, the recorded speaker tells you that very bit of information!)

Originally, the attraction was a non-stop ride, although in 1961 was expanded to include a stop at the Disneyland Hotel. The current monorail, however, has two stations: One in Tomorrowland, the other in Downtown Disney.

The monorail in the 1950's/60's compared to the modern monorail. Note the Skyway and sign above the actual monorail cars advertising the attraction. (Pictures courtesy of The Imaginary World and Mouse Planet.)

On August 21, 2006, the monorail was closed after six months of "shuttle mode" (one-way service) due to the construction of the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage attraction. The monorail reopened in December 2006, albeit still in shuttle mode.

As you can see, the monorail has gone through many changes in its lifetime, with more to come -- the new Mark VII trains are to be completed by 2007, along with a new name change (Disneyland Resort Line), a completely new system, and changes to cast member uniforms -- yet it remains one of Disneyland's most treasured landmarks.

1 comment:

mickeyfan said...

I don't mind small changes, such as the uniforms and updated cars, but I wish they wouldn't rename the monorail!