Those yearning to ride Disneyland's long-awaited new monorail found they had to hang on a little longer Saturday. The Mark VII, which had appeared off and on late in the week, never made it out of its shelter, to the dismay of some visitors hoping to step aboard.
"I'm a little disappointed," said Samantha Wakach, a vacationer from Los Angeles, who'd been told by the concierge at her hotel that the new train was operating. "That's why we decided to come over here instead of walking."
The Mark VII, otherwise known as Monorail Red, is the seventh generation of the ride that's been entertaining visitors since 1959 when it made its entry as the nation's first electric train system on a single rail.
Sleek and futuristic, it was promoted as a vision for public transportation.
On Saturday the long-awaited new train, the park's only upgrade of the attraction in 21 years, failed to appear after several hours of on-again, off-again operation over the previous two days.
Disney officials attributed the glitches to the attraction's normal "test and adjust" period, when mechanics and designers work out the bugs.
"We are working on solving them," spokeswoman Betsy Sanchez said of the unspecified problems.
She would not predict when the ride would open full time.
When it does, Disneyland guests will be whisked along the system's 2.5-mile route in even sleeker-looking coaches complete with remodeled nose cones, seats facing outward toward the windows and blue glass with shimmering red, blue or orange stripes.
"This is such an important icon," designer Scott Drake said. "It's the first thing our guests see when they drive up, so we wanted to make sure there's as much color as possible."
The new trains, he said, will also have lighting under and behind the seats "so that at night the interior looks like its glowing the color of the windows."
As for its mechanical aspects, Drake said, it won't be much different from the original Alweg Co. model introduced in 1959.
That was the year after Walt Disney, vacationing in Germany, happened to see one of the company's test vehicles passing on a rail overhead.
Disneyland's founder was so inspired, according to Drake, that he asked one of his transportation specialists, a young designer named Bob Gurr, to work with Alweg engineers on building the park's -- and America's -- first monorail.