More Behind the Scenes Stories

Every Role a Starring Role – Disneyland Resort Tram Driver

Kevin Rafferty, Jr.

by , Communications, WDI

Happy Earth Month!

Did you know the Disneyland Resort guest parking lot trams run on clean-burning compressed natural gas, eliminating approximately 56,000 gallons of diesel use per year? Hear more from tram driver Debra McDowell in this installment of Every Role a Starring Role.


  • Great Post. 39 years, that is Cool. However, we walk the path every time for exercise instead; both entering and leaving.

  • As a follow up to Miguel’s question, can Disney clarify if the trams now run exclusively on alternative fuel or are they still running on a hybrid fuel model? If memory serves me correctly, the trams used to run on “red diesel” when they weren’t using CNG. Usually, red diesel is typically only used for farm equipment because it doesn’t burn as cleanly as the traditional diesel used for commercial vehicles (like semi trucks). Disney was able to use the red dye diesel because the trams only travel on private property and not on city streets. I was just curious if diesel was still used as a fuel source for the trams because the red diesel emissions would reduce some of the gain you get from the CNG use.

    Thanks for the great article. You should do more of these features on your cast members.

  • I love the tram ride. It is the first thing that I look forward to when visiting Walt Disney World. There is nothing like a bright sunshiny day, a little breeze and the feeling that you are on the way to the Magic Kingdom to have a perfect day.

  • Wow congrats on 39 years at the Happiest place on earth! I too think that the tram is the first ride of the day!

  • I remember years ago before Disney California Adventure existed riding the older, smaller yellow trams to get from the far back reaches of that huge parking lot to the front gates of Disneyland. Back then the challenge was to arrive early enough to be able to park right in front and just walk to the gates, but the trams were always a fun alternative for late arrivals. Then when they built DCA and the parking structure, we were blown away at these new, modern, larger but sleeker trams. Compared to the older smaller yellow ones, we affectionately call these trams “Tramzilla”. But I like how they run on cleaner, alternative fuels. Were they running on compressed natural gas from the beginning? If memory serves me I thought they had a nifty hybrid feature where they would start up from a dead stop using traditional gasoline then immediately switch to propane or (maybe CNG?) once they got up to speed.

  • These are my favorite blog posts on the Disney Parks Blog! Please keep ’em coming! Congrats to Debra on an amazing run at the parks.

  • Love these! Thanks for sharing them!

  • I really like what she said about the tram being the first ride of the day, I definitely see it that way!

  • Wow, 39 years is a great accomplishment! That means I definitely have seen her through the years as my family used to vacation yearly at Disneyland! That’s awesome, great for her:)

  • What an awesome video. It really shows how much you have to appreciate everyone who works there 🙂

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