Everyone has their favorite ride at Disneyland. I'm old school - my favorite is Pirates of the Caribbean (subject of future posts to this blog for sure). Mrs. DisneylandTraveler's favorite (also subject of future posts to this blog chances are) is Indiana Jones Adventure. So me and Mrs. DisneylandTraveler disagree on our favorites and probably just about everything else except.....
When we sit down to plan dates for a future trip, we tend to look at the refurbishment schedule if its posted. If we see our favorite rides (or shows like Aladdin) down for the dates of our trip, we tend to be a bit disappointed. We've been to Disneyland when there was no POTC or IJA but there's still plenty to do. But the one ride that pretty much is a trip deal breaker (i.e. find different dates) if it down for refurbishment is the venerable Disneyland Railroad. We use the trains all the time.
We generally drive down on Sundays, arriving at the hotel we are staying a bit before the usual 3pm check in time. Normally, we can get into a room and quickly unpack then get over to the park. One of our favorite ways to start each trip is to immediately jump on the train and take the "grand circle tour". Heck, sometimes we take 2 tours - it's a great way to enjoy the park. Now I should make it known that as much as we love the Disneyland Railroad, Mrs. DisneylandTraveler equates the trip through the Grand Canyon / Primeval World diorama something to the equivalent of fingernails being etched across a chalkboard but she toughs it out for the minute or so it takes to go through there. "This is something from Walt Disney himself" I tell her. "It's old and boring" would probably be the answer I would get back.
If the Disneyland Railroad was just a ride, we wouldn't care if it was running or not during a visit but it's not just a ride. It's transportation. You see, we admit to being not as young as we used to be and when you're tired and your feet are killing you from all the walking (or Mrs. DisneylandTraveler wearing the wrong shoes again), the train becomes essential transportation. The thought of being able to get from Roger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin to the front gate without having to walk it is a god-send. With all the improvements being made at Disney California Adventure the one thing that will still be lacking is a way to get from the front of the park to the back of the park without having to hike it perhaps multiple times during the day.
So a sincere thank you is given to Walt's train, the engineers, and the conductors of the Disneyland Railroad. You make our enjoyment of the park so much better.