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Jeffito's Journey 2005

This blog documents my journey when I worked & lived in Hong Kong (4/5/05-12/15/05). I can’t thank my company enough for this international assignment, as it has been an experience of a lifetime! A journey I wanted to share with family, friends, and my fellow cast members. Click on any picture to enlarge. Click on the archives to see past months. Enjoy.

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Location: Orlando, Florida, United States

Just happy to be here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Monorails Here I Come

02.14.06. Orlando, Florida. After 12 years in Walt Disney World (WDW) Resorts, I am transitioning to WDW Transportation. I'm excited for this new opurtunity and ready to learn a whole new side to our company. The following is a glimps into WDW Monorails which I found on the web. Enjoy :)

"Por favor mantenganse alejado de las puertas... Ladies and Gentlemen, please collect your belongings and watch your head and step. Please assist small children by the hand."

The Walt Disney World Resort Monorail System is the most heavily traveled passenger monorail system in the world, and carries an average of about 150,000 passengers every day, with a maximum capacity of 200,000 passengers daily. Each year, the monorails transport more than 50 million people, and since Walt Disney World opened in 1971, has carried over 1 billion passengers.
Believe it or not, but each and every mile of the Walt Disney World Resort monorail track cost an average of one million dollars per mile. The monorail trains run on rubber tires on a "track" which is actually a 26-inch-wide concrete beam. The beams were actually built in Oregon and shipped by truck to Florida. They contain a Styrofoam core which is wrapped by steel and concrete. Each of the more than 400 individual beams were specifically designed depending on where they would be located on the track in order to follow the contour of the land. The beams are supported by tapered concrete columns, located 110-feet apart. The support columns feed electricity to a bar located beneath the beams, which in turn powers the trains. The highest beam is about 65 feet above the ground, and is located as the entrance/exit to the Contemporary Resort. In fact, it is the due to the narrow size, quiet operation and maintenance-free design that allows the monorail to run through the hotel's interior.

Despite many people's belief, Walt Disney and his Imagineers did not "invent" the monorail. In fact, monorails were in use in the late 1800s! As early as 1878, a stem-powered monorail system operated in California, and an electric car monorail system was used in Long Island, New York in 1992. However, the longest-running monorail in the world comes from Germany. Built in the city of Wupperthal, the "suspended" system began its run in 1901. Walt Disney saw an updated version of the system while traveling to Germany in the 1950s, prompting him to have a system built for Disneyland, which was put into place in 1959.

Each of the 12 monorails is identified with a different colored stripe, which is used to identify the monorails for the pilots and traffic controllers. The monorails currently in operation are the Blue, Red, Black, Gold, Silver, Pink, Coral, Orange, Green, Lime, Purple, and Yellow trains.

If you're a fan of Walt Disney World (and I think you are), the Holy Grail of Disneyana collectibles would have to be an original monorail train used at the park. (Let's ignore the fact of where exactly you keep the train once you get it home). Anyway, believe it or not, a monorail car was once put up for auction and sold on eBay. On May 27, 2002, "Monorail Red" was put on the auction block by Disney Auctions, which often sells theme park, movie and animation memorabilia on eBay. As part of the year-long Walt Disney World "100 Years of Magic" celebration commemorating the 100th anniversary of Walt Disney's birth, the single pilot car or "nose," which had logged a total of 943,976 miles (the equivalent of 38 trips around the circumference of the Earth) was up for grabs. "Monorail Red" was decommissioned on January 23, 1993 after more than 20 years of service. When the auction concluded on June 6, 2002, the winning bidder was Chip Young of Georgia. So, how much did it cost to have a real monorail sitting in your backyard? $20,000 plus shipping expenses. Wow. Sadly, most of the other monorail trains were sold as scrap metal to a Tampa metal yard.

Here's a little FUN FACT for you: Did you know that if you add up all the trips the monorails have made since 1971 over the 14.7 mile (23.7 km) track (although the original route was not this long, having been extended in 1981), the total miles logged would be equal to more than 25 round trips to the moon.

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