The monorail is an iconic Disney World transport system that opened in 1971. The fact that it has remained one of the most popular forms of transportation at Walt Disney World for over five decades is a testament to the convenience and uniqueness of the Disney World monorail.
So, where does the Disney World monorail take you? What are the three monorail lines? And which parks and resorts are on the monorail routes? There are two theme parks and three Disney Resort hotels on the Disney monorail map.
Join me as I take you on a virtual ride on this magnificent “Highway in the Sky,” aka the Disney World monorail. Whether it’s your first visit or your 20th Walt Disney World vacation, I’m going to give you some insider tips that will help you make the most of this quintessentially Disney transport.
What Is The Monorail And How Does It Work?
The monorail is a single rail line that runs on a horizontal beam supported on tall vertical columns. The height of the rail line is such that the center of gravity of the carriages is below the level of the rail.
The Disney World monorail runs entirely on electricity, reaching up to 40 mph. It is a completely automatic system, but each train has a pilot on board for emergencies.
The monorail is a free transportation system that connects several parts of the vast Disney World property. It’s a good option if you want to save time and have easy access to the park entrance for Magic Kingdom and Epcot or travel to and from several resorts on the Disney World monorail route.
Many people choose to ride the monorail on their Disney World vacation as a joyride because it’s unique, fun, and classic. The Seven Seas Lagoon monorail crawl is a fun way to go bar hopping in the evenings!
Keep reading to learn more about how to maneuver the Disney World monorail transportation system and save time.
A Quick History Of The Disney Monorail
The monorail at WDW was developed as a public transportation system to take guests to various parts of the property quickly and conveniently. Indeed, the monorail has become synonymous with Disney World to the point that many people think the Walt Disney Company invented it.
The truth is that the inventor of the monorail system was a gentleman called Henry Robinson Palmer, who filed a patent for it way back in 1821.
Yet, it wasn’t until the 1950s that Walt Disney started talking about the monorail as an innovative way to transport passengers. This ultimately led to the introduction of the Viewliner at the Disneyland Resort in California in 1957.
While not a monorail in the true sense of the word, the Viewliner, which was a sightseeing train, was a first step in the right direction. When Walt and his wife Lillian saw a real monorail in Germany a year later, there was no looking back, and the monorail made its debut along with Magic Kingdom in 1971.
Disney World Monorail Routes
There are three monorail lines at Walt Disney World listed below.
Regardless of the destination, all three lines run in a continuous loop between the following locations:
- The Express Line is a direct service between the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) and the Magic Kingdom theme park.
- The Epcot Line runs between the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) and the Epcot theme park.
- The Resort Line connects the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC), Magic Kingdom, and 3 Disney World deluxe resorts.
Disney World Monorail Stations
- The Express Line has two monorail stops, one at the TTC and the other at Magic Kingdom.
- The Epcot Monorail has two stations, one at the Ticket Center and the other at Epcot.
- The Resort Line has five stops at Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and the TTC.
Best Monorail Resort at WDW
The Express Line and the Epcot Line are direct routes with only 2 monorail stops. However, the Resort Monorail runs in a loop and has five stops.
For this reason, the Disney monorail resort you’re staying at influences the length of your journey to and from your hotel to the theme parks.
If you look at the Disney World transportation map, you’ll see that guests staying at the Polynesian Resort are the closest to Magic Kingdom when traveling from the resort to the theme park. Those staying at the Contemporary Resort are the farthest away.
Consequently, many Contemporary Resort guests prefer walking over to Magic Kingdom, which is just a short walk away.
On the return journey from Magic Kingdom to the resorts, guests staying at the Contemporary Resort are dropped off first, followed by the Grand Floridian Resort Spa, and finally the Polynesian Resort.
The Grand Floridian is always the middle stop among the resorts to and from Magic Kingdom.
If you’re staying at one of the monorail resorts and heading to Epcot, you’ll have to transfer to the Epcot Line at the Ticket Center.
Even if you’re not a guest at the monorail resorts, the Disney monorail map is worth keeping in mind. For example, you might have dining reservations in one of the restaurants at a monorail resort, or you could be planning to go park hopping between Magic Kingdom and Epcot.
Walt Disney World Monorail Timings
The monorail at WDW usually starts operating approximately 30 minutes before the earliest park opening time and continues for one hour after the last park closes. So, if the earliest park opens at 9 am, and the latest park closing is at 9 pm, the monorail will run from 8:30 am to 10 pm.
Be sure to note the latest information on the monorail hours of operation on the day of your visit, though, because they can change at short notice. Signs will be posted in your resort lobby, at the monorail station, and the Transportation and Ticket Center.
The monorail system runs at a frequency of 10-15 minutes, so it is a much faster way to get around than the Disney buses. Of course, it’s also possible to take the monorail to the TTC and then get a bus to other locations.
If you’re staying at a resort that’s not on the monorail route (the Wilderness Lodge, for instance), you’ll have to take some other means of transport such as a ferry boat or bus to the Ticket Center and then switch to the monorail.
There are some simple rules for riding the monorail at Disney World to ensure everyone’s safety.
- Health protocol
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues, you’re required to wear a face mask on the monorail (and all other forms of Disney transportation) regardless of your vaccination status.
- Food and drinks
Food and drinks are permitted inside the monorail (except alcohol), but don’t consume them while the monorail is moving. Additionally, you cannot bring glass containers on the monorails.
No leaning on doors. This is a huge safety issue (the doors can potentially open with the pressure). Please supervise your children while onboard the monorail or waiting on the platform.
You’re not allowed to sit up front with the operator, but you can get great views from the front car in the tram (honestly, the view is excellent from all the carriages).
- Dress code
All other rules in terms of dress code are the same as at the theme parks and resort hotels. Here’s a guide on what you can wear in the park.
You will need to go through security when entering the monorail system. However, you don’t need to repeat the process when you exit the Magic Kingdom or Epcot monorail.
People with disabilities can use the monorail (including those in wheelchairs, medical strollers, and ECVs). A helpful cast member is always around to show you how to navigate onto the tram.
The Resort Monorail, Express Monorail, and Epcot Monorail at Disney World are quick, convenient, and enjoyable ways to get around the Epcot and Magic Kingdom Resort Area.
Now that you have a good idea of the Disney Monorail map, you can enjoy the excitement of a monorail route without wasting precious vacation time. Indeed, even if you’re not staying at a resort on the monorail route, I highly recommend taking a ride for the fun and amazing views.
Tell me in the comments below if you love going on the Disney World monorail. And stay tuned for more tips and tricks about all things Disney.