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The History of the Disneyland Monorail: Mark II, 1961-1969

posted on November 25th, 2013 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Last month, we began a series on the history of the Disneyland Monorail. Today, we continue our look back at this iconic Disneyland park attraction with the next model, the Mark II.

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Remember that when the Disneyland Monorail opened in 1959, it was intended as a sightseeing experience rather than a mode of transportation. Then in June 1961, the Disneyland Monorail became the transportation link that we know and love today. The track was extended to cover a total of 2.5 miles, linking the Disneyland Hotel to Tomorrowland in Disneyland park. Not only was the track extended, but a new fleet of Mark II monorails was introduced, featuring four cars each, instead of three found on the Mark I. Also, the gold monorail joined the red and blue monorails in the family. With the Mark II, the iconic bubble dome on the top of the front car was enlarged.

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With the addition of the Disneyland Hotel station, guests had the option to purchase two different types of tickets. They could purchase the traditional ticket to Disneyland park and disembark in Tomorrowland or they could stay on for a round trip!

The Mark II monorails transported guests for several years until a whole new fleet arrived in 1969! But that story is for the next installment in our series.

What are some of your favorite Disneyland Monorail memories?

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Filed: Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

16 Comments 6 Replies Add Yours

1

Louella from CA on November 25th, 2013 at 6:04 pm

It is my 5 year old sons favorite ride and my favorite memories are seeing his face whenever we ride in the front of the monorail!

2

Matthew from CA on November 25th, 2013 at 6:20 pm

This is a great series, Erin. I really dig those snazzy bubble domes on the Mark II’s!

 

Erin Glover on November 25th, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Thanks, Matthew! I agree – I think the snazzy bubbles make the Mark II my favorite. :D

3

Jaime on November 25th, 2013 at 6:33 pm

In 2000 I had the opportunity to drive the monorail! I even got a license that I still have today!

4

Gregory on November 25th, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Great series. If you can, let us know where some of these ended up. I know the Mark IV went to Las Vegas, if memory serves. It’s cool that some of our memories keep operating after the upgrades.

 

Erin Glover on November 26th, 2013 at 11:59 am

Great question, Gregory! I’ll see what I can find out.

5

Jacqueline on November 26th, 2013 at 7:12 am

Hi Erin,

I have been awaiting this post and am so happy to read on about the history of the Mark 11. I can’t wait to read the next instalment and to also find out where the monorails that are no longer in use kept.

Thank you,
Jackie

6

Terry on November 26th, 2013 at 7:55 am

I know this is a Disneyland post, but I haven’t yet been to Disneyland (YET!) However, I love the Monorail system at Walt Disney World. I can ride it all morning, and I LOVE the track spiel while it circles the Magic Kingdom Park. My favorite part is when the spiel states, “Please stand clear of the doors”, then repeats the instructions in Spanish (“¡Por favor manténganse alejado de las puertas!). Does the Disneyland Monorail have the same spiel?

 

Erin Glover on November 26th, 2013 at 12:05 pm

No, Terry – the Disneyland Monorail spiel is different. As a Florida native, though, I have to say I miss hearing that line! :-D

7

donald from NM on November 26th, 2013 at 11:37 am

There’s a track visible from the Monorail atation over the submarine ride..can anyone tell me what that is for/ from? Looks retired to me

8

Michael on November 26th, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Donald – that section of the Monorail track you see over the Submarine Voyage is part of the Monorail’s return trip from the Downtown Disney Station into Disneyland. It’s definitely not retired.

9

Michael on November 26th, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Erin, I think I’m enjoying this look at the Monorails even more than your retrospective on the Disneyland Railroad. Fantastic job, as always! :) Thanks!!

 

Erin Glover on November 26th, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Thank you, Michael!

10

Brett from NM on November 26th, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Did the track go right up to the hotel? I remember as a kid seeing the hotel near the monorail station near the end of the parking lot (late 70′s, early 80′s). But since we never stayed at the hotel, I don’t know how close they were. I know that the station is currently located next to the Rainforest Cafe and you have to walk to the Disneyland Hotel.

 

Erin Glover on November 26th, 2013 at 4:45 pm

It did, Brett – but the hotel itself has since moved, not the Monorail track. ;)

11

Brett from NM on November 26th, 2013 at 2:01 pm

I would also love to see an overhead map of the tracks over the years as the park changed.

12

Christopher from CA on November 26th, 2013 at 2:37 pm

I miss getting off the Monorail at Disneyland Hotel and going to the Monorail Cafe.

13

Dolores from CA on November 26th, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Hi Erin, Can you provide some insight into the last photo? In particular, from where the photo was taken and the attractions that are visible in the photo? I’m confused… Is that the Matterhorn ride? (I’ve never been on it, maybe that’s why it doesn’t look familar.)

 

Erin Glover on November 26th, 2013 at 4:53 pm

It’s funny you ask, Dolores – because I asked our chief photographer, Paul Hiffmeyer, that very same question when we found this photo! He believes it was taken from the western slope of the Matterhorn, facing north into Fantasyland. Our records indicate it was taken in 1964, but if it had been taken just few years later, you would have seen “it’s a small world” in the distance (the attraction opened in 1966).

14

Gregory on November 26th, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Thanks Erin, that’s awesome!!! Also, are there any plans to upgrade the WDW trains? It’s been a while, figured Disney would swap them out at some point (but I don’t wanna see them go).

15

Miguel on November 27th, 2013 at 6:28 pm

The picture looks to me to be a bit too offset from The Matterhorn to have been taken from the Matterhorn itself. I’m guessing that it was taken from one of the Skyway buckets, probably just after the bucket emerged from the pass-thru cave on that side of the Matterhorn, having left the Tomorrowland station on its way to the Fantasyland station. Of all the attractions that are no longer at Disneyland, the Skyway is probably the one I miss the most.

16

Brett from NM on November 27th, 2013 at 11:02 pm

Thank you for answering my question Erin. It was bugging me for the longest time, if my memories were correct. I have an awesome photo that I took from the Tommorowland station that captured the monorail, the submarine, and the Matterhorn. I would love to share it. Is there an email, I can send a copy to?

16 Comments

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