We love The Disneyland Railroad because it's an original park classic, nothing beats a slow steam powered nap around the park and the smell is just as iconic Disneyland as Pirates.
The Disneyland Railroad has a deep history, held a very special place in Walt's heart, and like most of the rest of the park, it continues to evolve.But there's some awesome new changes that bring fun new charm to the ride, great props and elements they brought back, and at this time, a view of the construction and hope for the future of Star Wars Land.
We're gonna take a peek into a super brief history and how it's evolved, and show you some of our favorite and not so favorite updates. (Sorry new narrator, just not the same).
A Brief History
The Disneyland Railroad was born from Disney's deep rooted passion for trains. Walt was fond of trains from a young age, in fact, one of his childhood jobs was selling newspapers and snacks on trains in Missouri. He loved this so much despite rarely making a profit.
When Disneyland was conceived and built, the railroad was so special to Walt that it was owned by a separate company, Retlaw. That's Walter spelled backward. Walt seemed to be killer at using word jumbles as company names. This separation allowed him to handpick cast members, pay special attention to attraction operation and even design their paychecks in a unique way.
Early changes to the Railroad
In 1955, when the park opened, the Disneyland Railroad offered two unique grand circle tours of the Magic Kingdom. From Main Street Station you boarded the Passenger Train and from the Frontierland Station, the Western Freight train. This is the same New Orleans station you see today, but this area wasn't called New Orleans Square until 1966.
Each train steamed around Disneyland with no stops in between and had unique train cars that followed the Passenger and Freight Train theme. it's a Small World and the entire area surrounding it, the Fantasyland Theater and Toontown didn't exist yet. so the Disneyland Railroad tracked a much tighter route, behind Casey Jr., Midget Autopia, and the Motorboat Cruise.
In 1956, the Fantasyland Depot opened, approximately where the path now leads you to Small World and leading up to the opening of Small World in 1966, the track was rerouted to where you see it today.
The New, New Route
Galaxy's Edge, commonly known as Star Wars Land is a massive construction project that took a little bite out of The Rivers of America and required the railroad to slide a little south. This is the most major change to the route since Small World was added and they did a great job. You'd never know the train ride got shorter and the added elements are delightful.
The two most apparent changes are the bridge that takes you over a waterfall, visible from the Rivers of America, and the brand new left turn which realigns the tracks with the path to Toontown Depot.
Keep your eye out for the relocated Indiana dog house.
One change we're not so keen on, the new narrator. Just not the same charm.
And there you go! Have you tried out that new left turn yet?