Saturday, September 15, 2012

Riding The Rails On The Disneyland Railroad

The Disneyland Railroad isn't my most favorite ride in the park but it is the most indispensable. In fact, if Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and I were planning a trip to Disneyland and knew the railroad would be closed, we'd probably be looking for a different set of dates to make the trip. It's that important. For us the Disneyland Railroad serves multiple purposes. When we first arrive in Disneyland, we often jump on the railroad first thing to kind of get the lay of the land and our Disney juices flowing. Toward the end of the day the railroad provides some much needed assistance getting around for people with tired and sore feet. Perhaps during the day and we need a break to plan what to do next, a ride around the park may be just the ticket to relax and work on our plan for the rest of the day. In a full day at Disneyland, we are probably on the thing at least twice and maybe 3 or 4 times.

Walt Disney & Mickey on the E.L. Ripley
A Disney Photo

The Disneyland Railroad is cool, it's historic, a special gift from Walt Disney himself. And I remember as a kid thinking how cool it would be to be a conductor on the Disneyland Railroad (if I couldn't be an engineer). The conductors got to ride around all day hanging off the side of the train on one of those little platforms waving to the guests as the train passed by. Although today I think the conductors spend half their time telling people to sit down, keep your kids away from the exit space, and stop taking flash pictures.

But you know what, another little piece of vintage Disneyland legacy is in the process of being tossed aside in the name of safety once again. You see, those little platforms the conductors stand on while the train is making its Grand Circle Tour just quite aren't up to snuff when it comes to cast member safety or so "they" say. Has a conductor ever fallen off a moving train in almost 60 years of operation? Not that I'm aware of. But the little platforms have got to go and Disney is in the process of building little safety compartments for the conductors to ride in while train is in motion. I haven't seen a picture yet of these compartments but they are being installed, one train at a time, over the next few months. A cool job just got a little lamer.

What's next? Seat belts for the horse drawn carriage on Main St.?

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