No two words have ever elicited more excitement and speculation from Disney World fanatics. Do an online search for “Monorail Expansion” and you’ll see the countless rumors of Disney’s plan to expand the monorail. Keep searching, and you will find an equal number of articles explaining why Disney will never upgrade their monorails.
The system in place today opened with The Magic Kingdom in 1971 and took guests between the park and it’s Transportation and Ticket Center. A separate loop makes stops at select resort hotels. In 1982, the track was expanded to their newest park, Epcot Center. Subsequent park openings did not see a monorail expansion come to their gates including 1989’s MGM Studios and 1998’s Animal Kingdom.
“Ever since the internet had pubes, there have been rumors about a monorail expansion,” Thomas Jefferson Geronimo III, an amateur monorail enthusiast writes. “It was surprising to many that MGM didn’t get a monorail [when the park opened] and when Animal Kingdom didn’t get it either, people started speculating on the reason why.”
“It’s cost-prohibitive,” writes José Gúápós, a commenter on the Disney Future discussion boards. “It would take BILLIONS of dollars to expand to another theme park and there is no way Disney could re-coupe that money. They would have to start charging fares to ride. This would cause people to ride it only out of necessity, rather than pleasure. This would be the very definition of ‘waste of money’.”
The cost involved does seem to be a revolving theme among people speculating online. We scheduled a Skype call with Mike Brazzers, Chief Financial Officer for Walt Disney World’s Transportation Division, to discuss the numbers behind the possible expansion.
“Are you kidding me? Cost?!” said Brazzers. “We just spent damn near five billion dollars on a movie about a guy with a laser sword who does magic. I think we can afford to spend a little dough on a monorail.”
Brazzers is referring to Disney’s $4 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm, makers of the hit sci-fi classic Star Wars, in 2012.
There was some truth in Gúápós’ post, however. Some experts have estimated that an expansion cost would be in the billions of dollars. But the true reason why Disney World won’t ever get a monorail expansion may surprise you.
“People are idiots,” Jack Shaffer, Senior Transportation Coordinator for the Walt Disney World Resort says. “People are: Complete. Fucking. Idiots. And when you write that, I want you to put periods in between those words so people can accurately read my inflection.”
According to Shaffer, Disney has noticed quite the uptick in stupidity over the years.
“I’ve been with the company for over 25 years,” says Shaffer. “Each year we notice an exponential increase in the amount of stupidity in our guests. We get incident reports about anything and everything: from forgetting where they parked, to ‘accidentally’ leaving their children unattended in a hot car, to trying to pry open the monorail doors as it’s moving, to asking when the 3:00 parade is: People. Are. Fucking. Stupid. And again, I want you to do that thing where each word is its own sentence when you quote me.”
Shaffer can certainly back up his claims. When we requested verification of his statements, he had a U-Haul pull up to our offices with 114 boxes of paper copies of actual incident reports at Walt Disney World. Much to our shock, all of these boxes were marked “Q2 2014.”
Upon closer inspection, many of the reports dealt with stupidity on the monorails.
“Did you see the one about the guy who popped his head out of the escape hatch before the monorail went inside the Contemporary Resort?” Shaffer writes us in a follow-up email. “Yeah, most people wouldn’t think ‘my head vs. concrete and steel… I wonder what will win?’ Not that poor bastard though.”
Other monorail mishaps include 52 incidents involve passengers on a crowded monorail swaying the car back and forth to try to get it to tip off the track, 39 incidents of bonfires inside the car, 445 incidents of people riding the monorail for multiple loops before they realized they should have disembarked hours ago, 5,133 incidents of people thinking the monorail went to Universal Studios, and 29 incidents of people trying to get back to The Magic Kingdom… in California.
“Yeah, it’s true. People are idiots,” Geronimo writes. “It’s really too bad that a few morons ruin it for the rest of us, but I’m starting to think that logically-centered, common-sense individuals are on their way to becoming extinct.”
For now, the idea of expanding the monorail is on the far back burner. Disney may have the cash but as Shaffer says, “we can’t fix stupid.”