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  1. #1

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    Sad Reduced Monorail Hours

    Ok, so by now the news has filtered through, that WDW is going to reduce the operating hours of its aging monorail system.

    First Epcot's line will begin the reduction but operating only 1 hour after regular park closing. I guess I could see that. I have ridden the Epcot Monorail after hours, on nights where Epcot closes at 9pm and MK is open until 11pm or later. During those rides chances were that I would have an entire car to myself, if not an entire train. So I kind of understood that move.

    Then they announce they are going to do the same thing for the MK. I needed clarity.... the entire MK system or just the express line? The express line would also make sense but Disney has confirmed, it is the entire MK monorail system. Wow! And not a good wow at all.

    Then..... Disney stresses the one hour after park closing is for the regular park hours only. Monorails will not continue to run for EMH evenings and hard ticket events.

    So Grand Floridian, Poly, and Contemporary guests who are used to using the monorail to get to and from theses two parks during the EMH evenings are in for a change. I suspect they aren't going to be thrilled. Is not having the monorail at the "monorail resort" somewhat a given to these guests? Something many if not most of them have taken for granted? How many expect this amenity to be as available to them as say having a bed in their room.

    Not useing the monorails for hard ticket events? Really? So when the Hollow-wishes Fireworks show ends during the Not-So-Scary Parties, and the park has a mass exit, it will be only the ferry boats running? Ok I guess the boats can keep up with the mass exit of an attendance limited event but........

    Do they have a plan for what happens if there are high winds or heavy electrical activity. The natural events, which are frequent, are things that monorails can continue to operated in but often results in the Ferry Boats going 101 (shutting down).

    I can honestly see the Epcot line. Even for EMH. But for MK EMH evenings and hard ticket events could they not keep the resort line open?

    They are saying that "from time to time" they make these kind of changes to accommodate transportation maintenance. Does anyone recall a former time where they made this kind of change?

    At least they didn't say "Guest feedback has been they would like to use alternative transportation methods when attending EMH evening hours."

    And does anyone expect to see any real improvement on how well the 11 remaining trains of the WDW monorail system are maintained? I don't, but if I am wrong on that, at least there will be some positive trade off.

  2. #2

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    Re: Reduced Monorail Hours

    What they should have announced is that they would be cycling fewer trains, and that they will be replacing the trains over time, but while they cycle them, they will be relying on boats, and buses in the time being...

    instead Disney comes off sounding cheap, old, tired, and poorly maintained.
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  3. #3

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    Re: Reduced Monorail Hours

    I wonder... are they just trying to limp along until the end of the fiscal year, or are the monorails in even worse shape than we think?

    I would seriously hope they've set aside funding for a new fleet. Running the present one to failure would not be in the company's best interests for a number of reasons.

  4. #4

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    Re: Reduced Monorail Hours

    Quote Originally Posted by KingEric View Post
    What they should have announced is that they would be cycling fewer trains, and that they will be replacing the trains over time, but while they cycle them, they will be relying on boats, and buses in the time being...

    instead Disney comes off sounding cheap, old, tired, and poorly maintained.
    So that's what they're doing? It was clear on my last couple of visits that something's up with the monorails. It took MUCH longer to get over to the park than it used to. (sighs) Forty five minutes before opening used to be the right time to get to the parking lot. Now it seems an hour and a half is needed.

    Seems like more and more bad news on this board lately

  5. #5

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    Re: Reduced Monorail Hours

    I have to agree with the OP that you need more modes of transportation running at the end of the night to deal with the masses at park closing. I could possibly understand closing the monorail during EMH considering that the event is for resort guests only. But a couple of buses might still be required to carry people back to the monorail resorts and I don't know if it will make much of a difference budget wise to do shut down the monorail and add a couple of buses. Remember these buses and boats would still need to carry people to the GF, P, and C resorts throughout the course of EMH.

    However it's a completely different case for the hard-ticketed events since anyone can attend these events including locals and off property guests who need to get to the parking lot on the other side of the lagoon after the night ends. Boats and buses might not be able to handle that kind of load if they're busy events. And these buses and boats would have to operate and run throughout the course of the ticket event as well. I can't imagine how they can handle no monorails during the Christmas and Halloween events. That's really gonna set people back and the rides themselves will be every unpleasant and longer than necessary. Losing the monorails could be the first wakeup call of WDW's downhill slope for many that aren't aware of it yet and perhaps could result in less reservations for the monorail hotels during the ticketed events.
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    Re: Reduced Monorail Hours

    I think this speaks to the dire condition the monorails are in.
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  7. #7

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    Re: Reduced Monorail Hours

    Quote Originally Posted by KingEric View Post
    I think this speaks to the dire condition the monorails are in.

    Hmm.... You know, I got stuck on one of those things for nearly an hour a few weeks ago...

    I think I may just steer clear of the monorail and stick with the ferries for a while

  8. #8

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    Re: Reduced Monorail Hours

    Quote Originally Posted by toonaspie View Post
    I could possibly understand closing the monorail during EMH considering that the event is for resort guests only. But a couple of buses might still be required to carry people back to the monorail resorts and I don't know if it will make much of a difference budget wise to do shut down the monorail and add a couple of buses.
    Before busses ran directly to the Magic Kingdom, at times when necessary, trams would make the trip between the Transportation and Ticket Center and the Magic Kingdom. Buses could make a similar trip. I think if the monorails are going to be closed it should just be the Express Line and during the events. The guests of the Monorail Resorts have paid a premium for monorail access and it should be offered for their use when the park is still open to them.

  9. #9

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    Re: Reduced Monorail Hours

    I would like to see them reduce the frequency of trains rather then reduce the operating hours.

    Monorails run at 2-3 minute intervals, and each one carries 240 passengers. Barring the express line in the morning and in the evening, that type of hourly capacity is just not needed. REDUCE the amount of trains running.

    Weekly Between the 2 MK EMH evenings and the 2 Epcot Evenings, I have seen them run 3 trains on the Epcot line and 4 on the resort line.

    So after the Illuminations exit rush, why not just go to two trains for the reminder of Epcot's EMH time and ditto for the resort line. During Epcot's EMH evenings, that would me 7 of the 11 trains off line.

    For MK EMH hours, just go with two on the resort line leaving 9 of the 11 freed up to be off line. That would be a result of about 1 train every ten minutes. Buses and boats are suppose to run at about 1 every 15/20 minutes. Even with just two, they can beat the dispatch intervals of other modes of transportation.


    But is that possible? I do think part of the problem is that due to very outdated 1971 and 1982 technology used for switching tracks, this may not be as easy as it sounds.

    How many time have you been stuck on a train for around 10 minutes because they are either adding a train or taking a train from one of the lines. The LV monorail trains switch tracks in 1-2 minutes. WDW's system slows to a crawl for way longer then that because it takes so long to get a train from one beam to another.

    At one point they had to add to switch to Epcot's spur and connect it to the MK express line. Time as come to update the switching technology so they can better adjust the trains. I suspect that currently they run at overly high system capacity because its to operationally intrusive to just take trains off line.

  10. #10

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    Re: Reduced Monorail Hours

    the reduction is hours is to do three things

    - reduce hours on trains
    - increase downtime for service
    - increase downtime on the beams itself so repairs can be done

    reducing trains helps on 1-2 of the points, but not necessarily the 3rd
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  11. #11

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    Re: Reduced Monorail Hours

    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus View Post
    the reduction is hours is to do three things

    - reduce hours on trains
    - increase downtime for service
    - increase downtime on the beams itself so repairs can be done

    reducing trains helps on 1-2 of the points, but not necessarily the 3rd
    This is the first time I have heard the beams need repair. I don't think thats that case. But shutting down the systems one hour after closing EXCEPT for a few EMH trains would still achieve this.

    There would still be 3 nights a week that resort line would not be used one hour after park close, 5 nights a week for Epcot and 7 nights a week for express beam.

    Side note: Though I have not hear they are in need of any significant repairs, I have had it pointed out to me that you can feel the trains bump over the columns of the Epcot line more so then on the other two. I am told this is because the newer Epcot Beams have more of a sagging issue then the original MK system. The peaks and valleys of the beam sagging on the DL system can really be felt.

  12. #12

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    Re: Reduced Monorail Hours

    Quote Originally Posted by Kidgenie View Post
    This is the first time I have heard the beams need repair. I don't think thats that case. But shutting down the systems one hour after closing EXCEPT for a few EMH trains would still achieve this.

    There would still be 3 nights a week that resort line would not be used one hour after park close, 5 nights a week for Epcot and 7 nights a week for express beam.

    Side note: Though I have not hear they are in need of any significant repairs, I have had it pointed out to me that you can feel the trains bump over the columns of the Epcot line more so then on the other two. I am told this is because the newer Epcot Beams have more of a sagging issue then the original MK system. The peaks and valleys of the beam sagging on the DL system can really be felt.
    The claim of some transport insiders is that the extended operating hours cuts too far into their ability to do spot repairs on the beams, which take time to cure, etc.

    I too think 'one beaming' would be a way to address this, but it's more then likely they can't do that for safety reasons as the beams are so close.
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  13. #13

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    Re: Reduced Monorail Hours

    Quote Originally Posted by KingEric View Post
    I think this speaks to the dire condition the monorails are in.
    but the article I read alluded to this being the reason for the cut-back. The trains are in dire need of upgrading and maintenance and the monorail maintenance crews can't do everything they're supposed to do with the late hours of operation. I'll have to go back and read it again, but I can't imagine that they won't eventually go back to a late schedule once the trains are up to snuff again. It sounds like they're doing what they need to do to keep the system fully operational. I'm a little irritated too - I love late night EMH - but I would really like them to maintain a safe system.

  14. #14

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    Re: Reduced Monorail Hours

    Quote Originally Posted by celticdar View Post
    but the article I read alluded to this being the reason for the cut-back. The trains are in dire need of upgrading and maintenance and the monorail maintenance crews can't do everything they're supposed to do with the late hours of operation. I'll have to go back and read it again, but I can't imagine that they won't eventually go back to a late schedule once the trains are up to snuff again. It sounds like they're doing what they need to do to keep the system fully operational. I'm a little irritated too - I love late night EMH - but I would really like them to maintain a safe system.
    You read the article correctly. Maybe WDW just needs to scrap EMH for a while, maybe they need to work in Park Maintenance. If you can't get to everything because of the late hours, and the frequency, maybe they should just keep WDW open until 11pm every night and give WDW Resort guests special Fast Pass access to supplement the EMH times.
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  15. #15

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    Re: Reduced Monorail Hours

    or try to kill two birds with one stone...

    make EMH exclusive hours at some of the other parks for awhile (that don't use the monorail) and keep MK at 11 or 12pm. Then you can get the 'after dinner' crowd to check out the EMH park while the MK still takes the load of the non-resort guests.

    Then you still get the longer park hours... and the monorail team get a break.

    DHS and EPCOT are both prime candidates for this
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