Guests heading to Walt Disney World’s Epcot or Magic Kingdom Parks during evening Extra Magic Hours will now find themselves with one less transportation option, as Disney has announced new operating hours for their monorail system. While the monorails previously ran for approximately one and a half hours after park closing and through extended hours, the monorails will now only operate for one hour after the official park closing each night. They will no longer operate during Extra Magic Hours, Disney’s extended park hours exclusively for their resort guests.
These new changes have been put in place “to accommodate for planned maintenance,” says Walt Disney World spokeswoman Zoraya Suarez. The 20-year-old monorail system has recently been experiencing increasingly frequent technical problems, which may have come as a result of expanded park hours and increases in crowds. With longer park hours and Extra Magic Hours that extend to as late as 3:00 AM, some monorails may only have one hour of downtime before the park opens the next morning, putting pressure on the aging system. Additionally, Disney has only been operating 11 out of 12 monorails recently, following a 2009 train collision that killed a 21-year-old monorail driver. While one train involved in the crash was able to be salvaged, the other has yet to be replaced.
Disney has yet to announce whether these new shortened hours will apply during Magic Kingdom’s extra ticketed events, including Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Says Suarez:
“We will assess the maintenance schedule after a period of time running one hour after park close.”
Guests traveling to or from their car or resort during Extra Magic Hours will still have the option to travel by bus or boat. These new monorail hours are already in place at Epcot, and will begin at Magic Kingdom on August 1.