The Magic Behind
Our Steam Trains

by Beth Floro, February 2002


THE TOUR
If you share Walt Disney's fascination with trains, crave a peek behind
the scenes at the working of WDW, or simply want to feel like a VIP with
the park to yourself for a couple of hours, then this is the tour for
you.

Check in with your Guide at the MK gate before the park opens. When
your group has gathered (note: be on time! This tour cannot wait for
stragglers!) you will be escorted into the park and enjoy the feeling of
having Main Street all to yourself. You can take photos while your Guide
begins telling you about Walt and his lifelong interest in railroading.

Your group will move upstairs to board the train for the first ride of
the day. This is no ordinary ride; it is a complete safety check of the
track and all systems. It also includes a backwards ride to the
roundhouse! Be sure to check out the wall murals in the Depot - they
tell the story of the American railroad circa 1900.

All aboard! Your Guide continues offering you facts and trivia on the
people and machinery involved in the every day working of the WDW
Railroad.

Did you know...
- Walt's uncle was an engineer?
- One of Walt's first jobs was on a train?
- Disney World railroad engines get 792 FEET per gallon of fuel?
- There has not been a day in the 30 years since the Magic Kingdom
opened that at least two of the four engines have been in service?

Your Guide will let you know when it is OK to take pictures. The train
will make several stops during this run, and your Guide will let you
know when you may take photos and/or get off the train and walk around.

As you make the 1.5 mile circuit of WDW, you'll have the chance to
learn about multiple safety systems and signals as each one is tested.
Train Tour Guides all work on the Walt Disney railroad and therefor are
extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of the system. I've taken
this particular tour twice; Kelly from PA was a conductor, Ray from RI
was an engineer. On both tours there were guests who were railroad
hobbyists/buffs/ fanatics/ enthusiasts [Help! Pick one!] . Both Guides
were able to answer any technical question that was asked without boring
those like myself who have no knowledge of trains at all.

Finally, your tour brings you back to the Main Street Station. By now
the gates are open and guests will be streaming into the park. Your
Guide will have you gather under the Depot or at Tour Guide Garden near
Town Hall. There the tour winds up and you may ask some final
questions.


DETAILS
The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains tour lasts approximately two hours.
It costs $30? and is open to guests age 10 and over. Tours are offered several days each week. You will need admission to the MK for the day of the tour.


GETTING THERE
If you're staying on site, check with Guest Relations for the time and
place of the earliest bus to the park. Explain that you are taking a
tour and need to be at the MK entrance - *not* at the TTC - well before
park opening. Double check this information with the morning bus driver
- not all are familiar with this tour. I was able to get there by bus
but the driver took a little convincing that I knew where I wanted to
go. My touring companion, although staying at the same resort as I, was
given different information and wound up paying $17 for a taxi.


GETTING IN
At the entrance to the MK, you will go through the security check and
then you will be greeted by your Tour Guide. After checking you all in,
you'll be allowed entrance to the park.


DISABILITY NOTES
If you are able to walk a short distance and climb up and down a few
stairs unaided (no railings), you will have no trouble with this tour. I
was able to park my ECV at the Main Street Station at the start of the
tour and pick it up when I returned. If you are hearing impaired, you
may have trouble making out the Guide's voice over the noise of the
train. Try to stay close to the Guide and perhaps arrange for an
interpreter.


FINAL NOTE
When my family and I took the tour in September 2000, we were each
presented with a genuine railroad spike as a souvenir. There spikes are
six inches long and weigh 12 ounces each. The souvenir from my February
2002 tour is my paper name tag with a picture of a train on it - much
easier to get through airport security, I'm sure!


Other Tour Reviews:


Animal
Kingdom

Backstage Safari

newWild Africa Trek

Wild by Design

Epcot

Around the World --on a Segway

Nature-Inspired Design Segway Tour

Simply Segway Experience

Behind the Seeds

Divequest

Dolphins in Depth

Epcot Seas Aqua Tour

Gardens of the World - Seasonal

Undiscovered Future World

Magic
Kingdom

Family Magic
Tour

Keys to the
Kingdom


Magic Behind the Steam Trains

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Inspiration: Through Walt's Eyes

Other Tours

BackStage Magic

Holiday D-Lights -
Seasonal

Yuletide Fantasy
Seasonal

VIP Services

Wilderness Back Trail Adventure