Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Trip Around the Disneyland Train Stations

A Trip Around the Disneyland Train Stations

There are four train stations on the Disneyland Railroad. In order they are the Main Street, New Orleans/Frontierland, Toontown/Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Each is themed to fit into the land it is located in. You can get on or off at any station you wish. A round trip around the park takes 20 minutes.

To me the most interesting and best themed is the Main Street Station. This is the only station with an indoor area. All the others just have a covered waiting area. It is also the only station that is not handicapped accessible.

From the entry gates of Disneyland you see the working side of the station where the trains pull up to load and unload passengers. From the Main Street side you see a beautiful set of regal steps leading up to the beautiful station. It is a welcoming site looking like it belongs in 1910 small town America.

In the Main Street you will find antiques. As you walk in the door of the station straight ahead of you is a small 1/8 scale train. For a long time the train on display was Walt’s Lilly Bell. The Lilly Bell was Walt’s backyard train engine. When Walt died his family requested the train be returned to them. The Lilly Bell is not on display at Walt’s Carolwood Barn in Griffith Park, Ca. Now in the glass display cabinet is a replica of the Lilly Bell. If you look closely at the Lilly Bell then look at the big 5/8 scale Engine #1, C.K. Holiday you will see they are identical. The Holiday was designed to look like Walt’s Lilly Bell.

On the walls you will see pictures of Walt Disney playing with both the trains of Disneyland and his backyard trains. There are pictures of Walt with his Imagineers building both sets of trains. There are also display cases with memorabilia from Disneyland. There is a large antique music box. If you drop a dime in it still works!

There are three luggage racks hanging on the walls. They are ornate cast iron and look beautiful but are easy to just glance at and move on. While waiting for our Tender Ride a few weeks ago a guest walked through the train station past the bench we were waiting on to the line outside. The lady quickly returned and started laughing and calling to her friend that was outside. “It is! It is exactly what I though!” She was pointing at the luggage racks. She had a “First Visit” button on her shirt and spoke in an Australian accent. I quickly got up and walked up and ask her what she was excited about. She was almost jumping up and down with excitement at this point. “See the luggage rack there?” she pointed up at the rack high on the wall. “Do you see the ornate N.S.W.N. on side? That stands for New South Wales Railroad!” It turns out she collects antique railroad luggage racks and has a couple of N.S.W.R. racks at home! So Walt got these from Australia!

Also at the Main Street train station is the control center for the trains. It is one of three places in the park that has a computer readout of where each train is on the tracks. From this small control center the person in charge keeps the trains on schedule and separated at a safe distance.

The New Orleans Train Station (originally called the Frontierland before New Orleans Square was built) is equally beautiful in my opinion. There is no indoor area but the theming is fantastic. As you walk up to the loading/waiting platform you hear the clickity click of Morse Code coming from the Telegraph Office across the track. The Telegraph Office is receiving Walt Disney’s opening day speech. Some time ago the sound track for the NOTS was updated and cleaned up. The person doing the new audio did not know Morse Code and accidently cut the loop incorrectly messing up the speech. Several Armature Radio Operators (HAMS) were at the park waiting for the train and heard the Morse Code. When they realized the transmission made no sense they contacted Disneyland officials and asked what it was supposed to say. They offered to help redo the track and it is not back to correctly transmitting the speech. Alongside the Telegraph Office are other “buildings” suited to being at that station. One of the buildings is the break room for the train engineers. Besides the buildings there is a water tower. This water tower is functional and is used to refill the Tender Car with water when needed. They refill it every 2 hours or so in a normal operating day.

The Toontown Train Station (originally called Fantasyland) is next on the trip. This station has undergone changes over the years. Today it has luggage belonging to the Disney Toons (characters) sitting on the platform. You can easily identify Minnie’s bags along with others. There is a nonfunctional mini water tower there. There are no square edges at this station fitting with the toonish style of Toontown.

Tomorrowland Train Station is the most simple of the train stations. It is basically a loading platform. What is interesting about this train station is the gardens around it. You will find eatable plants around the station and the entire Tomorrowland area. This is the only place in the park where old meets new and you can catch the futuristic Monorail and the over 100 year old trains together.

After the Tomorrowland Station you get to go through the Grand Canyon diorama and Primeval World diorama before returning to the Main Street Station and the world of 1905-1910 Main Street America.

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