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Steam Trains Remain Unique Experience at Disney Parks

Thomas Smith

by , Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

It may have all started with a mouse but when it came time to dream up a new kind of theme park, steam trains were top of mind for Walt Disney. Now, the trains are an anticipated Disney Parks experience — and one that sticks with you.

Just try it…close your eyes and picture the vintage steam trains. Hear the bell? Hear the whistle or maybe the lumbering cars? The steam-powered train grabs your attention before you’re through the entrance and it’s hard to forget after your visit.

Some of you know that I grew up in a house with a love for the railroad — and like Walt Disney, we had a model railway built in our Miami, Florida backyard. But for Walt Disney, the yard railroad was an apparent spark, according to Walt Disney Imagineering’s Jason Surrell. “It was one of the earliest glimmers of Disneyland,” he says. Here’s more on how it started:

Walt Disney’s uncle Mike was a train engineer. And at one point, Walt sold gum, cigars and soda to train passengers as it made daily stops at his boyhood home in Marceline, Mo.

If you’re still curious, there’s a three-hour tour at Magic Kingdom Park that offers some behind-the-scenes peeks at the Walt Disney World Railroad. For schedules and more information, you can call 407-WDW-TOUR.


  • I think one of the biggest overlooked attractions at Animal Kingdom is the Wildlife Express Train. Half the fun of visiting Rafiki’s Planet Watch is to ride those steam trains from Harambe station and back!

  • I am an avid Disney fan and the trains are my favorite thing at Magic Kingdom. I could just sit and ride around the park over and over. I have done the Behind the Scenes tour three times. The first time I took my two kids who at the time were 8 and 11. My 11 year old sone was invited to throw the switch when they backed the train to the roundhouse. He still talks about at 23. Hats off to WDW for keeping the steam trains alive and going for future generations!

  • when our son was little baby it was a perfect way to make him go to sleep and have the perfect 30 min nap and for us was a delightful ride…
    Now he is 2, and he has been obsessed with trains since he was 1…he loves everything about them, everything!…so much fun.
    The trains at Disneyland are a beautiful must!

  • My dad loves trains, so I took him to the Magic Kingdom train tour. He rarely raves about something for days, but he absolutely couldn’t stop raving about this tour! I loved it too. Another interesting thing about the trains at WDW is they are used as part of a one-of-a-kind Welcome Show to open the park in the morning, complete with an actor, dancers, Mickey Mouse, and his friends. It’s the only time the train is open on both sides too. It’s a really cute show to watch, and one family gets picked to ride the train from Toontown to Main Street with Mickey to open the park.

  • We did the tour with our nephew a few years ago, and we ALL loved it! I thought it was going to be a little boring, but there was enough practical information and history mixed to make it a fun and interesting experience.

  • Great Video! Seeing the train at the main street station is one of my favorite vistas of WDW!

  • Really great video! I’m lucky enough to live within ear-shot of the WDW Railroad and work from home so I get to hear those whistles all day and it never gets old.

    I have noticed that the whistles blow in different patterns, what do they all mean? I’m really interested in finding out what the one I hear at the end of the day is. It sounds like the engineer goes whistle happy and just keeps going for a good few minutes.

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