All Aboard for A Grand Circle Tour of the Trains of Disney

Michelle Harker

by , Manager, Event Programming

'All Aboard for A Grand Circle Tour of the Trains of Disney' at Disneyland Park

All aboard! I’m a fan of all things transportation. From classic cars to alternative travel, like carpooling, riding your bike or even using your local railway service for work or recreation. I can appreciate a good train ride, too, especially when it’s part of A Grand Circle Tour around Disneyland park.

One of my favorite memories of the park was embarking the train at the Main Street Train Station and being fascinated by the all of the sights and sounds experienced while riding in the open-air car. From the sound of the approaching steam engine to the bell to the conductor on board, each ride was different from the last as I’d notice something unique as we passed through each land. Yes, I do have a favorite part of the tour. I always looked forward to – and still do – leaving the Tomorrowland station and heading for the Grand Canyon followed by a peek into the Primeval World. My imagination went into overdrive!

In that spirit, I hope you will celebrate with us as we unveil the newest exhibit at The Disney Gallery on Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland park set to debut on November 12, 2011 – “All Aboard for A Grand Circle Tour of the Trains of Disney.” The exhibit will take you on a journey of the rich history of trains that Walt introduced to the parks and that still continues to thrive today.

Join us in The Disney Gallery on November 12 from 9-11 a.m. for a product release and signing as we host several artists who have captured the essence of Disney Theme Park trains with our newest merchandise collection. There’s something for everyone!

I am just about out of steam … get it??? Don’t forget to travel with us on our journey to a magical world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy. For more details on the product release & signing please visit

Do you have any favorite memories of riding around the parks on A Grand Circle Tour?


  • Hey, Michelle! Taking a Grand Circle Tour on the Disneyland Railroad is a must for my family during every park visit. One of my most cherished Disneyland memories was riding the trains with my grandfather. I’m really glad that you mentioned alternative travel, too. I make it a point to carpool or take the train to work at least one day a week. I’ve been trying to encourage others in my workplace to get involved. Do you have any tips I can share with them about alternative travel? Thanks for a great blog!!

    • If you loved the Grand Circle Tour on the Disney trains during your visits, I can almost guarantee you, that you are going to love this exhibit! Here’s some special insider scoop: Inside you’ll also find many rare artifacts on loan from Walt Disney Imagineering, the Walt Disney Family Foundation and members of the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society!

      As for ways to find out more about alterative travel, you should definitely check out there are great tips on how to get more involved and how to get started.

  • NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Why can’t it be on the 11th instead?!?!?!?!? I’m gonna be there on the 11th and I wish I could see this…all well. I’ll be back on the 22nd to see it anyway.

    • Bobby, I’m so sorry you’re going to miss it by one day. But when you visit again on the 22nd, you have to check it out.

  • I love the Disneyland trains! Me and my family ride them several times everyday when we’re there.

  • How long will the exhibit last?

    • Hey Susan! Currently, the Grand Cirle Tour of the Trains of Disney exhibit is scheduled to run through mid June 2012.

  • My girlfriend Samantha and I are Annual Passholders and go to the park at least 2-3 times a week, so we don’t take the Disneyland Railroad EVERY time out, but at least once a week. Three of our train rides will always remain as among the most memorable:

    1) The Tender Seat Ride – Nothing beats sitting up front with the engineer and fireman! It takes a lot of time and patience waiting for the opportunity to get a tender seat ride, but it’s well worth it. For those who don’t know what it is, the tender seat is located at the front of just one or two of the trains, right with the engineer and fireman, the person who controls the fire for the steam engine. You have to take a Grand Circle trip starting from Main Street and there are certain restrictions that apply, so you might either have to wait a while or you might not have a chance to take the ride at all. Also, just as a warning, it gets EXTREMELY hot up front, probably 15-20 degrees hotter than anywhere else on the train, so it’s best to do this during the colder months.

    2) The Lilly Belle – The executive caboose car, only available once or twice during the day. You usually need to get to the Main Street Station around 9 a.m. to reserve one of the 15 or so spots. There may also be an early evening Lilly Belle ride, but it’s not guaranteed. The Lilly Belle ride is a guided tour Grand Circle tour with a conductor who will give you some history of the park, answering questions, pointing out some interesting spots along the route. You’ll also get a collector’s “Lilly Belle admission ticket” to commemorate the ride experience.

    3) Passenger Caboose – Aside from the Lilly Belle, there’s also one other train that has an enclosed passenger caboose. From what I’ve been told by one of the conductors, the only time it’s definitely not available is when it rains, but it’s free to ride any other time it’s out on the track, and you can catch the train from any of the four stations. The great thing about this caboose is that it’s nice and quiet, somewhat private. A couple of weeks ago, we spent the ENTIRE DAY at the park and we took this caboose ride around the park late afternoon, over and over and over, one long train ride. Three Grand Circle laps around the entire park later—and an hourlong nap for Samantha—and we were refreshed and ready to go on more rides!

    • These are great tips! Thanks so much for sharing Corey! There’s so much great history related to each of the engines, cars, etc. I was actually fortunate to ride the Lilly Belle this past weekend and I concur, it was amazing!

  • I love steam trains and the ra of steam travel, so the DLRR is one of my favorite attractions. On my very first visit to Disneyland during the 50th anniversary year, my first ride was the Grand Circle Tour. Yet somehow, in all of my research on the park, knowledge of Primeval World escaped me. Did I mention that I also really love dinosaurs? So suddenly, and totally without me expecting, this steam train rounds the bend and there is this amazing panorama of prehistoric life! I was flabbergasted! The only thing that made it better was a later trip when I had a chance to ride in the Lilly Belle.

    The DLRR also inspired other railway adventures. I was so impressed by the Grand Canyon Diorama that once I found out there was a steam train that ran to the actual Grand Canyon, I made it a life mission to go aboard. I accomplished that a few years ago, but I didn’t forget my debt to Disney. Our return layover was in Los Angeles on one of the Sundays that the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society had Walt’s Barn open in Griffith Park.

    Right now I’m just sorry that the chances of me getting down to Disneyland for this show are pretty slim. How long is it running ’till?

    • Cory, the exhibit is currently scheduled to run through mid-June 2012. I sure hope that you can make it back to Disneyland before then.

  • Always love the train ride and love being able to share it with my kids. We are making a pilgrimage to Disneyland in January. Will the exhibit still be available to view? My dad would be thrilled. My dad wanted to be a conductor at Disneyland when he retired, but we live a little out of range in Texas.

    • Colleen, you should definitely make it a point to stop in and check it out when you’re here in January. You’ll love it!

  • Sorry to be oftoppic but I love the Magic Kingdom version of the train. Just before the park opens the FUN arrives by train during a wonderfull musical show with a trainload of caracters, singers and dancers. It the most magical opening ever!
    And when I´m on the train I always love the little peak of the final scene of Splash Mountain, but I always forget to look for the train when I´m on Splash Mountain.

  • At the train on Disney World, we sat on the last car. We were able to look behind us and see the lucky boy who sat behind us say, “All aboard!” I also loved seeing the scene of Splash Mountain! We saw it before we went on Splash Mountain the first time and thought it was cool we had already seen part of the ride.

  • Will these items be available for folks NOT near a Disney amusement park? If so, how can one get them (since there are QUITE a few train enthusiasts)??


    • Hi there Thomas! I’m sorry for the delay in responding to you. I would call Merchandise Guest Services at 877-560-6477 or e-mail at beginning on November 14th to inquire about remaining quantities of items after the event.

  • One of the Train Table Display cases being used in the event is mine. I was hoping to have been invited to the event, but haven’t had replies to any requests for contact. My wife and I had hoped that a considerable investment in this event would be worth at least to a special invitation. Perhaps you could check into this? It is certainly an honor to be a part of this event and display. I love Disney trains and have a collection of Disney trains, books and other items. I plan to make it out to see the display. Last time out I got a chance to ride in the Lily Belle car which was a real treat.

  • Being part of the Original 50th Anniversary Cast of the Disneyland Railroad.

    • Ryan, that is definitely a great memory. Thanks for sharing!

  • Michelle, I did contact merchandise services and they said none of the items would be available (nor did it sound like they would even carry any items!!)

    That really is sad – that one has to live in the Anaheim area to get such items. Sure hope you change that policy since some of us cannot afford to go to Disney parks just to purchase merchandise…more so if it is quite a LONG way from the park!!


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