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Rumor New Monorails Coming Soon?

JoeCamel

Well-Known Member
Each monorail system is unique - based on length and ridership, and age of infrastructure - and operating costs are kept close to the vest. The Jacksonville Skyline costs $19 million per year to operate and maintain 2.5 miles of track (2022 dollars; this year's inflationary pressures have made that number skyrocket). That's $7.6 million per mile.

Disney has 14.7 miles of monorail track. Based on Jacksonville (which is a newer system), that would put Disney's cost per year at $111,000,000 per year for monorail maintenance. That's a lot of money, but not when compared to Disney's roughly $71 BILLION in operating costs each year. No small potatoes but that $111 million cost is less than 1/5 of 1% of Disney's overall operating cost.

Still, the bean counters can't be happy with maintaining a system that provides zero rate of return, especially when operating gondolas (which require cable and steel pylons, not concrete beams, to maintain).




Not zero, merch sales still happen
 

ohioguy

Well-Known Member
First, I appreciate your more sincere attempt to engage in this conversation. Thank you.

Having said that, Maintenance costs are not determined by mileage of beam / track and None of those articles you site suggest that.

There honestly is nothing to suggest that the Walt Disney World monorail system will age out because of the deterioration of the track or that track maintenance is particularly expensive.

The Walt Disney World system And I totally different type of monorail system compared to Jacksonville. You cannot extrapolate the cost of maintenance to the beams at Walt Disney World by comparing the cost of maintenance divided by the beam mileage at Jacksonville.

They're totally different systems with totally different types of trains , beams/track and different types of maintenance needs.

The trains of the Walt Disney World resort are far more elaborate, much larger and certainly much longer. The beam/tracks are also completely different. Disney's fleet of trains are much more complex and larger.

Extrapolating costs based on a set value is standard practice in most construction and expenditures. Anyone who has built a home, with a cost-per-square-foot ratio, is well acquainted with the concept. UPS calculates its costs based on its total mileage of all drivers divided by its expenses. It's an averaging, not a hard number.

I did say that each monorail system is unique. They will have their own special costs associated that is inherent to them.

It's not a stretch to say that 14+ miles of track is going to cost far more than 2.5 miles of track. It's obvious.

Weren't there problems with beams sinking at one point? This is what happens when you build on a swamp...

We are lucky that Disney built the monorail when it did; I don't see them doing it now. Certainly I don't see them having extended the EPCOT line if that park was built even 10 years later. That's opinion, not fact, but based on what information we have. The future is the Skyliner, with its cheaper costs and cost-per-mile to maintain.

Ultimately, only Disney knows the hard numbers, and they aren't talking. As usual.
 

Brad Bishop

Well-Known Member
We can argue all day long about the cost of monorail expansion at WDW. The simple fact is: buses are cheaper / make more sense.

I think that the cost of keeping the trains running will be what breaks the camels back over the deterioration of the beams. You'll likely have the beams standing around for decades after the monorail has been shut down.

The other thing is that moving parking closer to the MK entrance would help reduce costs. Put a garage on either side of the MK and they're set. You just walk your way up to the entrance gate. No need for buses. Save money on ferries. They could even promote this as, "To improve guest satisfaction, we've built two new parking garages on either side of the MK. Now you'll be parking right at the doorstep!"

Still, long term: buses are the answer. They have that huge bus depot at every resort and park. The recently (last 10 years or so) increased the size of the depot at the MK (doubled it). If a bus goes down you can pull another up within mins and unload/load the customers to get them on their way. No need to call the fire dept. If you need more capacity you can just line up the buses at the depots and as soon as one is full, it pulls out and the next pulls in.

Are they fun, thrilling, or sexy? No.
Are the practical and cheap? Yes.

Even the bus-only (separated) lanes, which have some cost, make a lot of sense.
 

Epcot82Guy

Well-Known Member
I was really hoping we'd hear about a new partnership with the Xandarians, given their new sponsorship over at Epcot. I've heard they have some really cutting edge technology that could really help us here on Earth. Would be a shame to let that go to waste...
 

JoeCamel

Well-Known Member
We can argue all day long about the cost of monorail expansion at WDW. The simple fact is: buses are cheaper / make more sense.

I think that the cost of keeping the trains running will be what breaks the camels back over the deterioration of the beams. You'll likely have the beams standing around for decades after the monorail has been shut down.

The other thing is that moving parking closer to the MK entrance would help reduce costs. Put a garage on either side of the MK and they're set. You just walk your way up to the entrance gate. No need for buses. Save money on ferries. They could even promote this as, "To improve guest satisfaction, we've built two new parking garages on either side of the MK. Now you'll be parking right at the doorstep!"

Still, long term: buses are the answer. They have that huge bus depot at every resort and park. The recently (last 10 years or so) increased the size of the depot at the MK (doubled it). If a bus goes down you can pull another up within mins and unload/load the customers to get them on their way. No need to call the fire dept. If you need more capacity you can just line up the buses at the depots and as soon as one is full, it pulls out and the next pulls in.

Are they fun, thrilling, or sexy? No.
Are the practical and cheap? Yes.

Even the bus-only (separated) lanes, which have some cost, make a lot of sense.
Let's take a look at the value proposition from WDWs eyes, build parking garages that turn $25 - $30 a slot or build hotel/DVC in those locations.....
I know which they would choose because the whole GS thing is just not their priority.

Yes, the trains will be what kills the system not the beams. It makes no sense to build such a rigid system when they have the flexibility of the bus system for less money.
 

TrainsOfDisney

Well-Known Member
I get the Monorail is (or is becoming) prohibitively expensive to operate.
It’s not.
Certainly I don't see them having extended the EPCOT line if that park was built even 10 years later. That's opinion, not fact, but based on what information we have.
Well 10 years later they didn’t extend the Epcot monorail to MGM which was a much shorter distance so that’s pretty accurate I would say.
 

Brad Bishop

Well-Known Member
From what I remember reading, getting the Epcot line built was a bit of a fight.

Another problem with the monorail and its expansion, which won't happen: You get to the point where guests are trying to manage the transportation.

Right now, with their buses, a guest can leave their resort and easily find the one bus that'll take them to their destination (parks or Disney Springs). No transfers needed.

It only falls apart if you need resort-resort transportation which leaves you with needing to use the nearest park for the transfer - but this is probably OK in that only guests who go there a lot and would understand how to do this would likely be in this situation (a dining reservation at a different resort than they are staying at).

With the monorail, how to you limit transfers and, at the same time, limit ride time. No one wants to take 90-120mins to go from MK, transfer to Epcot line, ride to Epcot, transfer/continue to DHS, and then, after a short stop at the water park, finally arrive at AK. The bus ride would have been 20-30min (including wait time). Or, if you had a hub, and the TTC isn't centrally located, so it'd need to be somewhere else, then you always end up transferring at the hub, adding extra hassle / wait /etc.
 

TrainsOfDisney

Well-Known Member
With the monorail, how to you limit transfers and, at the same time, limit ride time. No one wants to take 90-120mins to go from MK, transfer to Epcot line, ride to Epcot, transfer/continue to DHS, and then, after a short stop at the water park, finally arrive at AK.
Ideally the system would be expanded so the Epcot line becomes part of a loop that hits DHS, Blizzard Beach and DAK and then continues back to TTC. Could maybe hit Coronado Springs as well or instead of Beach.

That way a trip from MK to DAK would be the same as MK to Epcot.
 

Brad Bishop

Well-Known Member
Ideally the system would be expanded so the Epcot line becomes part of a loop that hits DHS, Blizzard Beach and DAK and then continues back to TTC. Could maybe hit Coronado Springs as well or instead of Beach.

That way a trip from MK to DAK would be the same as MK to Epcot.

You're probably like me where you've studied a map, maybe even grabbed a snapshot, and plotted various routes for it.

I'm no city planner. Every time I do it I end up with: "OK.. Parks are all hooked up... Of course.. That really only helps the park-hoppers..." for me, it always ends up, when I'm done, looking like something that would be a PITA to navigate / travel on (let's be honest, the monorail between the TTC and Epcot is boring until you see SSE - you're traveling by a road and next to some trees).

I remember, years back, one guy who actually had a pretty decent design which made sense. I don't remember who it was, however.
 

GCTales

Well-Known Member
From what I remember reading, getting the Epcot line built was a bit of a fight.

Another problem with the monorail and its expansion, which won't happen: You get to the point where guests are trying to manage the transportation.

Right now, with their buses, a guest can leave their resort and easily find the one bus that'll take them to their destination (parks or Disney Springs). No transfers needed.

It only falls apart if you need resort-resort transportation which leaves you with needing to use the nearest park for the transfer - but this is probably OK in that only guests who go there a lot and would understand how to do this would likely be in this situation (a dining reservation at a different resort than they are staying at).

With the monorail, how to you limit transfers and, at the same time, limit ride time. No one wants to take 90-120mins to go from MK, transfer to Epcot line, ride to Epcot, transfer/continue to DHS, and then, after a short stop at the water park, finally arrive at AK. The bus ride would have been 20-30min (including wait time). Or, if you had a hub, and the TTC isn't centrally located, so it'd need to be somewhere else, then you always end up transferring at the hub, adding extra hassle / wait /etc.
Actually, if you want to go to AK from MK, best way would be to walk to Contempo and catch AK bus from there.

You could do similar for EPCOT- exit at the IG and walk take boat to one of the epcot resorts (BW, YC, BC) and take bus to AK from there. Though boat ride / walk is longer than walk at Mk)

But, in general, your point is valid.
 

UNCgolf

Well-Known Member
With the monorail, how to you limit transfers and, at the same time, limit ride time. No one wants to take 90-120mins to go from MK, transfer to Epcot line, ride to Epcot, transfer/continue to DHS, and then, after a short stop at the water park, finally arrive at AK. The bus ride would have been 20-30min (including wait time). Or, if you had a hub, and the TTC isn't centrally located, so it'd need to be somewhere else, then you always end up transferring at the hub, adding extra hassle / wait /etc.

This is the same reason a large expansion of the Skyliner doesn't make any sense. I imagine it's cheaper to build/operate than the monorails, but it also has even longer transit times and the potential for significantly more downtime where the system isn't operational for any guest usage.

I personally would love it if the monorails went to every park, but I don't see it ever happening. I also don't see them ever making any major expansion to the Skyliner (they could potentially make a couple of minor ones).
 
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Disone

Well-Known Member
Still, long term: buses are the answer. {Snip}

Are they fun, thrilling, or sexy? No.
Are the practical and cheap? Yes.

Even the bus-only (separated) lanes, which have some cost, make a lot of sense.
Yes, I completely understand the very corporate decision being made here.

This is a great justification but it should also be noted that it was also true in 1969 when Walt Disney World resort was being built. Buses were cheaper than monorails. They always have been.

They still built monorails instead. Because they were Disney and they understood that that was neat and exciting and part of the experience that they were selling.

Today's Disney doesn't understand that anymore. It's all about the Excel spreadsheet. You're completely right. Buses are cheaper. But they always have been. This is nothing new.

What is new is the company is unwilling to spend more than "just enough" to make the guest experience more then what they get at home but for less. I guess that's not really that new anymore either.
 

Disone

Well-Known Member
Extrapolating costs based on a set value is standard practice in most construction and expenditures. Anyone who has built a home, with a cost-per-square-foot ratio, is well acquainted with the concept. UPS calculates its costs based on its total mileage of all drivers divided by its expenses. It's an averaging, not a hard number.
You still cannot compare the maintenance cost PER MILE of Jax to WDW. It is like saying you can compare the maintenance costs of a Honda Accord to a Peterbilt semi truck because they both feature internal combustion engines and drive on roads.
I did say that each monorail system is unique. They will have their own special costs associated that is inherent to them.

It's not a stretch to say that 14+ miles of track is going to cost far more than 2.5 miles of track. It's obvious.
Yes that is obvious... But you said WDW's cost PER MILE compared to Jax's cost per mile. That's a no go for the above stated reason.
Weren't there problems with beams sinking at one point? This is what happens when you build on a swamp...
No. I believe this is urban myth. I have seen no credible source claiming this. See below

We are lucky that Disney built the monorail when it did; I don't see them doing it now. Certainly I don't see them having extended the EPCOT line if that park was built even 10 years later. That's opinion, not fact, but based on what information we have. The future is the Skyliner, with its cheaper costs and cost-per-mile to maintain.

Ultimately, only Disney knows the hard numbers, and they aren't talking. As usual.
We agree on this last part. They do know the hard numbers. But like I said in my other post, A monorail has always been a more expensive option then running busses. That is not new. It was true when Walt expanded his monorail to the Disneyland Hotel. It was true when WDW was being built for its 1971 opening. It was true when the WDW system was expanded for 1982 opening of Epcot. I don't think they ran into problems with the beams sinking, the Epcot Monorail open prior to the the opening of Epcot, they actually sold tickets to ride it prior to opening.

You kind of hear the same thing about the rooms at the Contemporary, they were built to be removable but the building sank. the truth is first.... even in the 1960's, it was well known and documented that a 14 story concrete and steel structure was going to settle and sink a bit, especially on Florida soil. Second they had to insert the room in a certain order because once they were in place they were hooked up to pumpling and electrical with would no longer be so accessible when the next room slide in. And finally the balconies were building after the room was in place. They were not really built with intend to be removed. They were built so that rooms could be built at the same time as the super structure of the resort, in theory saving time and thus money. It did not save any time or money then, but today it have been evolved and the concept is still used for ship building. Like the Contemporary ships rooms are still not removable once put into place and hooked up / locked in. But I regress.... sorry.
 
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Goofyernmost

Well-Known Member
Guilty as charged! Haha.



Who knows what the next 50 years will bring. But I agree it’s cutrently not likely.
At 74 I indeed know what at least some of the next 50 years will bring. I understand and always have understood why the monorails are as complete as they ever will be. They are a major part of the WDW, DLR identity. And until the the current generation is gone, it will be a necessary part of that identity. They were spectacular back then and expected now.
 

Rich Brownn

Well-Known Member
Extrapolating costs based on a set value is standard practice in most construction and expenditures. Anyone who has built a home, with a cost-per-square-foot ratio, is well acquainted with the concept. UPS calculates its costs based on its total mileage of all drivers divided by its expenses. It's an averaging, not a hard number.

I did say that each monorail system is unique. They will have their own special costs associated that is inherent to them.

It's not a stretch to say that 14+ miles of track is going to cost far more than 2.5 miles of track. It's obvious.

Weren't there problems with beams sinking at one point? This is what happens when you build on a swamp...

We are lucky that Disney built the monorail when it did; I don't see them doing it now. Certainly I don't see them having extended the EPCOT line if that park was built even 10 years later. That's opinion, not fact, but based on what information we have. The future is the Skyliner, with its cheaper costs and cost-per-mile to maintain.

Ultimately, only Disney knows the hard numbers, and they aren't talking. As usual.
Even the original plans for World Showcase (the two circular buildings similar to what CommuniCore looked like) had an elevated light rail, not a monorail, going down the middle. And the Future World Theme Center (what was going to be the central entrance for all of WDW) showed elevated PeopleMovers, not monorails, going out from them.
 

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