Friday, December 02, 2011

Our ride on the Walt Disney World Railroad

Who can resist riding on a train? This excursion takes you back to yesteryear by using antique steam engine trains. The ride was on our 'must do' list. Hubby and I weren't disappointed in the ride but there were a few things about the experience that caused me to grimace.

Frontierland attraction taken from the WDW Railroad
First, this isn't Amtrak or completely modern but it is included with the park admission.

The railroad does use antique steam trains that leave from a replicated train station. This lends to an authentic experience even though it can be difficult to navigate by the standards of today.

Part of the problem was that there isn't an elevator at the Walt Disney World Railroad station like you might find at an Amtrak or other train station.

Of the two ways to get on the train one involves climbing what seemed to be the equivalent of several flights of stairs. The other way is to take a very long ramp up to the train. I felt like it was too difficult for me to do this on the first day we wanted to ride. (By the way, I'm mentioning Amtrak because so many people are familiar with the railroad.)

We tried again the next day and boarded at Adventureland. There still wasn't an elevator but the ramp there was easier for me to manage.

People who have wheelchairs or strollers may have problems also. Strollers aren't allowed on the train but may be left at the station. Those who are in scooters must be able to transfer to a wheelchair to ride on the Walt Disney World Railroad.

Once I got on the train I thought the ride was worth it. The tour around the perimeter of Magic Kingdom took about 20 minutes. It stops at a station about every 10 minutes. Train cars were not enclosed so there was nothing but trees to obstruct the view.

The recording points out sights along the way. Unfortunately, photos were hard to take and flash photography isn't allowed. I did feel that the ride helped orient me to the layout of the park in a way that a map can't. The ride was a good break and I will probably do it again.

One of the most intriguing parts of the Walt Disney World Railroad is the antique train engines themselves. They are a lot more fun than riding on Amtrak!

Each one was built at around the turn of the 20th century and put to use in Mexico by the United Railways of Yucatan. They hauled sugarcane back then. In 1971 they were brought to the theme park to create the Walt Disney World Railroad and have delighted riders like Hubby and myself ever since.