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Fodor's South Florida 2014
Walt Disney World Railroad
Walt Disney World Railroad Review
If you click through the turnstile just before 9 am with young children in tow, wait at the entrance before crossing beneath the station. In a few moments, you'll see the day's first steam-driven train arrive laden with the park's most popular residents: Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto, and characters from every corner of the World. Once they disembark and you've collected the stars' autographs and photos, step right up to the elevated platform above the Magic Kingdom's entrance for a ride into living history. All the locomotives date from 1928, the same year Mickey Mouse was created.
Disney scouts tracked down these vintage carriers in Mexico (where they transported sugarcane in the Yucatán), brought them back, and overhauled them. They're splendid, with striped awnings, brightly painted benches, authoritative "choo-choo" sounds, and hissing plumes of steam.
The 1½-mile track runs along the perimeter of the Magic Kingdom, with much of the trip through the woods and stops in Frontierland and the newly expanded Fantasyland. The four trains run at five-to-seven-minute intervals. For people with disabilities: You can remain in a standard wheelchair or transfer to one if you're in an ECV. Equipped for handheld-captioning. The ride is a good introduction to the layout of the park; it's also great as relief for tired feet. You can't load bulky strollers—like those Disney rents. Go midafternoon, when there's no line, or early, before 9 am, to greet Disney characters.
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