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Rumor Higher Speed Rail from MCO to Disney World

UCF

Active Member
Original Poster
Is the old proposal to have a HSR connection between Orlando and Disney World is back? Back in 2000, Florida came up with a plan to build a HSR between Miami-Orlando-Tampa, with a stop at Disney World, which got killed in 2003, and revived in 2009 only to be killed again. During the previous proposals, Disney agreed to donate land for a station, and was willing to negotiate on replacing the Magical Express service to bring people to Disney's property by HSR. The previous proposal had it taking 21 minutes from the airport to Disney World, but no information beyond the ROW negotiations has been released at this point. The existing construction from Orlando to West Palm Beach is supposed to travel at 125mph.

Brightline launched its West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale service at the beginning of the year, and extended it to Miami in the past month I believe, and the Orlando extension is supposed to be operational by the beginning of 2021. As shown by their current strategy, they're happy to launch extensions just one station at a time, so it could not be THAT long before an extension to Disney is built, it doesn't need the entire length to Tampa built to be operational.

This is Brightline's bid to FDOT for the route: http://fdot.gov/procurement/Unsolicited Proposal/Unsolicited Proposal - Intercity Passenger Rail.pdf
The request for bids is set to be closed and hopefully selected by the end of year, which is the point at which they will proceed in finalizing the route and construction plans

This has information including pictures of the trains on the currently open portion of the route: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brightline
The previous proposal information is here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_High_Speed_Corridor
 

marni1971

WDW History nut
Premium Member
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Historically any attempt to deliver fixed transport to WDW has been blocked by other parks and establishments in the area - unless they also got a stop they’d do all they could to stop Disney getting one. And of course Disney then withdrew support unless they and only they got the one and only stop. Swings and roundabouts.
 

toolsnspools

Well-Known Member
High Speed Rail would often be slower than riding DME, and it would cost more. All times are in minutes -

HighSpeedRailTravelTime.PNG

I came up with some of this off the top of my head, but it's fairly accurate. If you can come up with a comprehensive "MCO to hotel" travel plan that makes more sense, go for it. Be honest with your times though and you'll find the same.

Would it be neat? Sure. Does it make any sense from a travel time or financial perspective? Nope.
 

Lensman

Premium Member
I was wondering if/wanted to confirm that checked luggage transfers would be expected to be handled as DME does it now? That is, on the arrival leg you check it in at your originating airport and it shows up in your room, and on the departure leg you check it in at the resort and it comes out on the baggage carousel at your destination airport.

For me, it's the luggage transfers that are the big benefit of DME, not transferring me/us.
 

Sirwalterraleigh

Well-Known Member
Historically any attempt to deliver fixed transport to WDW has been blocked by other parks and establishments in the area - unless they also got a stop they’d do all they could to stop Disney getting one. And of course Disney then withdrew support unless they and only they got the one and only stop. Swings and roundabouts.
Considering the growth of universal and their all but certain annexation of sea world one day...I just don’t see this ever happening. Both competitors want exclusive transport to Wall their customers in on their property...and neither will budge.
 

Pixieish

Well-Known Member
I was wondering if/wanted to confirm that checked luggage transfers would be expected to be handled as DME does it now? That is, on the arrival leg you check it in at your originating airport and it shows up in your room, and on the departure leg you check it in at the resort and it comes out on the baggage carousel at your destination airport.

For me, it's the luggage transfers that are the big benefit of DME, not transferring me/us.
I never leave it to DME to fetch my luggage from baggage claim...I've heard way too many horror stories of it taking ridiculous amounts of time for it to appear in-room (even one that took more than 12 hours). We bring it to them ourselves. I can't imagine it being any more efficient if/when handled by a rail service.
 

TP2000

Well-Known Member
I think its a bit sad that the only disney resorts without public transport trains stations are the two us resorts, especially as walt was such a train fan himself
That's a cultural thing. Tokyo Disneyland, for example, has the majority of its customers and CM's arrive and depart via the busy Maihama station about a 10 minute walk from the front gates of the parks. But that's also why Tokyo Disneyland closes up shop promptly at 10pm even on busy days, without an extra "convenience shopping hour" on Main Street USA - they have to get all the CM"s out of there by the time the last train leaves for the night at Midnight. It's also why if you stay at the ultra-expensive Tokyo Disneyland Hotel or MiraCosta at DisneySea your sole perk is "Early Entry" of exactly 15 minutes before park opening each morning. That's all the time they can spare for Early Entry because the CM's can't get there any earlier than the first train of the day. Seriously - 15 Minutes!

Tokyo Disney Resort is fabulous, but it's daily operation is hindered by the constraints of trying to operate at the whims of Tokyo's public transit system. It's unlike anything you'd have to deal with in the American parks, because most American CM's drive their own cars to work.

As for Anaheim, there is a big swanky train station just down Katella Avenue from Disneyland. Anaheim's station has over 50 trains per day stopping there; 24 Amtrak Surfliners north and southbound, and another couple dozen Metrolink commuter trains serving both the Los Angeles line and the Inland Empire line. .

Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC)


A free shuttle bus (funded entirely by Orange County sales tax) sits out front of the big station waiting to take anyone arriving or departing via train directly to the front gates of Disneyland. But very, very few people take that option even though the shuttle bus is free, the trains are fast and furious, and the Anaheim station is convenient and gleaming with shops and cocktail bars and restaurants inside.

Your Free Shuttle System To Disneyland Compliments of Orange County taxpayers - Usually Empty and Unused.



Americans just don't naturally take the train to vacation spots, or for their weekend entertainment plans. They prefer to drive their car, which is often faster, cheaper, and easier than a train even with some freeway traffic. It's fun to be free!
 
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TP2000

Well-Known Member
High Speed Rail would often be slower than riding DME, and it would cost more. All times are in minutes -

View attachment 291765

I came up with some of this off the top of my head, but it's fairly accurate. If you can come up with a comprehensive "MCO to hotel" travel plan that makes more sense, go for it. Be honest with your times though and you'll find the same.

Would it be neat? Sure. Does it make any sense from a travel time or financial perspective? Nope.
Thank you for that dose of reality!

I have used the Japanese bullet train system extensively, and it's great for getting around medium to long distances. But I don't think most Americans realize it takes some time to get up to "high speed" or anything beyond 100mph, let alone the 225mph of truly high speed rail in Japan or Europe. The relatively short distances around a small city like Orlando is not what high speed rail is for, and it would be a massive waste of technology and resources to build a high speed rail system for the short hop between MCO and Disney World.

Quite frankly, I'm amazed that some folks think a "High Speed Rail" that the blow-dried talking heads on TV always tell us is some magical experience just magically zips from 0 to 150mph in a minute and five minutes later it stops on a dime and you disembark at Disney World. That's not how physics, or high speed rail, even begins to work especially when you are transporting humans.
 

Disone

Well-Known Member
Historically any attempt to deliver fixed transport to WDW has been blocked by other parks and establishments in the area - unless they also got a stop they’d do all they could to stop Disney getting one. And of course Disney then withdrew support unless they and only they got the one and only stop. Swings and roundabouts.
Very very true but there is a difference this time. Before it was gov't run public transportation. Brightline is a private business.
 

UCF

Active Member
Original Poster
High Speed Rail would often be slower than riding DME, and it would cost more. All times are in minutes -

View attachment 291765

I came up with some of this off the top of my head, but it's fairly accurate. If you can come up with a comprehensive "MCO to hotel" travel plan that makes more sense, go for it. Be honest with your times though and you'll find the same.

Would it be neat? Sure. Does it make any sense from a travel time or financial perspective? Nope.
There is no "HSR Bus", it is an integral part of the south terminal, and connected to the airport's people mover system, and as the new plane terminals open, if your flight arrives at the south terminal, you'll have to literally pass by the Brightline to board the same people mover to get to the DME check in. Also, a "check in" won't really be necessary, you just scan your ticket like the rest of the train terminals, so that takes 15 minutes off your "short" estimates and 25 minutes off the "long" one. Obviously, we need to know more details about the operation of the train before we really can figure out what the time savings will be, and if Disney does go ahead with this, will they continue to subsidize the cost for those staying in their hotels like they currently do with the buses.

Brightline already offers reserved cars and definitely could offer a special DME train or other Disney specific customization to get the contract from Mears, and I don't see any reason why they couldn't run the train more frequently to keep the wait time down. You have to keep in mind, financially, that the train going by Disney World is a sunken cost, its required to get to Tampa, and to make the train more useful, its very likely Brightline wants to build a stop at WDW whether or not Magical Express is offered through their train, so the cost basis for them offering to operate Magical Express is very different then previous ideas of building a light rail or train to Disney for the sole utilization by Disney.

Of course, the other half of it could very well be that it goes to Universal if they don't make a deal with Disney, and a deal could be made to simpily avoid that.

There are plenty of arguments on here that monorail isn't efficient and doesn't save time, especially on the resort line, and people swore before Skyliner started getting leaked we were not going to see any new transportation outside of buses, because buses are just so much more flexible and cheaper. I have no doubt a HSR with comfortable seating and a 125mph travel speed is going to encourage more people to utilize the service rather then a Mears charter bus, and even if it does cost slightly more, that has to be part of the equation, reducing the likelihood people use outside services and possibly end up off property or rent a car.
 

Disone

Well-Known Member
It is, but there’s still legislation and planning to get past.

Maglev in the 90s was private too wasn’t it?
I honestly don't recall. But the attempts I do recall where all attempts of government doing the project. Governor Scott rejected federal funds to help build a government-run transportation system. This is a private company trying to buy the right of ways to run a business.
 

Missing20K

Well-Known Member
That's a cultural thing. Tokyo Disneyland, for example, has the majority of its customers and CM's arrive and depart via the busy Maihama station about a 10 minute walk from the front gates of the parks. But that's also why Tokyo Disneyland closes up shop promptly at 10pm even on busy days, without an extra "convenience shopping hour" on Main Street USA - they have to get all the CM"s out of there by the time the last train leaves for the night at Midnight. It's also why if you stay at the ultra-expensive Tokyo Disneyland Hotel or MiraCosta at DisneySea your sole perk is "Early Entry" of exactly 15 minutes before park opening each morning. That's all the time they can spare for Early Entry because the CM's can't get there any earlier than the first train of the day. Seriously - 15 Minutes!

Tokyo Disney Resort is fabulous, but it's daily operation is hindered by the constraints of trying to operate at the whims of Tokyo's public transit system. It's unlike anything you'd have to deal with in the American parks, because most American CM's drive their own cars to work.

As for Anaheim, there is a big swanky train station just down Katella Avenue from Disneyland. Anaheim's station has over 50 trains per day stopping there; 24 Amtrak Surfliners north and southbound, and another couple dozen Metrolink commuter trains serving both the Los Angeles line and the Inland Empire line. .

Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC)


A free shuttle bus (funded entirely by Orange County sales tax) sits out front of the big station waiting to take anyone arriving or departing via train directly to the front gates of Disneyland. But very, very few people take that option even though the shuttle bus is free, the trains are fast and furious, and the Anaheim station is convenient and gleaming with shops and cocktail bars and restaurants inside.

Your Free Shuttle System To Disneyland Compliments of Orange County taxpayers - Usually Empty and Unused.



Americans just don't naturally take the train to vacation spots, or for their weekend entertainment plans. They prefer to drive their car, which is often faster, cheaper, and easier than a train even with some freeway traffic. It's fun to be free!
Fantastic info. Wish I had known about some of this when I last visited. Will try to take advantage next time. Thanks!
 

UCF

Active Member
Original Poster
It is, but there’s still legislation and planning to get past.

Maglev in the 90s was private too wasn’t it?
The Orlando Maglev proposal that was private (and did not go to Disney, at least during its initial 2 phases) was only a couple years ago, and was killed by the airport for fear of losing rental car revenue. Interestingly, Brightline already has gotten past the hurdle that killed maglev.... they already got their lease for a station at the airport and its already built as part of their Miami to Orlando route. Maglev was approved by the other entities of government and the airport was the only thing stopping construction.... Considering they are already set with the airport, and FDOT/CFX and the local Orlando leadership is unlikely to reject this proposal as they approved the other leg of this same project, the only real big hurdle would be if someone outbids them in the next few months for the ROW, and that seems really unlikely. The other huge question mark is timeline and financing, which will likely depend on how the Orlando-Miami leg performs (the WPB-Ft Lauderdale leg beat ridership expectation by 300% in the first few months of operation, I don't think any Miami numbers have been released yet)

There was a government funded light rail proposal in the 90s I believe that never got any funding... no private entity proposed anything back then AFAIK.

The funds Rick Scott rejected in 2009 from Obama were for a publicly funded version of this same route. The federal government would pay for half, and the state taxpayers would be responsible for half of the cost ($1bn+), under this proposal, no taxpayer dollars are used.
 

Nubs70

Well-Known Member
Thank you for that dose of reality!

I have used the Japanese bullet train system extensively, and it's great for getting around medium to long distances. But I don't think most Americans realize it takes some time to get up to "high speed" or anything beyond 100mph, let alone the 225mph of truly high speed rail in Japan or Europe. The relatively short distances around a small city like Orlando is not what high speed rail is for, and it would be a massive waste of technology and resources to build a high speed rail system for the short hop between MCO and Disney World.

Quite frankly, I'm amazed that some folks think a "High Speed Rail" that the blow-dried talking heads on TV always tell us is some magical experience just magically zips from 0 to 150mph in a minute and five minutes later it stops on a dime and you disembark at Disney World. That's not how physics, or high speed rail, even begins to work especially when you are transporting humans.
Quite true.

I have taken the ICE from Koln to Berlin and back several times. It takes 45 minutes to get halfway to Koln then 3 hours to make the last half.
 

TP2000

Well-Known Member
Fantastic info. Wish I had known about some of this when I last visited. Will try to take advantage next time. Thanks!
My pleasure. I always have to chuckle when people say "There should be train service to Disneyland!" There is, and it can be very convenient. And it's all heavily subsidized by state and local government to the tune of tens of millions of dollars per year, right down to the free shuttle bus that drives you literally to the front entrance of Disneyland.

Taking the train to Disneyland can pencil out if it's just one person going by themselves. But when you have a family of 4 or more who each need to buy $15 to $25 round trip train tickets to get there from San Diego, LA, Santa Barbara, Inland Empire, etc. then it doesn't pencil out. A family of 4 in SoCal can drive to Disneyland in a Toyota Camry getting 30 MPG much cheaper and faster than they can take the train and the free shuttle bus. Thus, no one really uses the train to go there because it's slower and more expensive per person even after the massive government subsidies to keep it all running.

But for a single person coming to Disneyland from LA or San Diego for the day, it generally pencils out nicely.
 
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