One of the great attractions in visiting Orlando, in part, is just the art of getting to where you are going. Disney has taken that to a new level with its introduction of the monorail when the park was built in the early 1970s.
There has been considerable debate about building a light rail system throughout the Central Florida region. If completed, some have speculated it may be very similar to what Disney has already had on its property for decades. But right now, the project is bogged down by politics and finances, making Walt Disney World the only place in the Orlando area that has a monorail system.
When Disney began designing his masterpiece resort, he wanted guests to be isolated from the “real world.” One of the things that would spoil the wonderland he was trying to create would be if park guests could look out and see a huge expanse of parking lot. So he isolated his centerpiece park, putting it on the other side of a large Central Florida lake. The only way to access the park was to go around the lake by elevated monorail, or go through the lake by ferryboat.
The resort built two hotels on the lake, the Polynesian Resort and the Contemporary Resort, and made sure the monorail line included both of those. Years later, the Grand Floridian Resort was built on the Seven Seas Lagoon, adding yet another stop for the monorail.
Two monorails circumnavigate the Seven Seas Lagoon. One is an express monorail that only makes stops at the Transportation and Ticket Center and the Magic Kingdom. The other line makes stops at those locations, and all three hotels. Monorails usually run at least an hour before the theme park opens and at least an hour after it closes.
When Epcot officially opened in 1982, a third line was opened between that park and the Transportation and Ticket Center. The distance between the two destinations is approximately three miles and monorails depart approximately every 10 to 15 minutes. For those wishing to go from Epcot to one of the hotels around the Seven Seas Lagoon, a transfer at the Transportation and Ticket Center is required.
In summary, Walt Disney World tries to provide its guests all the amenities they need to enjoy their entire vacation without every having to leave Disney property. The ease of travel the monorail provides is a key component of that service. It also offers some of the best views and one of the quickest ways to move between resorts and the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.