Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
VentureForth

What if... DISNEY ran Amtrak?

Recommended Posts

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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...)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...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).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×