So, instead of providing a review of the Walt Disney World Railroad – which may be all too reminiscent of any other review you may find on the web, complete with details of the steam engine, facts about the track length, and a recounting of how this was intended to serve as a “Coming Attractions” for the park-as-movie scenario – I would like to use this as a journey into the youthful, storytelling mind of Walt himself.
Let’s not forget that Walt had a penchant for nostalgia. His positive outlook shed a fond light on memories and interpretations of his childhood home, boyhood hero, family, and even trains. This is obvious as we stroll down Main Street USA, view Carousel of Progress or Hall of Presidents, explore Tom Sawyer Island, and even as we take passage on the Walt Disney World Railroad. I believe this sense of nostalgia continued to permeate the Disney culture decades after Walt’s passing. This sense of nostalgia, coupled with the same adventurous spirit which lead Walt himself to join the Red Cross, move to California, and travel extensively through his life, are not only present, but tangible as we travel on the railway. In fact, I argue that the Walt Disney Railroad is the epitome of Disney Magic – because it may be the one thing in WDW that allows us to connect directly to Walt; and perhaps travel through his mind as he formulated stories while journeying on the Carolwood Pacific.
So, next time you enter the gates of the Magic Kingdom, don’t be in such a hurry to get to the high profile attractions like Space Mountain that you fail to experience a real magical moment. Instead, take a 1.5 mile journey through the stories and imagine its genesis on the rails of the Carolwood Pacific.