Before becoming one of the largest and most well-known company in the United States, Walt Disney spent his early life selling newspapers and candy around railroad tracks. In fact, the very idea of Mickey Mouse came to him on a sad train ride home. A colleague had stolen and profited from another cartoon that he had created, and Walt was determined to come up with something newer, and even better than before. Not long after came the birth of the Walt Disney Company, Disneyland, Disneyworld, and the railroads that Walt used to love so much!
Each Train Is Unique
Making its debut on July 17, 1995, The Disneyland Railroad has been a popular, and magical way to get around the theme park for more than 60 years! The track was created to resemble the original design in Walts own backyard, with a choo-choo that he affectionately named the Lilly Belle, after his wife Lillian. The railroad then introduced two new engines to the theme park, C.K. Holliday and E.P. Ripley, but they didn’t stop there. The third engine, Fred Gurley, hit the amusement park on March 28, 1958, with the 4th engine named Ernest S. Marsh making its way onto the track July 25th 1959. The 5th and final train, Ward Kimbell, was introduced June 25th, 2005.
How Did the Trains Come to Be?
The original trains used in the amusement parks were manufactured by a company called Baldwin Locomotive Works. These locomotives were made to transport sugar through parts of Mexico such as Progreso, Motul, Temax, Valladolid and Sotuta. Walt then hired a man named Roger Broggie, who helped him set up the mini railroad in his yard. Roger later helped to purchase the 5 trains from Baldwin Locomotive Works and fixed them up to be a part of the attraction, although one was too worn down to be used again. Since Walt already had a machinist, he needed another pair of hands to help bring the idea together.
In 1969, Bob Harper became part of the team and set to work repairing the trains from Mexico while Roger designed a track for the theme park. Each train, aside from the one that could not be used again, received brand new bells, boilers, wheels, and side rods. Since Disneyland’s grand opening, these trains have serviced more than 3.7 million riders per year!
Behind the Scenes Tour
Available to adults and children that are 10 and up, you can take the 3 hour tour through the park on one of the 5 steam powered trains that exists within the Magic Kingdom. Starting at 7:30 AM, you’ll go for a spin through Town Square, Frontierland, Fantasyland and Main Street. Each stop gives you plenty of time to use the bathroom, grab some snacks, and take some photos of your trip. Although there is a cost of $54 per person not including the general admission tickets, it’s worth the price. Not only will it save you time and energy from having to walk the whole park, you’ll have plenty of photos and memories to last a lifetime!
You Can Still Ride Without Taking the Tour
If the Behind the Scenes Tour isn’t within your budget, that’s okay. You can still use the trains to get around the theme park, after all it is a pretty big place! If you haven’t picked a destination yet, it only takes about 20 minutes to go around the whole park, so you can decide where you want to go as you’re riding. Every 5 to 10 minutes you can expect a train to arrive at each station, so you won’t be waiting very long no matter where you are in the Greatest Place On Earth.