Walt Disney World Railroad

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Walt Disney World Railroad
Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World Railroad poster.jpg
Attraction Poster
Reporting mark WDWRR
Locale Magic Kingdom
Dates of operation October 1, 1971–Present
Track gauge 3 ft (914 mm)
Length 7,810 feet (2,380 m)
Headquarters Bay Lake, Florida

The Walt Disney World Railroad (or WDWRR for short) is a 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge[1] railroad in the Magic Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World Resort. Operated by Main Street Operations, the 1.5-mile (2.4 km) railroad circles the entire park with stations at Main Street, U.S.A., Frontierland, and Fantasyland (formerly Mickey's Toontown Fair). One of the world's busiest steam-powered railroads, it transports 3.7 million passengers each year.[2]


Walt Disney was an avid railroad enthusiast, who had built a miniature steam railroad, called the Carolwood Pacific Railroad, in his backyard. A full-size, 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge railroad known as the Disneyland Railroad had been included in the design of Disneyland, and would be included at later parks in Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong.

For Walt Disney World, instead of building steam locomotives from scratch like the Disneyland Railroad, Disney Imagineers Roger Broggie and Earl Vilmer are trying to find the steam locomotives everywhere. Until, a railroad historian named Jerry Best had a collection of the Ferrocarriles Unidos de Yucatán (United Railways of Yucatán) locomotive photos on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula and the imagineers purchased five steam locomotives in 1969.

However, one of the five locomotives, deemed to be in too poor a condition to be restored, was sold and presumed scrapped. The other four were shipped by rail to the Tampa Ship Repair & Dry Dock Company in Tampa, Florida, they were restored by a crew headed by Disney Imagineer and accomplished live steam builder Bob Harpur. Roger and Earl met a machinist named George Britton, who worked for the Tampa Ship Repair & Dry Dock Company. They asked him to help them rebuilt these four steam locomotives, but George doesn't know anything about trains. So, the Disney Imagineers informed him that he would be taught everything he needed to know in order to restore these four steam locomotives. Intrigued by the challenge of learning something new, George agreed to shift from repairing huge oil tankers to steam engines. With a crew of only five, they completed the rebuilding and restoration on time and under budget. In addition, new boilers were constructed for the steam locomotives by the Dixon Boiler Works of Los Angeles, California and the steam locomotives themselves were cosmetically backdated to appear older; which included the addition of diamond smoke stacks, square headlamps, boiler jackets, bright colors, and polished brass. The tenders were also completely rebuilt from the frame up and new fiberglass cabs were manufactured and installed on the locomotives. In addition, a total of twenty open-air excursion coaches were constructed from scratch at the shipyards and each of them could seat up to seventy five passengers. The trains went into service with the opening of Walt Disney World on October 1, 1971. When it came time to hire a foreman to run the steam train operations, George Britton was recommended for the position by Earl Vilmer.

Main Street Station. Note the solid side panels on the coaches, which were installed in 2006.

Over the years, numerous modifications have been made to the railroad:

  • In May 1972, a second train station was opened as a stop for Frontierland.
  • In 1974, all four steam locomotives were given some oil painting on their headlamps' engineer's side.
  • In June 1988, the second row of seat in the first coach on all of the trains was removed and ramps were installed to allow for wheelchair access. It was also during this year that a third train station was constructed as part of Mickey's Birthdayland, an expansion to the Magic Kingdom to celebrate Mickey Mouse's 60th birthday. Between 1988–1990, different versions of a song called "Mickey's Birthdayland Express" and "Rollin' on the Walt Disney World Express" were played during the trip. Additionally, an automated on-board narration (which features Ron Schneider) was added to the trains eliminating the needs for the conductors to perform the spiel live as they had done from opening day. After departing Main Street U.S.A. and Frontierland, the train traveled to Duckberg Station at Mickey's Birthdayland (later renamed Mickey's Starland in May 1990 and finally Mickey's Toontown Fair in October 1996 during an extensive refurbishment).
  • In November 1990, the original Frontierland Station was demolished to make room for the new Splash Mountain ride, the tracks between Main Street U.S.A. & Mickey's Starland was turned into a shuttle, and the Adventureland parade crossing is being turned into a jungle-themed version. During this time, the train had only one destination: it traveled backwards from Main Street U.S.A. to Mickey's Starland and then forward back to Main Street U.S.A. In late 1991, a new Frontierland Station opened and it allowed the trains to make the full grand circle tour of the park once again.
  • In 1992, all four steam locomotives were given some marker lamps on their smokebox.
  • In 1996, a pedestrian crossing was added right next to Tomorrowland where the cast members will walked towards the railroad track to get to the Space Mountain building to do their jobs.
  • In 1998, all four steam locomotives were modified with heat exchangers which make them run properly, using less fuel, and reheated the water that goes into their boiler.
  • In 1999, the P.A. system/conductor's spiel panel was moved from its position on the rear platform of the third coach to the rear platform on the last coach, which allows the conductor see the entire train at one time for safer operation to reminded the passengers to keep their feet and legs inside the fourth and last coaches.
  • In 2001, the window reading "Walt Disney World Railroad Office, Keeping Dreams On Track, Walter E. Disney, Chief Engineer" was added to the front of the Main Street U.S.A. train station to celebrate Walt Disney's 100th birthday.
  • In June 29, 2002, the on-board narration narrated by Ron Schneider was replaced by Earl Hindman, which was about to repeat the safety warnings in Spanish.
  • In May 2004, Mickey's Toontown Fair station was torn down and completely rebuilt, although its appearance after the rebuilding is almost exactly the same as the original station.
  • In 2006, the solid side panels were installed to the left side of the coaches on all of the trains to keep the passengers from sticking their feet and legs outside the coaches. However, one set of coaches will have their solid side panels removed, because they're used exclusively for the park opening ceremonies that are held each morning. Characters will ride the train to Main Street Station, disembark on the outer station platform and participate in the park opening song and dance performance.
  • In September 2007, a new E-stop control box was installed on the steam locomotives. It's basically a safety check for the conductor, located on the last coach of the train. He/she will use a toggle switch to activate a buzzer in the cab, in case he/she spots a dangerous situation with guests. When that buzzer goes off in the cab, the engineer is supposed to reverse the train to a complete stop. The automatic brakes on the coaches, which go off as described above, when a train runs a red light. It's to keep trains separated in the six block zones on the main line.
  • In August 2009, the third row of seat in the first coach on all of the trains was removed to give more room for two wheelchairs.
  • On February 12, 2011, Mickey's Toontown Fair station permanently closed to make way for an expansion of Fantasyland. The Toontown Station was demolished and a new Fantasyland Station was built in its place. During construction of the Fantasyland Station, a new on-board narration was introduced, which referenced the Fantasyland expansion and referred to the former Toontown Station stop as the "Watering Outpost" since trains still had to stop there in order to top off the tender with water and maintain the railroad's operating schedule. The new Fantasyland Station opened on March 12, 2012 and is themed to resemble a railroad roundhouse. It features restroom facilities and a children's splash park themed to the Casey Junior Circus Train from the Dumbo animated film.
  • In March 2012, operating procedures were changed to meet updated the OSHA fall protection requirements, which no longer allowed the firemen to stand on the top of the tender during refills at the water tower. Instead, the handrails were added to the back left side of the tender and a little platform was added right next to the water tower so that the firemen would climb on it and reach the tender steam generator box ledge. They use a boat hook pole to open the water tank lid, turn the wheel on the water tower to lower the water spout down from the water tower, open/close the horizontal valve on the water tower, raise the water spout back up, and flip the water tank lid closed.
  • As of 2013, the steam locomotives now had lack of maintenance and refurbishment.
  • As of late May 2014, the on-board narration was getting a final upgrade with the references about the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train during the trip from Frontierland to Fantasyland.
  • On September 29, 2014, the Walt Disney World Railroad was closed for an extensive refurbishment for the first time since the park opened. During this time, the tracks between Main Street U.S.A. and Fantasyland (which had been in service since the park opened in 1971) were replaced. The blowdown bridge on the spur line leading back to the facilities building was demolished and rebuilt. The Indian village is updated with new scenery along with the backside of the park. The rotating Frontierland bridge was repainted and had its wood deckings replaced. The Main Street U.S.A. and Frontierland stations were renovated. The steam locomotives were cleaned-up, repainted and maintained. The awnings around the roofs on all of the coaches were replaced and the refurbishment was done in November 7, 2014. The newly refurbished railroad was reopened and resumed operations in November 8, 2014.
  • On October 12, 2015, the Walt Disney World Railroad is scheduled to be closed for a second major refurbishment to replace the tracks between Fantasyland and Main Street U.S.A., which have not been replaced in last year's refurbishment. The steam locomotives were cleaned-up, repainted and maintained once again. Frontierland station is renovated again and the Fantasyland station maintenance buildings are rehabbed. The refurbishment was done in November 20, 2015 and the railroad was reopened in November 21, 2015


The railroad has four different locomotives and four sets of five passenger coaches. The four locomotives are 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge locomotives, built between 1916 and 1928 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works for Ferrocarriles Unidos de Yucatán in Mexico.

A regular train consists of a steam locomotive, tender, and five passenger coaches with a total capacity of approximately 365 passengers plus 2 wheelchairs. The tender has a capacity for 1,837 US gallons (6,954 L) of water and 664 US gallons (2,514 L) of fuel oil. The tender must be topped off with water every three or four trips (or circuits) around the park, which is done at the water tower located at Fantasyland Station. Prior to the construction of Splash Mountain, the water tower was located at the original Frontierland Station.


Each of the four locomotives is named after those who greatly contributed to the efforts of the Walt Disney Company and Walt Disney World.

No.1 "Walter E. Disney"[edit]

The "Walter E. Disney"

This locomotive is named after the company founder of The Walt Disney Company, Walter Elias Disney (1901–1966). Walt was a dreamer. As a boy, he traveled the rails of the Missouri Pacific Railroad selling newspapers and candy to the passengers. His older brother Roy and his Uncle Mike Martin obtained employment with the Santa Fe Railroad and Walt dreamed of becoming an engineer. His future took a different path, but his love of railroading never diminished.

  • Number: 1 (formerly 72 and 274)
  • Built: May 1925
  • Wheel Configuration: 4-6-0 "Ten-Wheeler"
  • Serial Number: 58444
  • Locomotive Colors: Red cab with red boiler jacket
  • Driver Diameter: 44 inches (1,118 mm)
  • Top Speed: 50–55 miles per hour (80–89 km/h)
  • Boiler Pressure: 160 psi (1.10 MPa)
  • Valve Gear: Stephenson valve gear (piston valves)
  • Locomotive and Tender Weight (dry): 67,500 pounds (30,620 kg)
  • Entered Service: October 1, 1971
  • Locomotive Status: Operational
  • Coach Number Series: 100
  • Coach Color: Red with red poles and yellow seats
  • Coach Status: Operational

No. 2 "Lilly Belle"[edit]

The "Lilly Belle" pulling the "Walter E. Disney's" 100 series red coaches.

This locomotive is named after Walt Disney's wife Lillian Disney (born Lillian Marie Bounds) (1899–1997). "Lilly Belle" is also the name of the scaled-down steam locomotive that Walt ran in his own backyard, as well as the name of the private parlour car on the Disneyland Railroad. It should also be noted that the "Lilly Belle" was built in 1928, which would make it as old as Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.

Since 2004, the "Lilly Belle" does not run in regular operating service due to pony truck and frame issues. Instead, it was used exclusively for the daily park opening ceremonies along with its matching set of 200 series green coaches (the third coach had its solid side panels removed to allow the characters to disembark from the train unimpeded). It was also used as a standby locomotive in the event that if any of the other three locomotives needs a refurbishment. So, the "Lilly Belle" would uncoupled from its coaches and proceed to the stranded train where it will then replace the failed locomotive until it can be refurbished.

As of late August 2010, the "Lilly Belle" is currently out-of-service and off-site for a new boiler and rebuild at the Strasburg Rail Road workshops in Strasburg, Pennsylvania, which was originally scheduled to last 10–12 months. Also, the Disney company will not said when it will return to operational and not giving any photos of the locomotive in the workshop due to fanboy mobs from descending upon its refurbishment.[1]

Although the "Lilly Belle" locomotive remains out-of-service and as of February 2015, its 200 series green coaches were put back into regular operating service in addition to being used in the park opening show. Because the "Roger E. Broggie's" 300 series yellow coaches are taken out-of-service for an extensive refurbishment and the locomotive will pull the "Lilly Belle's" 200 series green coaches. Also, it takes the facilities building maintenance crew approximately one hour to refit the solid side panels back onto the 3rd coach after the park opening show and another hour to remove them again at the end of the day in preparation for the next day's park opening ceremony show. Because the facilities building now has an extra set of passenger coaches available for use with the absence of the "Lilly Belle". Locomotives will typically swap their coaches instead of waiting for the solid side panels to be put back on. According to an unnamed engineering source at Walt Disney World, the "Lilly Belle" locomotive is expected to be returned to operational around late 2015 or early 2016.

  • Number: 2 (formerly 76 and 260)
  • Built: September 1928
  • Wheel Configuration: 2-6-0 "Mogul"
  • Serial Number: 60598
  • Locomotive Color: Green cab with green boiler jacket
  • Driver Diameter: 41 12 inches (1,054 mm)
  • Top Speed: 50–55 miles per hour (80–89 km/h)
  • Boiler Pressure: 160 psi (1.10 MPa)
  • Valve Gear: Stephenson valve gear (piston valves)
  • Locomotive and Tender Weight (dry): 61,000 pounds (27,669 kg)
  • Entered Service: October 1, 1971
  • Locomotive Status: Out-of-Service (Under Refurbishment)
  • Coach Number Series: 200
  • Coach Color: Green with green poles and yellow seats
  • Coach Status: Operational

No. 3 "Roger E. Broggie"[edit]

The "Roger E. Broggie"

This locomotive is named after Roger E. Broggie (1908–1991), who led the effort of acquiring the locomotives for the Walt Disney World Railroad and helped build Disney's own Carolwood Pacific Railroad. Roger Broggie was also the original Disney Imagineer who worked on the EPCOT Project.

As of February 2015, the "Roger E. Broggie's" 300 series yellow coaches were taken out-of-service for an extensive refurbishment. During this time, the "Lilly Belle's" 200 series green coaches (which are normally reserved for use during the park opening ceremony show) were used as a substitute.

  • Number: 3 (formerly 73 and 275)
  • Built: May 1925
  • Wheel Configuration: 4-6-0 "Ten Wheeler"
  • Serial Number: 58445
  • Locomotive Colors: Red cab with green boiler jacket
  • Driver Diameter: 44 inches (1,118 mm)
  • Top Speed: 50–55 miles per hour (80–89 km/h)
  • Boiler Pressure: 160 psi (1.10 MPa)
  • Valve Gear: Stephenson valve gear (piston valves)
  • Locomotive and Tender Weight (dry): 67,500 pounds (30,620 kg)
  • Entered Service: October 1, 1971
  • Locomotive Status: Operational
  • Coach Number Series: 300
  • Coach Color: Yellow with red poles and seats
  • Coach Status: Out-of-Service (Under Refurbishment)

No. 4 "Roy O. Disney"[edit]

The "Roy O. Disney"

This locomotive is named after Walt Disney's older brother and business partner, Roy Oliver Disney (1893–1971). Roy came out of retirement following his brother's death in 1966 in order to oversee the construction of the then named "Disney World" project. Roy renamed the resort to "Walt Disney World" in Walt's honor and died shortly after the Magic Kingdom opened.

Roy was offered to have the second 4-6-0 locomotive (which is now the "Roger E. Broggie") named after him, so that the "Walter E. Disney" and "Roy O. Disney" locomotives would be "twins". But he humbly declined the offer, because he didn't want to be compared to all the great things his brother Walt had done.

The "Roy O. Disney" was the only WDWRR locomotive that was not running at the park on opening day in October 1, 1971. Because its restoration wasn't finished due to a major crack on the locomotive's frame until it was repaired by a master welder who worked at the Tampa Ship Repair & Dry Dock Company. The locomotive had finally entered service in December 1 of that year (shortly before Roy's Death), which then allowed the company to name the locomotive in Roy's honor.

As of February 2016, there will a possible celebration to celebrate the "Roy O. Disney's" 100th anniversary.

  • Number: 4 (formerly 66 and 251)
  • Built: February 1916
  • Wheel Configuration: 4-4-0 "American"
  • Serial Number: 42915
  • Locomotive Colors: Green cab with red boiler jacket
  • Driver Diameter: 46 inches (1,168 mm)
  • Top Speed: 50–55 miles per hour (80–89 km/h)
  • Boiler Pressure: 160 psi (1.10 MPa)
  • Valve Gear: Stephenson valve gear (piston valves)
  • Locomotive and Tender Weight (dry): 51,000 pounds (23,133 kg)
  • Entered Service: December 1, 1971
  • Locomotive Status: Operational
  • Coach Number Series: 400
  • Coach Color: Blue with blue poles and red seats
  • Coach Status: Operational

Locomotive whistles[edit]

The #1 "Walter E. Disney", the #2 "Lilly Belle", and the #3 "Roger E. Broggie" locomotives were all equipped with Buckeye 3" 3-chime whistles, although there are some differences between their whistles; the "Walter's" is standard, the "Lilly's" is high and the "Roger's" is a little higher[3] The #4 "Roy O. Disney" was the only locomotive to be outfitted with a deep-tone Crosby 6" 3-chime whistle, which was originally came from the Admiral Joe Fowler Riverboat.

In December 21, 2010, the "Roy's" deep-tone Crosby 6" 3-chime whistle was replaced with a Crosby 4" 3-chime whistle like the "Walter" use to wore it from 1981 to 1984, the "Lilly" wore it from 1992 to 1993, and the "Roger" wore it from 1998 to 1999 whenever their own Buckeye 3" 3-chime whistles were being refurbished. By April 29, 2011, the "Roy O. Disney" was reinstalled with its deep-tone Crosby 6" 3-chime whistle. However, the replacement Crosby 4" 3-chime whistle was put back on the "Roy O. Disney" again in December 10, 2012 and had its deep-tone Crosby 6" 3-chime whistle back once again in March 22, 2013.

Since January 9, 2014, the replacement Crosby 4" 3-chime whistle was now put on the "Roger E. Broggie", which replaced its original Buckeye 3" 3-chime whistle.

As of June 9, 2015, the "Roy O. Disney's" deep-tone Crosby 6" 3-chime whistle was replaced with a multi-tone one that was the Liberty Belle Riverboat's original whistle. It also sounds similar to the locomotive's original one which now became the riverboat's current whistle. The multi-tone Crosby 6" 3-chime whistle on the Liberty Belle Riverboat was used to be equipped on the "Roy O. Disney" from Dec 1971 to June 1982.


A sketch of the railroad and monorail systems.

The railroad operates daily, taking on its first passengers at 9:00 AM, year-round. For safety reasons, the railroad is closed during the evening fireworks show due to the tracks' close proximity to the fireworks staging area, which is located approximately 100 yards (91 m) or so behind Fantasyland. Typically, the trains are moved back to the roundhouse one hour before the fireworks show begins. Additionally, the railroad does not operate during special events such as Mickey's Pirate and Princess Party, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. A round-trip on the WDWRR takes approximately twenty minutes to complete.


There are three crew members on each train; a Conductor, an Engineer, and a Fireman. The engineer is charged with operation of the locomotive, the fireman is responsible for maintaining the fire as well as the water level in the boiler, and the conductor is responsible for the overall operation and safety of each train.

Additionally, each station is manned by one or two conductors who serve as station attendants. Duties as a station attendant involve keeping track of passenger counts, answering questions and assisting passengers on and off of the trains. While on the train, the conductor runs the spiel box and makes safety announcements. Trains cannot move without approval from the conductor and the station attendant. Once the platform is clear of guests and everyone is seated on the train, the station attendant will shout "BOARD!" and give a hand signal to the train crew to indicate that they are clear to depart the station. The train's conductor will then respond by shouting "BOARD!" and then give 2 short buzzes on the conductor's buzzer, which tells the locomotive crew that they are clear to depart the station. Station attendants must also watch to ensure that no one tries to get off the train as it departs the station. If this happens, the station attendant will shout "STOP!" and use hand signals to instruct the train crew to stop the train.

The conductors work in a rotation, each of which is assigned to a specific train. There are three different rotations to which conductors may be assigned. Conductors are in each position of the rotation for twenty minutes, which is equivalent to one trip around the park. The two main rotations, which are called "Roundhouses", are Roundhouse 1 (RH1) and Roundhouse 2 (RH2). A third rotation, called Roundhouse 3 (RH3), is only added when a third train is needed during peak crowd days at the park. The RH1 rotation is responsible for the Frontierland Station platform, Frontierland Station Greeter, RH1 Train Conductor and RH1 Breaker. The RH2 Rotation is responsible for the Main Street Station platform, the Fantasyland Station (formerly Mickey's Toontown Fair Station) platform, RH2 Train Conductor and RH2 Breaker. When there is a third train in operation, it only requires a RH3 Train Conductor and a RH3 Breaker.


Early in the morning, the first train crew arrives at the roundhouse to get the first train ready to depart. The facilities building maintenance crew will mark on a board which trains are going to be used and the order they are to be removed from the facilities building. The first crew will prep and take out the first train listed on the board. Safety and readiness checks are performed by the conductor as the enginemen prepare the locomotive for a day of operation.

As the atomizer requires around 30 pounds/inch² (200 kPa) of steam pressure to operate, a compressed air line must be tapped into the atomizer line when the fire is first lit until enough steam has been raised to re-light the fire atomizing on steam. The conductor, who is in charge of the train and its motion at all times, will inspect the track and arrangement of the switches in the yard outside of the facilities building to ensure the train will have safe passage from the facilities building to the junction with the main line at the Fantasyland Switch.

Once the boiler has reached working pressure and the engineer and fireman are ready to depart, they will give two short whistles to indicate the train is about to start moving forward. After a reply from the conductor's buzzer (2 short buzzes) in response to the whistle, the train will proceed out of the facilities building, the length of one coach at a time, so that the facilities building maintenance crew can complete the morning inspection of the running gear from a maintenance pit below the train.

At different times during the trip into the park the engineer and fireman will test the safety systems on the train. The three main tests include intentionally popping the safety valves, the brake check, and the boiler blowdown:

  • The safety valves are set to release excess steam to maintain the boiler's maximum certified working pressure between 160 and 100 psi.
  • The brake check is that the engineer will triggered and checked on the brakes on the passenger coaches if the train is safe to stop at every stations.
  • The boiler blowdown will blow out all of the water from the boiler if the water level gets too high.

These three tests are considered the most important to ensure safe operation of the steam trains. After the first train is on the main line, the second train is not far behind. As this process is occurring, other conductors are arriving at the stations throughout the park to prepare for the trains' arrival.

In Service[edit]

When the park opens, the first train departs from Main Street Station. The second will be just behind; either at the block signal between Fantasyland and Main Street Station or at Fantasyland Station. Typically, two trains are used daily, with a third sometimes put into service on busy days later in the morning.

Each lap around the Magic Kingdom should be completed in approximately twenty minutes. This timing is established and maintained by the first train that is brought out onto the main line in the morning. The second and third trains keep up with the first train as much as possible. The goal is to have the first train arrive at Main Street Station at the top of the hour and at :20 and :40 past. If any of the other trains fall behind, they will need to catch up or drop behind a lap to get the first train back on schedule. This is necessary to facilitate proper closing procedures on the park's schedule.

Block Signals[edit]

The block signals let the engineer and train conductor know the position of the trains on the system. The block signals on the WDWRR resemble a typical traffic light with three lights that are green, yellow, and red. The main line is divided into six operating blocks. Three of them are the stations and include some length of track before the station. The other three blocks are spread out with one between each station.

The block signals typically change in this order in both directions: Green <--> Yellow/Green <--> Red <--> Yellow/Red

  • Green: The next 2 blocks are completely clear and it is safe to proceed past this point.
  • Yellow/Green: The next block is clear, however, the block beyond is occupied. It is safe to proceed past this point, but be prepared to stop at the next block signal.
  • Red: The next block is occupied and it is not safe to proceed past this point.
  • Yellow/Red: The next 2 blocks are both occupied and it is not safe to proceed past this point.

In two trains operations, the conductors will not allow the train to proceed on a Yellow/Green signal. This keeps the trains spaced for more consistent service to the stations and prevents the train from having to stop in between stations. In three trains operations, the conductors can dispatch the trains on the Yellow/Green signal. The reason for this is because there will almost always be a train in the second block ahead. But four trains operations are not possible, because there are three stations, and there is not enough space on the main line. Nor there are enough blocks to do so safely.


As with any railroad, the various whistle signals all have a different meaning and are used as a form of communication. In fact, many guests are unaware that a train whistles' primary purpose is in fact communication and not just show. Engineers use distinct whistle patterns to communicate while the conductor uses the same patterns with a button which activates a buzzer in the cab of the locomotive.

While the train is operated as a team, the conductor has the final say in the operation of the train; they are in command. At the stations, engineers will request to depart by signaling with two short whistles. The conductor will signal it is safe to do so by signaling to the cab with two short buzzes on the conductor's buzzer. The common whistle patterns used on the WDWRR are as follows:

  • One Short – Attention, It is Safe to Disembark the Train
  • Two Shorts – Forward Movement
  • Three Shorts – Reverse Movement
  • One Long – Stop Immediately / Emergency stop
  • One Long, One Short – Approaching a Station
  • One Long, Two Shorts – Crew spotted along track (also used as a general greeting)
  • Two Longs, One Short, One Long – Public Crossing ahead
  • Two Longs, One Short – Meeting Point (junction)
  • Two Shorts, One Long, One Short – Engineer is Acknowledging the Maintenance Crew

The locomotive's bell is rung upon the train's arrival at a station whenever the train is due to pick up passengers (therefore it is not rung when departing a station, during the last trip of the station platforms are clear of guests, and the park opening show), which is required by Federal Railroad Administration regulations. But sometimes the firemen would ring the bell to "Say Hi" to the guests waiting at the Magic Kingdom Monorail station and after departing Main Street U.S.A. station. As with the whistle, the bell being rung is an official and mandatory signaling sequence. The same whistle and bell signaling system is also in use at the Disneyland Railroad.

In addition to federal regulation, another form of greeting is occasionally exchanged when the Liberty Belle Riverboat is sighted by the locomotive engineer when running along the banks of the Rivers of America. This sequence is typically started when the locomotive engineer sounds the general greeting of One Long, Two Shorts whistles, to which the riverboat pilot will reply with the same whistle sequence as the engineer. Next, the locomotive engineer sounds the "Shave and a Haircut" whistle sequence with One Long, Four Shorts, to which the riverboat pilot will reply "Two Bits" with Two Shorts. Finally, the locomotive engineer will sound the "M-I-C-K-E-Y" whistle sequence with Six Shorts, to which the riverboat pilot will reply "M-O-U-S-E" with Five Shorts.

From May 1972 to November 1990, the engineer would blow the One Long, One Short whistle signal when approaching the original Frontierland Station which was located near the Pirates of The Caribbean tunnel followed by the Two Longs, One Short, One Long whistle signal when departing the original Frontierland Station and approaching the original parade crossing which was located near Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Following the construction of Splash Mountain and the new Frontierland Station in late 1991, the engineer blows the Two Longs, One Short, One Long whistle signal when approaching the current parade crossing between the Pirates of The Caribbean and Splash Mountain tunnels followed by the One Long, One Short whistle signal when approaching the new Frontierland Station which was located between Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

In 1996, the engineer blows the Two Longs, One Short, One Long whistle signal when approaching a pedestrian crossing which was added right next to Tomorrowland and warned the Space Mountain cast members that the train is coming towards them.

Since September 2014, the engineer blows the One Short whistle signal after stopping at every stations to let the passengers and conductor know that it is safe to disembark the train.


At the end of the evening the conductors at each station announce the departure of the last train. All guests may ride until the train arrives back at Fantasyland Station. Upon arrival, the conductors walk the length of the train to clear the train of remaining passengers, and any items accidentally left on board are collected from the train and brought to lost and found by the station attendant. This procedure is the same for all trains.

After the maintenance crew at Fantasyland station throw the switch to the facilities building spur line, the conductor will signal the engineers with the reverse movement signal, at which time the train departs backwards stopping just short of the Fantasyland Switch. At this point the engineer relies on the conductor to guide the train to back towards the facilities building, which they do from the rear platform of the last coach. If any other trains are still in operation, the maintenance crew will throw the Fantasyland Switch back to the main line to allow the trains to continue running; otherwise the switch is left aligned for the roundhouse spur. At each yard switch and at the World Drive grade crossing, the conductor will signal using the conductor's buzzer to let the engineer know that the train successfully cleared it and can continue backing up. This continues until the train is backed completely into the facilities building.

Other information[edit]

  • The "Walter E. Disney" and "Roger E. Broggie" locomotives have serial numbers that are sequential (58444 and 58445). These locomotives were on the shop floor at the same time in 1925 as they were being built for the United Railways of Yucatan and still operate together to this day. Because of this, they are referred to as the "twins". However today, the "Walter E. Disney" is #1 and the "Roger E. Broggie" is #3 on the Walt Disney World Railroad. Unlike they were #72 and #73 before being renumbered to #274 and #275 in the 1960s on the United Railways of Yucatan.
  • In June 6, 2006, George Britton leaves the backstage steam train facilities building for the last time as a Walt Disney World cast member after nearly 35 years of service. He has long felt a strong connection with the Disney and Broggie families that have had the most to do with preserving the railroad legacy of Walt Disney in each of the Disney themed amusement parks. He is a life member of the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society, founded by Michael Broggie, the son of imagineer Roger Broggie.
  • During the 1969 to 1971 refurbishments on the four steam locomotives, imagineer Roger Broggie didn't like the sound of the bell on the #3 locomotive (before it was named after him), because he says it sounds like a hammer hitting an old frying pan. So, George Britton decided to swap out the bells with the #3 "Roger E. Broggie" locomotive and "Liberty Belle" riverboat. Now today, the "Roger E. Broggie" ended up having the its original bell (which sounds like a hammer hitting an old frying pan) on the Walt Disney World Railroad. That when George tried to make things better. In addition, when imagineers Roger Broggie and Earl Vilmer realized that the original builders plates on the steam locomotives were worn-out. So, they decided to build replicas of the original ones and installed them on the steam locomotives.
  • During locomotives or passenger coaches refurbishments, it is not uncommon to see the passenger coaches from one locomotive being pulled by another. While most guests don't notice such a switch, WDWRR cast members often refer to these trains with a hybrid name amongst one another. These examples included; "Walter Belle", "Walter E. Broggie", "Walter O. Disney", "Lilly E. Disney", "Lilly E. Broggie", "Lilly O. Disney", "Roger E. Disney", "Roger Belle", "Roger O. Disney", "Roy E. Disney", "Roy Belle", and "Roy E. Broggie".
  • The Magic Kingdom offers a behind the scenes tour of the Walt Disney World Railroad on select days of the week, called "The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour". It is recommended that guests reserve spots in advance if they wish to attend (park admission is required).
  • Originally, a fifth locomotive (a 2-6-0 mogul #52 like the #2 "Lilly Belle", but it was built in 1902 by the Pittsburgh Locomotive Works) was brought up from Mexico. It had been displayed in a park across from the railroad tracks in Mérida and brought to Tampa with the other four; however, it was found to be in poor shape and was not restored. It was sold to a party in California and it is presumed that it has since been scrapped. However, its smokestack was reused for the #4 "Roy O. Disney" locomotive. The remain parts of the fifth locomotive were put into crates and shipped to the Disneyland Railroad in Anaheim, California with the thought that it might be rebuilt.
  • In 1996, Southern California railroad enthusiast Bill Norred traded his 1927 Davenport locomotive (a 2-4-4 Forney type) to Disneyland in exchange for the five retired clerestory-roofed "Retlaw One" coaches. The locomotive was instead sent to Walt Disney World after it was deemed too large to operate on the Disneyland Railroad. The WDWRR, however, felt that its four locomotives were sufficient for regular operations and found it to be far too small for operation on the WDWRR. As a result, the locomotive was never in operation at any Disney park. With the exception of being on display for a short time at Epcot in 1996 as part of a Black History Month exhibit, it remained in storage in the fifth bay of the WDWRR facilities building for several years. It was finally traded in 1999 to Cedar Point for a smaller Forney locomotive which was restored and now operates as the #5 "Ward Kimball" on the Disneyland Railroad.
  • Several show scenes were built specifically for viewing from the trains. This includes a jungle-themed railroad crossing in Adventureland (which features a "Hidden Mickey" made up of three wheels on the left side of the tracks between the road and a barrel); an aerial view of the Splash Mountain ride's finale scene (which also features another "Hidden Mickey" in the clouds and can be seen through a large plate glass window from inside the Splash Mountain tunnel); the flooded town of Tumbleweed on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad; a Plains Indians camp; various small vignettes featuring woodland wildlife such as deer, moose, alligators, frogs and rattlesnakes; and five large circular porthole windows that once looked into the former Tomorrowland Light & Power Co Arcade.
  • The former Mickey's Toontown Fair was demolished to make way for a new expansion of Fantasyland. The new Fantasyland Station was built on the former Toontown Station site and opened on March 12, 2012.
  • Before the Fantasyland expansion, "Night Fire Dance" by Andreas Vollenweider and "Goodbye, My Coney Island Baby" could be heard during the trip from Mickey's Toontown Fair to Main Street, U.S.A. as could "Caderas" during the trip from Main Street, U.S.A. to Frontierland, and "Colors of the Wind" can be heard during the trip from Frontierland to Mickey's Toontown Fair. Additionally, a country western-style song could be heard when departing Frontierland Station.
  • A new on-board narration debuted in December 2010 which features a new narrator (which replaces the late Earl Hindman), eliminates the themed music, references more attractions within each land and highlights the new Fantasyland expansion.
  • The station announcement is voiced by Eddie Sotto from 1996. Until in March 2012, he reprised his announcement from saying Mickey's Toontown Fair to Fantasyland during the Fantasyland expansion.

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