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What if... DISNEY ran Amtrak?


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#1 VentureForth

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 04:22 PM

Spectacular service, spectacular performance, but sky high prices? Onboard entertainment? Dishes in the diner that sang "Be Our Guest?"

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Also Ridden: Carolinian, Crescent, Pacific Surfliner, Piedmont, Southwest Chief, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Texas Eagle


#2 AGM.12

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 04:43 PM

I could see Auto Train operated by Disney, with a few others. Maybe they and Brightline could partner up.



#3 VAtrainfan

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 06:02 PM

Considering the current state of the Orlando monorail fleet, and Disney's reluctance to spend a dime on them, I don't think they'd do Amtrak any favors.



#4 A Voice

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 06:49 PM

What many people probably do not realize is that Amtrak - the long-distance trains in particular - and Disney's Parks & Resorts division have some things in common:  For years there was a notable lack of capital investment, combined with a constant increase in prices with a continuous decrease in amenities and service quality (with sharp drops in food quality, variety, and portions).    Anything remind you of a passenger rail carrier we're all familiar with?  

 

There is also a passenger railroad and a theme park operator who are both running high-mileage, under maintained, and generally worn out rolling stock.  Want to take a guess who that might be?  

 

Finally, while Amtrak pinches pennies from chronic lack of funding, Disney in a quest to support executive bonuses and prop up the stock price is even more notoriously tight with a dollar - to the point maintenance of flagship resorts and parks was lacking - and takes unsustainable actions which undermine future growth.  

 

Indeed, clearly they'd make a perfect fit for Amtrak management.  



#5 Thirdrail7

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 07:01 PM

Disney wouldn't touch anything like Amtrak with a 10 foot pole.  There would be too much that would be out of their control so I doubt there would be spectacular on time performance and I'd doubt they want to liability.

 

I've heard this is the training video their monorail operators watch:

 

 

They'd fit right in!


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#6 neroden

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 07:41 PM

Every single train route would have totally different, unique equipment captive to the route, including totally unique tracks.  And each train would have a totally different decor and theme.  (Ever looked at the status of the transportation rides at Disney?)  They'd also deliberately reroute trains on the slowest, most curvy routes.


Edited by neroden, 15 January 2018 - 07:43 PM.

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#7 AmtrakLKL

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 08:28 PM

Well, if wait times for attractions are anything like on-time performance then this is a perfect match. Who can complain about a 2 hour late train after standing in a 2 hour line to ride Avatar (and that's a slow day for Avatar...)



#8 SarahZ

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 08:39 PM

You think sleepers are expensive now? Wait until the Mouse gets a hold of them. You can kiss your retirement travels goodbye. 


Amtrak Miles: 43,318

 

Amtrak Routes: Blue Water, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Carl Sandburg, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Hiawatha, Illinois Zephyr, Lincoln Service, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle, Wolverine

 

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#9 Anderson

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 10:40 PM

Every single train route would have totally different, unique equipment captive to the route, including totally unique tracks.  And each train would have a totally different decor and theme.  (Ever looked at the status of the transportation rides at Disney?)  They'd also deliberately reroute trains on the slowest, most curvy routes.

This sounds almost like Amtrak in the early 70s (albeit without the trains being deliberately re-routed...at least, on Amtrak's end).

The real problem with Disney in this case is that it would be run under a "rail cruise" model rather than a functional transportation model.  Don't get me wrong, as much of a railfan as Walt was I actually suspect that if he'd lived another decade he probably would have tried to "do a deal" with Amtrak as part of building up WDW (I could see him working to get them an on-property station...rememeber, that whole side of Orlando wasn't built-up at the time...and arranging to have a dedicated locomotive come out and pull a section off of a train at ORL and run it to that station).  But Disney really isn't about providing functional transportation outside of a narrow "to/from point X" category.


Edited by Anderson, 15 January 2018 - 10:42 PM.

Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#10 railiner

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 11:31 PM

Not that it equates really, but Disney does run a pretty nice cruise line, that is a cut above the "mass-market" lines....


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#11 railiner

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 11:33 PM

Disney wouldn't touch anything like Amtrak with a 10 foot pole.  There would be too much that would be out of their control so I doubt there would be spectacular on time performance and I'd doubt they want to liability.

 

I've heard this is the training video their monorail operators watch:

 

 

They'd fit right in!

Great find!   Thanks for posting it....it sure didn't resemble the ICRR in any shape or form... :P


metroblue?

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#12 Anderson

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Posted 16 January 2018 - 02:33 AM

...wow.  I just watched about the first 1:30 of it, and in the railyard my head was spinning at how many apparent rules violations I saw (though the frazzled yardmaster could easily have fit in at any of the railroads EHH was running if he was timing them with his stopwatch...or indeed at the IC if a late Panama Limited was involved!).

That said, thanks for the find!  It's an enjoyable watch (even if "train engineer engaging in obvious speed/signal violations" is way too close to home at the moment and I was wondering how Casey wasn't getting pulled out of service when the conductor was trying to tell him about the other train).


Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#13 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 16 January 2018 - 09:24 AM

What if a theme park operator and movie studio (generally known for sappy but mediocre movies, btw) decided to suddenly land themselves in the mass market transportation business?

I have no idea. It would be a bizarre mix up to be sure, since few of the core competencies match. Most of Amtrak doesnt even really apply to those core competencies when they do match up- Amtrak is NOT made up much in the hospitality business, and Disney has no experience in the mixed transportation business.
Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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#14 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 16 January 2018 - 12:35 PM

As someone who has used them both on a regular basis... the Amtrak app /e-ticketing works better, more consistently and had a MUCH smoother roll out then Disney's Billion Dollar (yes B) "my disney experience" system which is so bad that Disney STILL employs extra guest services employees to stand at EACH turnstile to help guests that have problems. (This would be the equivalent of Amtrak hiring a customer service employee to be on every train and follow the conductor to deal with ticketing issues that came up.) 

 

On the flip side, Disney still does a very good job of providing consistently good to great customer service for their customers, aka "guests." 


Amtrak: - Coast Starlight*, Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin*, Cascades*, Empire Builder*, California Zephyr*, Southwest Chief*, City of New Orleans*, River Cities, Illinois Zephyr*, Wolverine, Cardinal, Capitol Limited*, Lake Shore Limited, Downeaster, Acela Express*, Crescent*, Carolinian*, Silver Star*, Silver Meteor*, Maple Leaf* Texas Eagle.

 

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#15 A Voice

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Posted 16 January 2018 - 01:41 PM

As someone who has used them both on a regular basis... the Amtrak app /e-ticketing works better, more consistently and had a MUCH smoother roll out then Disney's Billion Dollar (yes B) "my disney experience" system which is so bad that Disney STILL employs extra guest services employees to stand at EACH turnstile to help guests that have problems. (This would be the equivalent of Amtrak hiring a customer service employee to be on every train and follow the conductor to deal with ticketing issues that came up.) 

 

On the flip side, Disney still does a very good job of providing consistently good to great customer service for their customers, aka "guests." 

 

Well said.  In fact the only thing I would disagree with is your description of My Disney Experience as a billion dollar program.  From everything I've heard, that number is much too low.  



#16 AmtrakWPK

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 01:47 AM

As somebody living in the Orlando Metro area, I would have to go with the "couldn't possibly afford to ride it"  idea.  Most of us that LIVE here can't afford to go to Disney unless there's a free pass or super special discount involved.  When it opened it was reasonable. Walt must be spinning in his grave at what they've done to it.  They may have generally good customer service, but, geez, you pay enough for it!!

 

Please bring back the Amtrak Florida Resident Annual Railpass!!  We got (and USED) those every year Amtrak had them.



#17 Just-Thinking-51

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 05:48 PM

What many people probably do not realize is that Amtrak - the long-distance trains in particular - and Disney's Parks & Resorts division have some things in common:  For years there was a notable lack of capital investment, combined with a constant increase in prices with a continuous decrease in amenities and service quality (with sharp drops in food quality, variety, and portions).    Anything remind you of a passenger rail carrier we're all familiar with?  
 
There is also a passenger railroad and a theme park operator who are both running high-mileage, under maintained, and generally worn out rolling stock.  Want to take a guess who that might be?  
 
Finally, while Amtrak pinches pennies from chronic lack of funding, Disney in a quest to support executive bonuses and prop up the stock price is even more notoriously tight with a dollar - to the point maintenance of flagship resorts and parks was lacking - and takes unsustainable actions which undermine future growth.  
 
Indeed, clearly they'd make a perfect fit for Amtrak management.  


You notice the lack of maintenance too. The shirking food, and the poor quality of what food is available. Had a bus driver get lost last time I was there. Ok by me I was use the bus to transfer to my hotel. (Hotel to Park to Hotel). However the bus was filled with people try to get in the AK for a last spin on Avatar. Those passengers were not happy campers.

#18 Dank

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Posted 31 January 2018 - 05:00 PM

You mean under promise and over deliver. That would be the day. That would mean no late trains and 99% of them would arrive early!

#19 LookingGlassTie

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 08:07 PM

Amtrak would have an actual "Polar Express" route?     :P


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#20 west point

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 07:12 PM

Disney's maintenance on its RR and especially its monorail would cause an immediate shutdown by the FRA or the transit regulators if they had ability to regulate Disney.






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