HOWTO drive the Disneyland Monorail

If you ever find yourself writing a historical novel about someone who goes joyriding in the Disneyland Monorail, I have a hell of a reference for you: the 1966 Disneyland Monorail Operator Guide.

Disneyland Monorail Operator Guide (1966) (Thanks, Jeff!)


  1. According to my uncle who helped build Disneyworld and then got a job as a monorail operator, they are called monorail _pilots_.

      1. Sadly, you can no longer ride in the front of Monorails at WDW. This came down after the accident in ’09 that killed an operator, sorry, pilot. This has disappointed me greatly as that’s the one thing I looked forward to more than anything when visiting.
        As a Monorail junkie(I have at least 20 Monorail themed items here on my desk at work), I hope they change that ruling back some day.

  2. Hand signals aren’t international. On page 22, the sign indicating that two compartments are required might be misunderstood in England.

  3. I’ve been to Disneyworld two or three times, and each time I’ve gone, I come away dismayed that Disney simply stopped developing the monorail system.

    It’s such a huge property, with attractions scattered all over the place, it just seems like a perfect set-up for a complex monorail system. Instead, they built the small system and stopped there. It’s such a missed opportunity.

  4. If you ever find yourself writing a historical novel about someone who goes joyriding in the Disneyland Monorail

    I have to admit, that’s a pretty awesome premise. And there’s no one on earth better qualified to write that novel than you. 

  5. Disney’s monorail isn’t really all that great. Yes, it is a monorail, but no it is not magnetic levitation. The drive system uses regular rubber car tires for traction and support, and for whatever reason the smell of hot tire rubber seeps into the passenger cabins and reeks in every car, nasty. Hey Disney tell ya what, why don’t you suck in fresh air from the roof and blow it out the bottom underneath?

    Also, taking the $200 Backstage Disney trip, the guide tells us that due to insurance and permitting and all that, the monorail would cost something like a million bucks a mile to extend to the other parks, which is why they haven’t.

    There is probably more to it. Remember, the existing monorail has been around for decades, so Disney has been able to see what the maintenance costs are vs bus transport. Since it is used nowhere else, the total cost of repairs and custom replacement parts falls squarely on Disney to produce for itself.

    They probably reached the conclusion that although “visionary” the monorail is not that much of a cost savings vs other methods of getting around, plus also the monorail requires a big complex station for boarding, while a bus simply rolls to a stop and people get on and off anywhere.

    A better option with higher flexibility would be a hybrid bus with steel and rubber wheels, that can get on and off tracks between parks. It could use electric rails on-track, and a diesel engine off-track. But this is not so visionary, so.. eh.

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