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Hearing that makes me feel better about missing the ride this past summer. It sounds like the old version was better.

 

It finally happened, Disney is going to charge for extra FP+ selections.

https://www.clickorlando.com/theme-parks/disney-world-to-roll-out-new-fastpass-option-for-select-deluxe-resort-guests

Club level rooms only, $50 per person per day for 3 extra selections, 3 days minimum. They can also book their reservations 90 days out instead of 60 for other on site guests. I wouldn't be surprised if they expand the program to all on site guests eventually. It's tough enough to reserve the more popular rides, this will make it even more difficult. It will also probably be more difficult to get 4th, 5th and more free reservations after you use the initial 3 reservations for anyone not paying for this since less will be available.

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Our good friend's daughter is leaving for Orlando in another week.  She has enrolled in the Disney University program, which lasts about 9 months.  I asked her what she is going to do at Disney, and she says she is scheduled to sell merchandise at Animal Kingdom.  She was originally scheduled to be a ride operator, but was ruled out because she is currently being treated for a back issue.

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On 1/11/2018 at 5:46 PM, Yoshi said:

Hearing that makes me feel better about missing the ride this past summer. It sounds like the old version was better.

 

It finally happened, Disney is going to charge for extra FP+ selections.

https://www.clickorlando.com/theme-parks/disney-world-to-roll-out-new-fastpass-option-for-select-deluxe-resort-guests

Club level rooms only, $50 per person per day for 3 extra selections, 3 days minimum. They can also book their reservations 90 days out instead of 60 for other on site guests. I wouldn't be surprised if they expand the program to all on site guests eventually. It's tough enough to reserve the more popular rides, this will make it even more difficult. It will also probably be more difficult to get 4th, 5th and more free reservations after you use the initial 3 reservations for anyone not paying for this since less will be available.

 

Not surprising, I figured they would have additional upcharge fastpasses. Its $50 extra a day on top of staying in a high tier hotel room. 

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A while ago, Screamscape reported rumors that WDW many slowly close down its aging Monorail system. According to this rumor, they would shut down the EPCOT loop first, then the express MK loop, with the hotel loop being the last to shut down.

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21 minutes ago, The Master said:

A while ago, Screamscape reported rumors that WDW many slowly close down its aging Monorail system. According to this rumor, they would shut down the EPCOT loop first, then the express MK loop, with the hotel loop being the last to shut down.

Hopefully its for refurbishment and not permanently. The hotels on the line would have a pretty big lack in transportation without it.

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2 hours ago, Viper26 said:

Hopefully its for refurbishment and not permanently. The hotels on the line would have a pretty big lack in transportation without it.

 

It would sadly be permanent as the whole system has basically been ran into the ground and requires too much and money to restore it at this point. Even the track needs overhauling. The EPCOT loop is the longest and why it may be the first to close down to consolidate resources to keep the aging MK loop running longer. Its just not looking good for the iconic WDW monorail.  

Edited by The Master

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I would hate to see the monorail closed, it's a shame they haven't replaced the vehicles as often as they have in Disneyland.

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Back when I had to analyze a company for my financial management course, I choose Disney. One thing I quickly discovered is that Disney operates on a very slim margin between short term (liquid) assets and short term dept with a very low current ratio of only 1% and a quick ratio of under 1%. Under such a structure, they have to be very picky of what they invest which must have high returns. Overhauling the entire WDW monorail system would be a massive undertaking with low returns.

 

The DL monorail is a single loop that is much smaller than any of the loops at WDW, so it is more easily managed to maintain. The WDW monorail is more like a public transit system utility that would probably have been better suited being ran by a multiplicity than by private enterprise. Basically a public utility is a high cost investment with low returns which is why governments often have to handle them as there is not enough profit margins for private companies to want to undertake them, like city water and sewers. The WDW monorail system is so huge its basically a low profit utility as Disney doesn't charge riders, which explains why Disney has been reluctant to allocate money into maintaining it correctly. Money that could be better spent on high profit investments. I would not be surprised if WDW eventually require some sort of pay pass for their transportation entirely. 

 

        

Edited by The Master
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That would be annoying for there to be a charge with admission going up so much each year (a 4 day non hopper ticket is up to $380!) and for the Magic Kingdom, no way to avoid getting to the park without using their transportation. 

 

We almost always stay offsite and the few times we stay on site, we drive to the parks anyway since I find the bus system more trouble than it's worth and if they charged for that as well, I don't think I would ever want to take a bus there again.

 

Tokyo Disneyland charges for their monorail but I think that is because of some kind of law with transportation.

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I stay offsite at Disney too, their buses are a nightmare.

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2 hours ago, GAcoaster said:

The monorail system is in no where near as dire a condition as people make it out to be. 

 

I hope you are right.  I ride the monorail system extensively whenever I'm there, and always try to get a seat near the cab in order to see the operations.  Heck, sometimes I just ride the monorail to cool off and get off at the stations to peruse parts of the resorts I normally don't get to see otherwise (I never stay on site). 

I admit I am a railroad enthusiast, and particularly a monorail lover.  And there aren't many places you can ride one - the only other one I've been on is Hershey Park and that one isn't nearly as exciting to me.  I even wrote an extensive research paper on monorails back in high school...LOL

And I disagree with the statement that repairing the monorail is not a good 'bang for their buck', so to speak.  The monorail at Disney World is as iconic a figure as Mickey Mouse.  They use it extensively in their massive advertising campaigns.  It is the centerpiece of sorts for their overall resorts in Orlando.  If it goes out of commission for any length of time, especially permanently, it will seriously affect their ability to advertise and attract customers.  It will become an eye sore if they don't tear it down, which would cost a significant amount of money.  And in that scenario, what will happen to the Contemporary?  They would have to alter the ends of the building in some fashion. 

But perhaps the biggest issue mentioned so far is the negative effect on transportation.  Even now with a functioning monorail, it can be tough to get around, especially when the parks and resorts are crowded.

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The fact WDW no longer allows guests to ride in the noses while DL does isn't a good sign. Also I noticed the WDW monorail track is sadly more worn and eroded looking than DL's track.

 

The ads are part of the problem for the EPCOT loop. Due to the Marvel agreement with Universal, Disney can't run any Marvel ads on the EPCOT loop as it goes through the park, a big no no with Universal. This complicates operations for the WDW Monorails as they can't assign any Marvel wrapped trains onto the EPCOT loop even if a EPCOT train breaks down. This is another factor that hurts the EPCOT loop. Wrapping rides is fairly cheap as even GADV does it. So its a low cost investment for Disney.

 

Originally Disney was not going to have the Monorail run through the Contemporary as it was added late in the design work. The architect fought very hard with Disney to keep the design. I would not be surprised if Disney has not already drew up designs on how to delete the Contemporary's openings years ago and has the plans stored somewhere. Disney is infamous for creating and storing plans that either get rejected or recycled at a later time. It would not be that hard to glass in the openings or just fill them with a solid wall.

 

Sadly the Monorail is a very expensive system which is one reason it was never expanded to MGM when it opened. Even in the 70s it cost a $1M a mile not adjusting for inflation. It is rumored that with these plans, if they do come to pass will be unfolded over many years. That the MK resort loop will be ran for as long as possible by sacrificing the two other lines to keep it running longer. I think the problem is Disney doesn't want to shut them down either but they also can't justify the expenditures for the major refurbishments the system really needs. 

 

 

Edited by The Master

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I work in Monorails. I can tell you it's not as bad as people make it out to be. 

 

Guests have not been allowed to ride with the pilots since the accident in 2009. That is/was for safety, and we are hearing it may change back again soon since positive train control was added a year ago. Of course there is less room in the nose since one of the four seats was removed for the massive computer control system. 

 

Many times Disney floats these kinds of rumors themselves to gauge reaction, and the blowback was strong. 

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That would not be surprising if Disney did float some rumors out. Hopefully they got enough of a reaction to rethink about fixing the monorails. 

 

 

Edited by The Master

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15 hours ago, GAcoaster said:

I work in Monorails. I can tell you it's not as bad as people make it out to be. 

 

Guests have not been allowed to ride with the pilots since the accident in 2009. That is/was for safety, and we are hearing it may change back again soon since positive train control was added a year ago. Of course there is less room in the nose since one of the four seats was removed for the massive computer control system. 

 

Many times Disney floats these kinds of rumors themselves to gauge reaction, and the blowback was strong. 

 

you got my dream job!  :)

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Out in DCA, they have closed off Paradise Pier to convert it to Pixar Pier. 

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On 2/16/2018 at 5:14 PM, GAcoaster said:

I work in Monorails. I can tell you it's not as bad as people make it out to be. 

 

Guests have not been allowed to ride with the pilots since the accident in 2009. That is/was for safety, and we are hearing it may change back again soon since positive train control was added a year ago. Of course there is less room in the nose since one of the four seats was removed for the massive computer control system. 

 

Many times Disney floats these kinds of rumors themselves to gauge reaction, and the blowback was strong. 

 

Yeah, it's currently listed as being on the refurb schedule.  And unlike NJT and the MTA, instead of just cancelling trains, they're adding a gondola skyway.  Granted, it will take a little while to get it running, but I personally think it's a cool alternative.  (Also, the fact that they're adding PTC to the monorail amuses me to no end.)

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I wonder if Disney could install a communication based train control system (CBTC) on their monorails similar to what the MTA has done to the 7 line where an operator isn't required and trains run using radio circuits.

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On 2/20/2018 at 4:42 PM, Viper26 said:

I wonder if Disney could install a communication based train control system (CBTC) on their monorails similar to what the MTA has done to the 7 line where an operator isn't required and trains run using radio circuits.

 

On 2/16/2018 at 5:14 PM, GAcoaster said:

Guests have not been allowed to ride with the pilots since the accident in 2009. That is/was for safety, and we are hearing it may change back again soon since positive train control was added a year ago. Of course there is less room in the nose since one of the four seats was removed for the massive computer control system. 

 

I think I'd heard that the monorails are almost entirely automated now, and I may have seen them running some tests with the new system about a year back, if my memory serves me right?

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The trains run in semi-automatic mode. The majority of the driving is done by the computer system, but the pilots still control the doors and can override the computer when necessary. The system still has occasional glitches (especially with parking) where the drivers need to position the train in manual mode to align the doors with the station gates, and have to close the doors and drive the train in manual mode when needed (maintenance checks, reduced speed operations, difficulties with the mechanical systems).

 

When it comes to Disney you really can't count your chickens until they hatch. Apparently of the announcement at the last D-23 event, two projects appear to have been cancelled already. The new theater planned for the area behind Main Street started site prep and suddenly stopped with all mentions being removed from official Disney stuff. The rumors are that either they started work and ran into a problem that was too expensive to solve (unlikely since the Magic Kingdom was so well planned, it would be odd to run into some unexpected problem in an area that was built by Disney), or that the budget was re-directed to other things (replacing the 30 year old monorail fleet). It also seems the "Space Restaurant" planned for EPCOT was scrapped since all mentions of it have also disappeared in the last couple of weeks. Disney has a long history of announcing projects that never materialize...

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At the same time I'm surprised to see the Gondola system speculated to open by 2019, which is relatively quick given they just announced it last year. I feel like that may have been a case where they waited to announce it to play it safe. In fact I didn't hear any rumors of it floating around until right before the announcement.

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It's going up fast. If they pushed it, it could be done for 2018. They NEED it done for 2019 and Star Wars...

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Well said haha I highly doubt the existing bus and boat transportation would be anywhere near sufficient for the kind of attention that area will get.

I just saw some potential designs on WDW News Today for a new 350 room hotel being constructed next to Swan and Dolphin, same owners.

Quote

Screen-Shot-2018-02-26-at-11.50.23-AM.png

The new hotel, which will be leased to the Tishman Hotel Corporation just as the Swan and Dolphin are, will be adjacent to Fantasia Gardens Mini-Golf. The yet-to-be-named hotel will be 13 stories tall, contain 350 guest rooms (151 suites, 199 standard), meeting space, a fitness center, elevated pool deck, and a rooftop restaurant and lounge.

Screen-Shot-2018-02-26-at-11.50.57-AM.png

The rooftop restaurant and lounge will feature a dedicated ground floor entrance and elevator for those not staying at the resort. It will be a 375 seat upscale restaurant with a partial expo kitchen. The bar will have about 40 seats. The windows will be floor to ceiling to provide a great view of Walt Disney World, including a rooftop trellis area for unobstructed views.

The pool will be about 2500 square feet in size, featuring an inside and outside bar.

The new parking lot will accommodate 321 vehicles, with 50 spaces reserved for mini-golf parking. The Fantasia Gardens mini-golf will continue to operate mostly unchanged, with the exception of the entry area and some new backstage facilities necessitated by the new construction.

Screen-Shot-2018-02-26-at-11.50.38-AM.png

No completion date for the project has been given, but construction is set to begin soon.

 

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Screamscape reports that Disneyland's Star Wars  Galexy's Edge likely will not have their free Fastpass and may only have their upcharge Maxpass. 

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