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  1. #1

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    Grand Circle Tour of DCA (A train idea)

    I’ve seen this mentioned in passing, but not in any great detail, so I thought I would throw it out there. If anyone knows where this has already been mentioned and discussed, please direct me to the right place.

    With all of the talk about the re-building of the entrance plaza to 1920’s LA, with the intend of making something that would be reminiscent to what Walt would have seen when he stepped of the train from Kansas City, I started to think: Will it be possible to step on a train? So here’s my idea.

    The entrance gets built to some mission moderne style station, similar to Union Station (but not exactly since it wasn’t built until the ‘30s) as has been rumored. But instead of only looking like a station that you step through into another time, it is an actual station. \

    www.sanbag.ca.gov/images/pic_history2.jpg

    Similar to the entrance at Disneyland, we now have the California Adventure line, leaving from Los Angeles on a grand circle tour of the Golden State. Once stepping through the entrance to 1920’s LA, you could walk up the stairs to the boarding platform and hop onto the Santa Fe Super Chief.

    upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/0d/Sf-ad-sc3.png

    Now, for the purists, I know the Super Chief didn’t come online till ’36, but I think that it is the perfect choice for a DCA train. For many people who came to California in the first half of the 20th century, this is how they did it. Billed as “the Train of the Stars” it was the symbol of travel to the West Coast. And since it was in operation from the 30s until the early 70s, I think that it will blend nicely with all of the various districts in DCA.

    So, you would board the Super Chief which would then take off in a clockwise direction, taking you through the Golden Era of 1930’s Hollywood, past the farm regions of the Central Valley, through the Wharf and around the Victorian Pier, finally winding through the Sierras along route 49 before returning to the Los Angeles station.

    There would be either 3 or 4 stops. If 3, you would have the Los Angeles Station, a stop at the wharf, and a stop on the Westside of Paradise Pier, possible incorporated into the Victorian beer garden and new Ratatouille ride that Al mentioned in his most recent update. If there are 4 stops, then one next to the Tower of Terror, one located in a more central location at Paradise pier, and one in the route 49 area, possible where the Redwood Creek trail is.

    Now I know that this loop will have some tough spots to work through, especially around the west side near the Grand Californian. Since it sounds like there will be some fair amount of demolition to go along with the re-building, I’m hoping that will allow some room for a track. Perhaps the train could run along an elevated wood bridge above route 49, with a look similar to various mountain pass bridges.

    http://www.pbs.org/harriman/images/l...pyrrtunnel.jpg

    Additionally, I know that this loop will provide some not so savory views of the park. So, there should be various show buildings that hide these views from the passengers. These buildings could be shaped like rolling hills on the outside, which would provide a berm for the park. These show buildings could be connected on the outside by tracks that are built to look like the coastal bridges that we have, such as the Bixby bridge.

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/94/276656559_d11717988f.jpg[/IMG]

    Inside these show buildings, there could be a progressive history of California, or perhaps local histories and stories about the various parts of the park that you are approaching. Or, maybe you could have some great dioramas that showcase the various parts of the state that you would have seen looking out of the window on board the train.

    Lastly, as part of the glamour of the Super Chief, a unique dining experience could be provided with an elegant dining car on board. This could potentially be the Blue Bayou of California Adventure.

    mikes.railhistory.railfan.net/imfile/02830.jpg

    Reservations would be required and you would board at a single station. Perhaps there would be a single train devoted to this, made up entirely of dining cars. This train could run on its own track that is parallel to the main passenger track, there by avoiding all of the other stops. The dining train would only stop at the single station where dining reservation passengers would be picked up. You could ride round and round while you eat your meal, and then step off when you are finished.

    Alright, there it is. It’s a little rough because I haven’t had a lot of time to think about it, but I hope you get the idea. I would love to hear what you all think and any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks for taking a look.
    Last edited by NeverNeverland; 10-03-2007 at 08:04 PM. Reason: Hotlinked pictures Removed. Hotlinking is not allowed.

  2. #2

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    Re: Grand Circle Tour of DCA (A train idea)

    A train at a Disney Theme Park?

    Something about that idea strangely appeals to me...

  3. #3

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    Re: Grand Circle Tour of DCA (A train idea)

    Heh heh. Of everone on MC, I figured I'd at least get your approval.

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    Re: Grand Circle Tour of DCA (A train idea)

    I like the idea, though it'd be pretty difficult to build the disguised show buildings around the edges of the park. Sadly enough, DCA really fills right up to the edges of the available space, with just some backstage pockets along the way. Building anything big enough and realistic enough to be effective would be difficult.


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    Re: Grand Circle Tour of DCA (A train idea)

    Yeah, but if they are going to be knocking stuff down then it will work. There are a large areas that would need to be reworked in order to accomodate this, but the park needs it anyway. Might as well get a train out of it as well.

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    Re: Grand Circle Tour of DCA (A train idea)

    Additionally, the show building need to be built complete on both sides so that any eventual expansion into the Timon lot will enjoy the same view as the existing park. I think that going through a tunnel to get to an additional area of the park would be pretty cool.

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    Re: Grand Circle Tour of DCA (A train idea)

    Great ideas!

    Actually, they don't need a separate track for the dining car. If by-passes are built at some stations, it
    could just run on the same track. That's lot cheaper (and more land efficient) than putting a 2nd
    set of tracks.

    But I don't think it could be original size... having a standard gauge RR cars would blow some of the
    scaling/forced perspective away. (Just like the monorail on the GG bridge is SO bad/weird).

    But then that would make the dining car really small... maybe the best way to do that is to simulate
    the ride like they do w/ the sleeper car in the California RR Museum (in Sacramento).

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    Re: Grand Circle Tour of DCA (A train idea)

    Yeah, I figured they would need to be scaled down some, but I think that they could make the seating arrangements work.

    Now, the kitchen may be tough, I'm not sure that they could fit what's needed into a scaled down version. Perhaps there could be a kitchen located at the station that prepares the food. The orders are taken and either radioed in or sent via computer. Then, when the train stops the food is loaded on and distributed. Or, perhaps the order is placed when the train returns to the station. So you would board, spend 1 lap oohing and ahhing while deciding what you want, the order is placed while in station, the second lap is spent enjoying the ambiance and observing the show buildings and such. Maybe the dining train has windows on the side facing away from the park, which would have a different show or scene so that diners get a unique viewing experience than the regular passengers get. When the train pulls in the 2nd time the food is loaded and then taken to the tables. The 3rd, 4th and maybe 5th laps are spent eating and wrapping up, finally disembarking when the train returns to the station.

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    Re: Grand Circle Tour of DCA (A train idea)

    Quote Originally Posted by zach1 View Post
    Yeah, I figured they would need to be scaled down some, but I think that they could make the seating arrangements work.

    Now, the kitchen may be tough, I'm not sure that they could fit what's needed into a scaled down version. Perhaps there could be a kitchen located at the station that prepares the food. The orders are taken and either radioed in or sent via computer. Then, when the train stops the food is loaded on and distributed. Or, perhaps the order is placed when the train returns to the station. So you would board, spend 1 lap oohing and ahhing while deciding what you want, the order is placed while in station, the second lap is spent enjoying the ambiance and observing the show buildings and such. Maybe the dining train has windows on the side facing away from the park, which would have a different show or scene so that diners get a unique viewing experience than the regular passengers get. When the train pulls in the 2nd time the food is loaded and then taken to the tables. The 3rd, 4th and maybe 5th laps are spent eating and wrapping up, finally disembarking when the train returns to the station.
    While the actual experience of eating on a dining car is fun and different, the above sounds like a 4-hour proposition limited to an extremely low number of possible guests. Not really cost, time or reality efficient.

    Also the idea of another train circling the park right across from the DLRR seems a bit to forced a concept. I'd hate to see it cheapening the original's experience.
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

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    Re: Grand Circle Tour of DCA (A train idea)

    Tear out the parking lot and you could expand DCA a ton. Mickey & Friends is large enough

    You could actually build a large show building with a screen like Soarin, below you and around you, have a bridge and make it looks like you're looking out onto the coast like in that one picture...It would fit perfect between the Golden State / GRR area & Paradise Pier.

    Just a thought.

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    Re: Grand Circle Tour of DCA (A train idea)

    While the actual experience of eating on a dining car is fun and different, the above sounds like a 4-hour proposition limited to an extremely low number of possible guests. Not really cost, time or reality efficient.

    Also the idea of another train circling the park right across from the DLRR seems a bit to forced a concept. I'd hate to see it cheapening the original's experience.
    I'm not sure it would take that long. Since there would only be one stop, each lap shouldn't take nearly as long one lab does in DL. Or, the total number of laps required to complete a meal could be reduced is there is a fair amount of prepared food so that orders can be taken during the first lap and picked up when the train pulls into station.

    As far as cheapening the experience of the DLRR, I understand the concern, but I disagree. First, I think that DCA has a long way to go before anything in it cheapens the DL experience. Second, because the environments are different in the two parks, the experience isn't being replicated or replaced. If anything, I see the DCA train as a homage mirroring its big sister park. The DLRR is a turn of the century frontier train which takes you to the through a Mid-West town, along a frontier riverfront, and through realms of fantasy and futurism. The DCARR would be a mid-20th century passenger car visiting '30s Hollywood, an oceanside pier and high in the Sierras. Unique experiences in each park.

    Also, keep in mind that the dining train is not the main idea, simply a potential bonus. It could easily be removed from the concept. The main idea is the passenger train ride around the park.

    Thanks for the comments!

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    Re: Grand Circle Tour of DCA (A train idea)

    The Super Chief is actually what Walt Disney and Ward Kimball rode to Chicago to the Rail Fair that helped inspire Walt to build the park in the first place.

    If they do use a dining car they'll have to put Ward Kimball's beef stew on the menu.

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    Re: Grand Circle Tour of DCA (A train idea)

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob F View Post
    If they do use a dining car they'll have to put Ward Kimball's beef stew on the menu.
    Exactly. Put it on the menu, but don't allow anyone to order it!

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    Re: Grand Circle Tour of DCA (A train idea)

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
    Exactly. Put it on the menu, but don't allow anyone to order it!
    You can order it but they'll serve you prime rib instead.

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    Re: Grand Circle Tour of DCA (A train idea)

    Hey, I like trains, and I love great ideas, but this isn't one of them. First,
    will this train be selling Dramamine, or do you have to buy it at the station?
    Riding around and around in circles for an hour and a half trying to eat food doesn't sound like fun.
    The contract between Disney and Santa Fe ended in 1974...I wouldn't call
    it Santa Fe. For DCA, there's another name that fits the situation: DCAmtrak.
    There's no room for train storage or maintenence...or is that under new maintenence guidelines too? Passing sidings didn't work at Disneyland with Walt at the helm, what makes you think they would work at DCA, a park by committee? I think the Carolwood Pacific around the Holmby Hills restaurant is all the train DCA can handle! A circle tour would be sufficient; there's nothing 'grand' about DCA.

    Steve, what was wrong with Ward's stew?
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