When Walt Disney World Resort opened on October 1st 1971 the Monorail was an important part of the destination and Magic Kingdom arrival. Guests would park their cars at the transportation center and then they had the choice of two different routes to the park; ferry boat or monorail. The transportation and ticket center with the 2 options is still in place today if you are arriving by car to the Magic Kingdom.
Now there are so many different transportation options to get you around the property, but the highway in the sky is still a fan favourite! This iconic mode of transportation does not go everywhere though, there are only certain places you can get to on the monorail.
Where does the monorail go in Walt Disney World?
There are technically 3 separate lines for the monorail
- Resort monorail
- Express monorail
- Epcot monorail
The Resort line is a continuous loop and has the following stops:
- Magic Kingdom park
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC)
The monorail inside Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Each of the above deluxe resorts are classified as “monorail resorts”. The security checkpoints for the monorail are inside each of the resorts and you will go through them before boarding. While Fort Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge are both considered Magic Kingdom Resort Area hotels, they are not on the monorail lines and have different transportation options for resort guests to get to around.
One important thing (and probably one of my favourite things about the resort monorail route) is that it goes THROUGH the Contemporary Resort. It was an amazing thing in the 70s and still is now – the monorail goes right through the middle of the hotel. One of my favourite things to do is sit in the Contempo Cafe and watch the monorails go by. If you’re eating at Chef Mickey, having a drink at the Outer Rim or just shopping in the grand concourse you can see them passing overhead.
The express monorail loop runs parallel to the resort loop, but in the opposite direction and has only 2 stops – Magic Kingdom and the Transportation and Ticket Center. It’s considered express because there are only 2 stops, but it still passes through the Contemporary Resort. This is one of the ways that Disney is able to manage so many guests at the end of the night leaving the Magic Kingdom, they can pack those monorail trains and send them to the parking lot using the express line quite quickly.
Magic Kingdom monorail station
The third is the Epcot line and it is a continual loop (or they call it express because it has no stops) from the Transportation and Ticket Center to Epcot and back again. Upon arrival at Epcot the monorail takes a quick trip around Spaceship Earth and just inside of the park before arriving at the monorail station. It’s a great little view inside of the park before you actually arrive.
When does the monorail run?
Hours of Operation
- The Resort Monorail line and Express Monorail line begin operating 30 minutes prior to when Magic Kingdom park opens and stop one hour after Magic Kingdom park closes.
- The EPCOT Monorail line begins operating 30 minutes prior to when EPCOT opens and stops 2 hours after EPCOT closes.
For a little history of the monorail, you might want to check out podcast episode 59 where we chatted with Disney Imagineer Bob Gurr. Bob is known for his work on all things “motorized” including the Autopia cars, the Haunted Mansion Doom Buggies, the Matterhorn Bobsleds and of course the monorails.
It’s important to note that while the monorail is a great way to get around, it does not visit Disney Springs, Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom parks. When you visit Walt Disney World for the first time it can be overwhelming trying to figure out how to get around, but rest assured there is always a cast member nearby to direct you. There are buses, boats and even the Disney Skyliner to get you where you need to be.
Have you been on the monorail?