The Walt Disney World Transportation System That Few People Know Much About

Walt Disney World opened in 1971 with three places people could stay. There were the Polynesian Village Resort and the Disney’s Contemporary Resort that were both there on opening day and were standard hotels on the monorail line.

1971map
Early map of Walt Disney World

Fort Wilderness Campground opened about a month and change later, and it was available for those who preferred to sleep in campers, tents or in the wilderness homes that people could rent.

ABOVE: Rare photos of Wilderness Homes at Fort Wilderness. They began to be replaced with “log cabins” (they’re still just single wide trailers) in the late 1990s.
PC: home.hiwaay.net

Back in the very early days of the resort, you could only navigate Fort Wilderness’ 700 acres by walking, or guests staying at the campground could rent a golf cart. But just a couple of years later, people could also take a steam powered train, the Fort Wilderness Railroad, on a 3-1/2 mile ride through the fields and wilderness, and over trestles, to get them from the main entrance to Pioneer Hall, the now-defunct River Country (they simply abandoned that one. Click here to see what River Country looked like in its later years), and all of the camping loops in between.

Here’s what the official Disney blog had to say about the Fort Wilderness Railroad in 2011:

“…The system featured four stream trains that circulated through the campground on a 3½-mile track. The trains’ cars were themed after “plantation locomotives,” a specific style of open-air cars that shuttled consumables, like sugar cane and pineapples, around Hawaiian islands.

“Each of the four trains – decorated in forest green, red, and gold colors – measured just under 115 feet and could seat 90 guests.”

The Fort Wilderness Railroad only ran regularly from 1973 to 1977, and on special occasions from 1977 to 1980. Its full history, including its start up, the multiple reasons why the project was abandoned, and how/why it was almost revived, and then not, is pretty fascinating. Take a look…

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If Train Travel Between Orlando & Miami Is Going To Be Like This, I’m Sold!

On a trip to South Florida, we were staying for the evening in Fort Lauderdale. The next afternoon we were meeting up with relatives for brunch in West Palm Beach before having dinner with friends that evening back in Fort Lauderdale. We could have driven the 45 minutes each way but our friends suggested we look into taking the train instead.

We were interested because the train serving this route is run by Brightline, excuse me, their new name is Virgin Trains U.S.A. It’s the same train that’ll eventually connect Miami with Orlando via high-speed rail. If this is possibly going to be the way to travel from central to south Florida, might as well give it a test run on the 45 minute trip between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, right?

Here’s the review of our round trip.

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Virgin Trains USA Plans to Link Miami, MCO, WDW & Maybe Tampa. Will This Be The End Of Disney’s Magical Express?

We wrote about Brightline, the train that currently connects Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Best, not that long ago, when the train company was in discussions to expand their service to Orlando International Airport and potentially Walt Disney World (WDW). At the time, we mused about the possibility of a train bringing Disney guests from MCO to WDW instead of Disney’s Magical Express, which is a fleet of buses they currently use to shuttle guests, for free, to and from the airport.

Welp, it looks like this has become one step closer to reality…

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NY Mass Transit Made A Rule About Pets, So New Yorkers Said, “Hold My Beer…”

New Yorkers are a breed unto themselves. And I can say that because I lived in New York for the first 35 years of my life (Brooklyn and Staten Island, REPRESENT!). As a general rule, we’re quick. We’re street smart. And we understand the system, to the point of knowing how to work it to our advantage. Or if not, at least how to work it over. 😉

So when the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority – they oversee the public transportation system of subways, trains, buses, etc, in 12 counties in lower New York, including the 5 boroughs of NYC) updated their rules to say, “No person may bring any animal on or into any conveyance or facility unless enclosed in a container and carried in a manner which would not annoy other passengers,” (Section 1050.9, section H, paragraph 1) New Yorkers stepped up to the challenge. Take a look…

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Going To Be In A Big City This Weekend? Be On The Lookout For The “No Pants Subway Ride!”

If you’re going to be in one of over 20 big cities around the world this weekend, heads up that you might be exposed to something you may consider to be a little on the unusual side, especially in the dead of winter: people riding the subway without any pants on.

Yup.

Here’s more about it…

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