"Well, sir, there’s nothing on earth
Like a genuine,
What’d I say?
What’s it called?
That’s right! Monorail!"
When I first saw the Monorail episode of The Simpsons (where the above quote was from), I was on the floor laughing. It poked fun at two of my favorite things, Walt Disney World and theatre. (The Monorail Song is, of course, based on The Music Man’s "Rock Island" which I sat through night after night when I did the show. I eventually began to silently scream during the "song".)
But the song is right, there is nothing on earth like (Disney’s) monorail. Okay, there are other monorails. Heck, Imagineering didn’t even create them. The history of the monorail goes way back to 1825 when a horse-powered monorail, created to carry bricks, took the opening trip with passengers. Fast forward more than seventy-five years, Walt Disney and Richard Nixon and his family dedicated the Disneyland monorail in 1959. The Mark VI monorails that run today at the Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom carry approximately 150,000 guest a day to and from the theme parks and resorts. They are named with a color that corresponds to the stripe just below the windows. With twelve colors ranging from black to coral, cast members refer to a line as "Monorail Silver" or "Monorail Orange". The Cast Member at the Magic Kingdom Monorail Station, shown in the photo, cracked me up with his "hat".
When I was riding the "highway in the sky" in December, I twice had the opportunity to co-pilot. A lot of guests know that you can ride in the front car with the Monorail pilot but many are too focused on getting to their destination to ask. If you are up near the front of the monorail queue, please do not hesitate to ask to sit in the front. The front cab capacity is four guests. The ride is very much worth it! I was lucky enough to be heading to the Magic Kingdom from the TTC (Ticket and Transportation Center). My favorite view was just as we were heading into the Contemporary resort. The Magic Kingdom was in the background and there is a hill that you never notice when you’re not riding in the front cab.
The kids (and big kids too) get a Monorail Co-Pilot’s license as a souvenir. Mine is proudly displayed next to my computer. This experience is no-charge magical moment. If you happen to be in the right place at the right time and get to experience it, you and the guest in party will never be able to hear "please stand clear of the doors" again and not smile.