Type

Railroad

Status

Opened

Fastpass+

No

Level

B - Minor Attraction

Height Requirement

None

Disney Warnings

Supervise children at all times.

Extra Warnings

Please fold strollers before boarding.


About

The Walt Disney World Railroad features stations in Main Street U.S.A., Frontierland and Fantasyland. The Frontierland Station fits in with the rustic theming of the nearby Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

 

Disney Description

Disney had descriptions for the 4 locomotives that make up The Walt Disney World Railroad Fleet The descriptions appear inside the station at Main Street U.S.A.

Walter E. Disney
Old Number 1, The Walter E. Disney, is known as a ten-wheeler. It has four wheels at the front of the engine, six in the middle and none at the rear (4-6-0). Built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1925, the locomotive that later became the Walter E. Disney worked as number 274 on the United Railways of Yucatan, Mexico. Years later, Imagineer Roger Broggie went searching for existing narrow gauge steam engine that could be converted to the exacting standards required for a Disney theme park attraction. In 1969 he found what he was looking for in a railway equipment boneyard in Merida, Mexico. He shipped the engine to Florida where it was reworked, refurbished, and rechristened with a new name and number: Walter E. Disney Number 1.

Walt Disney was a dreamer. As a boy, he traveled the rails of the Missouri Pacific Railroad selling newspapers and candy to the passengers. His older brother Roy and his Uncle Mike Martin obtained employment with the Santa Fe Railroad and Walt dreamed of becoming an engineer. His future took a different path, but his love of railroading never diminished. In the late 40's, with Walt Disney Productions a very successful venture, he focused on building his own railroad, the Carolwood Pacific, a 1/8 scale, live steam railway that traveled over 2,600 feet of track around his backyard. This miniature railroad served as a model for the Disneyland Railroad and the inspiration for the Walt Disney World Railroad.

In 1804, mechanic Richard Trevithick first introduced steam power to the railways of England. By 1830 the United States had also embraced the concept of travel by rail. Within forty years, on May 10, 1869 the Atlantic and Pacific coasts were linked together by standard gauge transcontinental railroad. The narrow gauge railway came into its own with the desire to run trains north and south, as well as east and west. Because narrow gauge track is only 3 feet wide, compared to a standard gauge of 4 feet 8 - 1/2 inches, narrow gauge locomotives and cars are smaller, making them lighter and less expensive to build. Of even greater importance are the narrower roadbeds which are easier to lay along sheer rocky chasms and treacherous turning mountain slopes. Surprisingly, Florida is not as flat as it sometimes appears and the WDW Railroad has to deal with grades of up to two percent.

Lilly Belle
The Lilly Belle is a Mogul 2-6-0, which means it has two wheels at the front of the engine, six in the middle and none at the rear. It was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1928 and operated on the United Railways of Yucatan, Mexico as engine number 260. Imagineer Roger Broggie found the Baldwin bunker C oil burner in a railway equipment boneyard in Merida, Mexico in 1969. He shipped the narrow gauge steam engine to Florida where it was converted to the exacting standards required for a Disney them park attraction. When the work was finished the engine had a new look, a new name and a new number: Lilly Belle Number 2.

Lillian Bounds Disney was married to Walter E. Disney for 41 years. They met in 1923 when she applied for a $15 a week job, inking and painting animation cels for the Disney brothers cartoon studio. Two years later they became husband and wife on a July day in 1925. In the late 40's, with the studio doing well enough to afford a new home for his growing family, Walt decided to go into the railroad business. Unfortunately, the tracks for his miniature rail line would need t run through Lillian's newly planted flower beds. Luckily for Walt, and train enthusiasts everywhere she granted him right-of-way and the Carolwood Pacific Railroad, the inspiration for the Disneyland Railroad and the Walt Disney World Railroad, was born.

Steam locomotives need a constant supply of water to turn into steam, thus a water pumping system is needed. Back in the early days of railroading, an ingenious system was developed to deliver water to the boiler. By connecting a pump to the crosshead, and taking advantage of the movement already taking place, water was pumped from the tender tank into the boiler. Over the years this system fell out of favor and newer, more modern systems were employed. Some ancient narrow gauge steam locomotives still employed this pump into modern times as they tend to be more basic in design and function. The Magic Kingdom steam locomotives retain this wonderful mechanical contraption as a tribute to the classical iron horse and the ingenuity of its designers.

Roger E. Broggie
Like its counterpart, the Walter E. Disney, the Roger E. Broggie is a ten-wheeler. It has four wheels in the front of the engine, six in the middle and none at the rear (4-6-0). It came out of the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in May of 1925, destined for the jungles of Mexico as engine number 275. In 1969, its namesake, Imagineer Roger Broggie, found it discarded and abandoned in the bone yard of a Yucatan railroad equipment storage area. Walt Disney had personally authorized the construction of the Walt Disney World Railroad in Florida. Roger Broggie suggested using existing narrow gauge steam engines that could be converted to his exacting standards, rather than building new trains, as they had for the opening of Disneyland. When Roger found what he was looking for in Mexico, he shipped engine number 275 to Tampa, Florida. Veteran machinist George Britton took possession of the train and transformed it into the Roger E. Broggie Number 3 under the direct supervision of its namesake. George then accompanied the newly refitted Roger E. Broggie to the Magic Kingdom and for thirty-five years served as the foreman of the Walt Disney World Railroad.

Roger Broggie's career as a railroad man began with Walt Disney and the planning and construction of the Carolwood Pacific Railroad. Along with Disney studio craftsman Ed Sargent and animators Ward Kimball and Ollie Johnston, Roger helped Walt create a 1/8 scale, steam train that would travel along 2,600 feet of track around Walt's backyard. This miniature railroad served as the model for the Disneyland Railroad and the inspiration for the Walt Disney World Railroad. in 1962 Roger Broggie became Walt's first Imagineer and helped develop the technology used for Audio-Animatronics and all Disney theme park conveyance systems. Roger retired in 1975 as vice president of research and development for Walt Disney Imagineering, and was recognized by the company in 1990 as a true Disney Legend.

The Roger E. Broggiehas what is known as a diamond stack, so named for the shape fashioned at the top of the exhaust stack. Very early in the evolution of steam locomotion, it was discovered that smoke was not the only thing exiting the exhaust stack. Red hot cinders, particularly adept at setting the countryside ablaze, would also blow out. In order to appease angry farmers and town fathers affected by these rolling fire storms, these large stacks were designed with an internal array of baffles and screens that would allow the smoke to pour from the stack, but keep the cinders trapped within.

Roy O. Disney
The Roy O. Disney is considered an American Standard, which means it has four wheels at the front of the engine, four in the middle and none at the rear (4-4-0). It is both the oldest and newest steam train in the park. Built in 1916, almost a decade earlier than the Walter E. Disney and Roger E. Broggie. It was the only steam engine that did not debut at the Magic Kingdom's opening on October 1, 1971. It was not until December of that year that it joined its three fellow passenger trains on the tracks of the Walt Disney World Railroad. Originally, it was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It worked on the United Railways of Yucatan as engine number 251. Imagineer Roger Broggie found it in their boneyard in Merida, Mexico in 1969. He shipped the battered steam train to Florida where it was reworked to his exacting standards. The new train missed the Magic Kingdom's opening date by two months, and instead made the perfect Christmas gift for the new park: Roy O. Disney Number 4

Roy Disney was Walt's older brother, mentor and lifelong business partner. Roy's association with railroading began in 1915 when he worked as a candy butcher on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. In 1923, he and Walt co-founded the Disney brother's cartooning enterprise. Roy chose to stay in the background, astutely managing the growing entertainment company, while Walt lead it creatively. In 1966, Roy assumed leadership of the company upon Walt's death. He vowed he would open Walt Disney World in Florida and on October 1, 1971 he kept his promise to all.

The pilot, as it is properly known, or the cow catcher, to which it is more commonly referred, began appearing on locomotives as a defensive measure. The scoop-shaped contraption was designed to clear from the tracks objects that might derail the locomotive and its cars. This was especially important to small narrow gauge engines that sometimes came up against large, wide gauge bulls. Railroad myths had it that the larger the cow the more stubborn its nature. Sometimes a blast from the locomotive's whistle or the clanging of a train's bell was not enough to persuade them to move from the tracks so the cow catcher was born.

 

Location

Located up the stairs to the right of the entrance for Splash Mountain.

 

Appeals To

Children, train aficionados, Walt Disney

 

Times Guide – Opening/Closing

This location opens with the park and typically closes at dusk.

 

Queue Notes

The open air queue area is a small holding area with benches.

 

Vehicle Description

The four trains are steam powered locomotives that have been fully restored. The trains were all originally built between 1916-1928 and are named: Lilly Belle, Roy O. Disney, Roger E. Broggie, and Walter E. Disney.

No. 1: Walter E. Disney
The Number 1 train was built in 1925 and is classified as a "Ten-Wheeler" Engine with 4 leading wheels on two axles and 6 driving wheels on 3 axles. The train is predominantly Red with the serial number 58444. The driver diameter is 44 inches and the dry weight of the locomotive is 67,000 pounds.

No. 2: Lilly Belle
The Number 2 train was built in 1928 and is classified as a "Mogul" Engine with 2 leading wheels on 1 axle and 6 driving wheels on 3 axles. The train is Red and Green with the serial number 60598. The driver diameter for the Lily Belle is also 44 inches, and the dry weight of the locomotive is 61,000 pounds.

No. 3 Roger E. Broggie
The Number 3 train was built in 1925 and like the Walter E. Disney train, it is a "Ten Wheeler" Engine. The train is Green, Red, and Yellow with the serial number 58445. The driver diameter is 44 inches, and the dry weight is 67,000 pounds.

No. 4 Roy O. Disney
The Number 4 train was not ready for opening day 1971, and made it's debut run in December of that year. It was originally built in 1916 and is classified as an "American" Engine with 4 leading wheels on 2 axles, and 4 driving wheels on 2 axles. The train is Green, Red and Blue with the serial number 42915. The driver diameter is 46 inches, and the dry weight is 51,000 pounds.

Prior to being used at Disney World, the trains were used by United Railways of Yucatan. They were purchased by Disney in 1969 and were ready for opening day on October 1, 1971.

 

Story

The Walt Disney World Railroad ties back to Walt Disney's love of trains. Disneyland in California is often regarded as Walt's real life train set. When Walt was living in California, he constructed the Carolwood Pacific Railroad in his back yard. It was a 1/8th scale model train set with half a mile of track. The trains at Disney Parks around the world all stem from this initial fascination.

Beginning at the Main Street U.S.A. station, guests can see their fellow guests entering the park and the monorail station. The train then disappears into the foliage as it enters Adventureland. The narration begins upon departure:

Welcome aboard the Walt Disney World Railroad.
We're about to take a grand circle tour of the Magic Kingdom with stops along the way at Frontierland and Fantasyland.
Sit tight and keep your hands, arms, feet and legs well inside the train.
We're leaving Main Street station right now, so wave it goodbye!
But, if you stay on board long enough, why sooner or later, you'll be back.

For an old conductor like me there's no better place to ride the rails than the Magic Kingdom.
By the way, we're traveling on pure steam power.
This old locomotive is descended from the mighty trains that powered the golden age of steam, and just like me it's a little old fashioned.

Now, where else can you travel from the charm of Main Street USA to the untamed jungles of Africa, Asia and South America?
At the Magic Kingdom anything is possible, and we're headed straight to the heart of Adventureland.
It can get pretty wild in these parts, especially if you run into Captain Jack Sparrow.
He's hiding out among those scurrilous Pirates of the Caribbean.
But whether you're boarding a boat for the Jungle Cruise or flying on Aladdin's Magic Carpets when you visit Adventureland bring an extra dose of bravery.
As for me, I'll stay safe and sound right here aboard my train if you don't mind.

The train crosses over a road, offering a brief glimpse at backstage areas before entering a small tunnel. Emerging from the tunnel in Frontierland, the train passes by the backstage road used for parade floats before entering Splash Mountain.

We've reached the wild west of the Magic Kingdom, Frontierland.
Well, this outpost is home to the covered wagons, cowpokes and Country Bears.
And, we've got a whole mountain range of exciting adventures.
You might catch a runaway mine train at Big Thunder Mountain or hop on over to Splash Mountain and join B'rer Rabbit for a 50 foot drop straight down into the Briar Patch.

The train enters Splash Mountain which leads right into Frontierland Station.

We've reached Frontierland Station everyone, so sit tight until we've come to a complete stop.
If you're disembarking here, please carry your strollers all the way off the platform before you unfold them.
That'll help make room for the new passengers joining us.
Watch your step now, this is Frontierland Station.

Exiting Frontierland station, the train enters into the town of Tumbleweed as the trains from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad drive by.

Howdy folks!
If you're just joining us, welcome aboard the Walt Disney World Railroad.
We're headed for Fantasyland and to Main Street U.S.A.
Everybody stay seated, keep your hands and arms, feet and legs safely inside the train, and as always keep an eye on your little ones.

As we head into the American wilderness we'll pass by the dusty desert town of Tumbleweed.
Keep your eyes peeled for the runaway mine trains of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Runaway trains... now, I ask, is that any way to run a railroad?

A bridge leads the train across the Rivers of America as the narration continues.

I feel right at home here in the prairies and forests of the American wilderness.
These woods haven't changed much since the days when settlers started heading west.
Now a days, the rails can carry us safely through the wild and a trip that used to take months can now be made in just a few weeks.

A settlers camp can be seen along the water and occasionally the Liberty Belle Riverboat can also be spotted through the trees. Deer and other wildlife line the trees as a Native American Camp emerges from the forest.

There's plenty of deer, antelope and elk that feed along the banks of the river, and naturally plenty of early settlers decided to put down steaks and live here too.
Of course, those early settlers weren't the first to make their home in this wild frontier.
These native tribes of Plains Indians were living, hunting and trading for centuries before we ever came along.
They were the first to tame the wild horses of the American plains, long before our big ol' Iron Horses started chugging through these parts.

The train continues further, fully surrounded by the foliage.

We're almost out of the woods folks, and we're coming up on the most magical of lands, Fantasyland, a place where any dream can come true.
Fly over London with Peter Pan.
Set sail on "it's a small world".
Take a trip Under the Sea with the Little Mermaid.
Or, Be Our Guest at an enchanted feast in the Beast's Castle.
Whether you're a Pixie, a Princess, or just an every day dreamer, there's always something special about Fantasyland.

Outside the perimeter of the Magic Kingdom, the train passes under an access bridge before seeing the backside of Fantasyland facilities amidst the trees.

If you've been riding the trains as long as this old timer, you may remember the days when the circus would come to town on the local railways.
Well, the circus is here and it's set up permanent headquarters as the Fantasyland Storybook Circus.
This is the place to fly high with Dumbo, or join Goofy on The Barnstormer, a rollicking ride of circus acrobats and coaster thrills.

The train pulls into the Fantasyland Station in Storybook Circus for the third stop of the tour.

This station is also your gateway to the rest of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.
Now please wait until the train has come to a complete stop, gather your belongings, and carry your strollers away from the platform before you start unfolding them.
That way, we can start loading up for the next leg of our trip.
For those of you disembarking, please watch your step and thanks for traveling with us on the Walt Disney World Railroad.
Join us again real soon!
If you're staying on board, our next stop is Main Street station.

A water tower can be seen across from the loading station. As the train pulls out of Fantasyland station, the train passes The Barnstormer Starring The Great Goofini:

Looks like we're ready to embark on the next leg of our journey.
Our destination is Main Street U.S.A.
Now, everyone stay seated and keep your hands and arms, feet and legs inside the train at all times.
Oh, and please keep an eye on your children.

After The Barnstormer, the Tomorrowland Speedway can be seen in the distance and the train travels along the walking path between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland:

There are some who say that this steam train is a little old fashioned, but for me, it's the only way to travel.
Of course, there are those who prefer to hit the highway.
And, on the right you just might spot some pint sized drivers taking their first spin behind the wheel of a car.
Getting from place to place is a big deal in Tomorrowland, where you might board a PeopleMover, zoom around on the Astro Orbiter, or book a flight across the Galaxy at our busy Starport in Space Mountain.
Tomorrowland is truly a world on the move.

The train then passes underneath the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover before passing between Space Mountain and the Space Mountain Gift Shop.

Speaking of moving, it seems like a whole lot of new neighbors have been migrating in from all corners of the Milky Way.
There's that rascally Experiment 626, better known as Stitch, always up to his usual antics.
Buzz Lightyear is scouting for a few good space rangers.
Even the monsters of Monstropolis have taken a shine to Tomorrowland.
I hear those monsters are pretty funny, they're sure funny looking.

As the train passes Space Mountain, guests get a look outside the park at Bay Lake Tower and The Contemporary Resort.

Yep, the future is hear today at the Magic Kingdom.
And the future looks like a lot of fun.
But after working on the railroad all the livelong day, it's nice to come home to good 'ol Main Street U.S.A.

Inspired by the small town dreams of a young Walt Disney, a walk down Main Street is like stepping back into the early years of the 20th century.
Of course, ours is a Main Street of the imagination, and we've got our own hometown hero, Mickey Mouse.
Mickey and his friends have gathered at the Town Square Theater and they're always happy to meet their fans.

Before re-entering the Main Street U.S.A. station, guests get a look down Main Street U.S.A. at Cinderella Castle.

We've made a complete trip around the Magic Kingdom.
For those of you who've been on board for the whole journey, thanks for putting up with me these past few days.
If you're staying with us, we'll be headed for Frontierland next.
Right now, please stay seated until our train comes to a complete stop.
Then, pick up your belongings and carefully step off the train.
If you have strollers to unfold please take them all the way beyond the platform sow e can safely board passengers for the next leg of our journey.

This is Main Street station, Main Street U.S.A.

 

Similar Attractions

The Wildlife Express Train at Disney's Animal Kingdom offers a similar experience.

 

Videos

The below video is used with permission from the YouTube channel Virtual Disney World. These videos allow users to manipulate the camera a full 360 degrees using their cursor or directional arrows on their computer. Users on a smartphone or tablet can also manipulate the camera by moving their device in the direction they wish to look.

 

Photos