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 Post subject: Orlando International Toy Train Museum in 1992
PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 5:11 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 1:45 am
Posts: 329
Location: Tennessee or Alaska
This post may not be the best about preservation, but in 1992, my 9 year old self could not believe that we had a new railroad attraction open up in Orlando. "The worlds largest G scale layout", with a narrow gauge steam train running around the building. It didn't last but about a year, but fortunately my dad shot some good video of it and we spent the majority of the afternoon of January 4, 1992 riding the train around the property and checking out the G scale railroad.

In addition to the steam train and the model layout, they had a pretty nice shop and displays, which you won't see. One of the rooms included glass case displays of models throughout the years, and they had started earth work outside the building for an expansive live steam G scale railroad on a terrace on the back of the building, but that was never completed. The indoor model railroad featured a scavenger hunt to help visitors make sure they looked closely at every scene. I clearly remember the first thing I found (being 1992) was a Bigfoot figure hiding in the trees representing "Swamp Thing", which was a popular TV show at the time.

Unfortunately this all went away pretty quick. The property was sold to develop more shopping areas. If you are familiar with the tourist side of Orlando, this location was directly across the street from what would become Festival Bay Mall on the north end of International Drive. In one shot you can see a McDonald's in the background, which is still there.

There were two subsequent attempts at this attraction, but every time they relocated the sparkle diminished. The steam engine went to Tifton, Georgia, and was replaced by a steam outline ride. The second attempt had a neat little ride with the steam outline going around a fairly large shopping center on the busier part of International Drive. The second version of the G scale railroad was pretty decent too, but much, much smaller.

Finally they moved to what you can find today, an abandoned attempt at the Air Florida Helicopter attraction. 20 years ago there was a restaurant next door called Race Rock and it seemed a bit busier, but I also haven't lived in Orlando full time since 2004 when I moved to Durango. Hope you enjoy. Keep in mind its an old family video and I haven't seen any other pictures or videos of this place online so I didn't cut it for time. If you do have any photos or video, I'd love to see it!

There is a pretty big community of people who love abandoned attractions. I don't know any of the big Youtube personalities myself, like Adam the Woo or Jenny Nicholson, but the views they get on their videos demonstrate the nostalgia for abandoned Disney parks and ideas. We all enjoy a bit of the "what if" conversations, and this is one I personally remember. Maybe your old footage or photos from abandoned railroads or attractions could attract some nostalgic attention in that manner... just be careful not to wax poetic about it too much.

John Hillier, the person who wrote this post. This is the end of my post. Thank you.

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