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A Train’s Life: the Disneyland Railroad

Paul Hiffmeyer

by , Chief Photographer for Public Relations, Disneyland Resort

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to photograph the steam trains of the Disneyland Railroad. This post includes photos from the morning into the late afternoon. Be sure to look for my next post to see the night photos. This early morning photo was taken at the roundhouse while the engine was warming up before starting its day in the park.
Engine Warming Up at the Roundhouse, By: Paul Hiffmeyer
For this next photo, the engineer stopped the train next to the Mickey Mouse Water tower in Toontown Depot and released some steam, which usually makes for a fun picture.
Train Stopped Next to the Mickey Mouse Water Tower in Toontown, By: Paul Hiffmeyer
I love the “toon-looking” luggage at the Toontown Depot, but thought a photo needed a little something more. I used a slow shutter speed to make it look like the train is speeding through the station. A train leaving without luggage could only happen in Mickey’s Toontown!
Toon-Looking Luggage at the Toontown Depot as a Train Speeds Past, By: Paul Hiffmeyer
Seeing the afternoon sun coming though the trees in Critter Country is really a great sight, and I wanted to incorporate a train in that setting. I took this photo from the Hungry Bear Restaurant.
Train Passing Through Critter Country, By: Paul Hiffmeyer
What’s your favorite part of riding the Disneyland Railroad?


  • Wonderful, magical photos. :) Only the best of everything at Disneyland!! Great job!!

  • We LOVE the Disneyland Railroad. We got to ride in the Lily Belle last year and we will always remember it with fondness. A trip to Disneyland isn’t complete without riding the train two or three times.

  • These pictures are wonderful!! Nothing is more “Disney” than taking an awesome trip around the park, soaking in the different views and resting your tired feet at the same time!
    Just the sounds of the whistle and steam evoke feelings of nostalgia and ambiance – and I can almost hear them from your pics! 😀

  • The kids always look forward to the grand canyon, dinosaur tunnel. We wish it was here at Disneyworld.

  • When our 2 oldest kids were younger (about 20 or so years ago) you could ride on the tender of the bigger engines after asking permission from the conductor. Being a member of a live steam club in the Berkeley, CA. hills allowed the kids to ride steam trains most weekends. But, riding with the crew up in the cab at Disneyland was an even bigger thrill. The engineers and firemen were happy to have the kids aboard and, I can honestly say, I enjoyed it too!
    For all who remember back, don’t forget the train ride through “Rainbow Caverns.” I believe my wife (girlfriend at the time) rode it in 1972 before “Big Thunder” came along.

  • Living in San Diego, I am up at Disneyland often and I have always been a huge fan of trains and the Disneyland Railroad. GREAT photographs! One of my fondest Disneyland memories is riding up in the engine with my Dad!

  • Primeval World, with a bit of a story behind it…

    I love steam trains and the romance of the steam era. There is just something about that luxurious, vintage, bygone age that warms my heart. I’m one of those people who can spend hours in Main Street alone, just playing in the Penny Arcade, riding the carriages and watching films in the Cinema.

    I’m also a big fan of dinosaurs. I originally studied geology in university with the idea of becoming a palaeontologist. Nowadays I teach about rocks, minerals and fossils in school programs at the local museum. Prehistoric life is incredible and awe-inspiring.

    But somehow… somehow… in all the research leading up to my first trip to Disneyland in 2005, I hadn’t heard about Primeval World. I knew about the DLRR and had every intention of riding it frequently, but the dinosaurs never came up.

    So you can imagine how shocked and delighted I was when, all of a sudden, there they were. I was on a steam train, looking at dinosaurs. The only thing that made it better was when I was able to ride in the Lilly Belle and passed that scene, visible through the polished wood and velvet drapes of the window. I very nearly died an exquisitely happy man.

    Voyages Extraordinaires: Scientific Romances in a Bygone Age

  • Oh I almost forgot! I love seeing the doghouse with the name “Indiana” on it! Such a great inside joke for Indiana Jones fans!

  • I love waving at people at the Critter Country bridge. It is so nice to have that brief happy connection with friends at the park!!

  • Going through splash mtn. The train is our “favorite” rides.

  • last one 😀

  • My favorite part is from New Orleans Square to Toon Town station.

  • Wouldn’t it be cool if the VIEWLINER could come back? That would be an opportunity to keep the nostalgic look, but have it be one of the most technically advanced attraction vehicles inside Disneyland.

  • What about a spooky, yet whimsical Ghost Train enhancement for Halloween Time?

  • I heard someone say that because the Disneyland Railroad is a Historic Landmark, it cannot be changed in any way. Is this true?

  • I love many things about the railroad at disneyland; the pace, you see the whole park, the beautiful paint, the shining bell, the sounds, the “all aboard”. But, my absolute favorite, though, is waving to crew members and guests and then they wave back! Friendliness, never goes out of style! Thanks for asking!

  • My favorite part of riding the Disneyland Railroad is just all of the sites and smells. You can’t beat that smell, especially when you are bombarded with it in the tunnels. The tunnels are a favorite as well. I love the announcements too! “You’re attention please, the Disneyland Railroad……” and then “BOARD!” I like to get in at least one complete circuit during each visit. Hint, the Tomorrowland Station (next to Autopia) is always the least crowded. I know this because I am a former Cast Member that worked at Autopia. I got to hear the sounds of the railroad all day long. When you are on the train, and you are approaching the Tomorrowland station, you get a good view of Autopia through the trees. This was actually made favorite hiding spot when it was my turn to roam the track.

  • Well – the fabulous GRAND CANYON of course.

    Just as a side note – rode the railroad in Disneyland Paris – it has the longest wait of any ride there that day.

  • I love riding the train all around the park. We’ve ridden it since I was a small child. The last time I was at Disneyland, my daughter and I rode the train, and it brought back wonderful childhood memories of riding the train with my father. Of course, I teared up because my dad had recently passed away, but that’s okay. I still really enjoyed the ride, and will ride it again and again. The voice on the loudspeaker is cheery, soothing, and nostalgic, and I love the dinosaurs. I can’t wait to go back to Disneyland and ride it again.

  • We use the railroad as a fantastic break for our feet! It’s always very very enjoyable!

  • My favorite part is waiving at people and kids. I also like when the train goes near toontown and Small World, especially at Christmas time. Great pictures – they bring back great memories!

  • I to love the Grand Canyon and Primeval World part of this ride. The Steam Train is usually the first thing I ride.

  • I love touring the park on the railroad. It’s a great opportunity to people watch and decide where we want to go next. One time, a conductor/cast member had a little visit with our two year old, and let our son wear his conductor hat. It was awesome! My favorite picture of the group here is the one from the hungry bear, it’s beautiful. I look forward to seeing the rest of the pictures.

  • I love going though New Orleans Square where they have the big heads and I love the noises that come form the buildings in the back. I also love going through Splash Mountain and hoping to be able to wave to people on it! I always hope to see the train while were on Splash :)I want to go now! We need to invent teleporters ASAP!

  • Gorgeous pictures! My favorite part of the Disneyland Railroad is going through the “Fantastic Primeval World – Land of the Dinosaurs!” As a kid I marveled at the giant dinos roaring beside the train, and as an adult I still love seeing them and watching all the children on the train go absolutely silent in awe as we roll past the Primeval World. Fun!

  • Definately the Dinosaur section of the trip! I took my son to Disneyland for his 2nd birthday(any excuse to enjoy Disneyland works for me) and one of the first rides was the train since he loves trains and dinosaurs! Great photos by the way!

  • Needless to say, I loved the train photos, especially the speeding train leaving Toontown Depot. I don’t think we’ve made a visit to Disneyland without taking a relaxing journey around the Park on the train. It’s a great way to end a perfect day.

  • The Grand Canyon & Primeval World dioramas are something I always look forward too. And something I wish Magic Kingdom had.

  • Very nice shots!

  • WOW! Great shots! The last picture looks like you’ve zoomed in on a display. 😉

  • Fantastic pictures. Every time I go to the park with my son, we have to ride the train.

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