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 Post subject: Re: Disney World (FL) Steam to go Cold
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 9:52 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Baltimore, MD
According to the folks in the entertainment industry with which I work, Disney is regarded as the "700-ton gorilla mouse" of non-disclosure agreements in contracts, even more so than the rest of "Hollywood" which looks positively paranoid by normal "common sense" standards. IF Strasburg, or anyone else, is working on any Disney assets or projects, you WILL NOT hear about it from them, and indeed they would probably brazenly and boldly lie about or disavow any knowledge of it, even if it's plainly obvious to any of us that it's one of the Disney World ex-Yucatan locos or whatever sitting right outside the shop, next to them as they speak, or whatever.

All this really means is that IF Disney is indeed phasing out steam, we probably won't actually know about it until the first replica "Lilly Belle" or whatever pulls into the loading station, and the first astute railfan riding behind it or seeing it figures out the heavily-muffled engine in the "tender" and the hydraulic or electric-hybrid drives on the trucks, or whatever.


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 Post subject: Re: Disney World (FL) Steam to go Cold
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 10:27 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:06 pm
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p51 wrote:

I also find it odd that you're apparently the only person saying this, in more than one venue, even among a huge group of Disney Train fans on the burnsland forum. With all the insiders there, doesn't it seem strange that you alone know this?
And if it's such a given thing, why all the non-commital language? If you're being told all this stuff, they didn't say anything with any details?

Why do you find it odd that I'm the only one? This is my area of expertise. And BTW, while there are many fans on Burnsland, there aren't too many "insiders." Those that are on the inside that frequent Burnsland, like John Lasseter, don't post.

And who says I don't have details? Unfortunately, if I told specific details, that would be easier to trace back to my sources.

It seems like lots of folks would actually prefer to be kept in the dark, only to wake up one morning to a reality that they may not like. "How come we never saw this coming!" they might yell. For those who don't want to know what's happening, they are free to avoid reading my posts.

I am merely letting folks know what is looking more and more like a done deal (i.e., positive steps to make the change have already been taken), so that we can 1) take collective action, if this is something we care about, or 2) sit on our hands and hope for the best, until "an official announcement" is made.

And what if that "announcement" never arrives? Does that mean everthing I've posted is fantasy?

Not by a long shot. As I've said, things change. Things can be fluid. Disney may see the light in the end. You can call this a cop-out all you want. But as it stands now, we are in great jeopardy of losing the WDW engines.

Sorry I have to remain vague. I could easily name my sources--and after that, we'd have to wait for the next guy to spend 20 years building relationships with Disney's steam community to hear any more news from the inside.

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 Post subject: Re: Disney World (FL) Steam to go Cold
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 10:50 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
So what "collective action" do you suggest? By asking this, I'm really not trying to be a jerk. I'm just curious. I find their operation fascinating, especially in light of such goodies as crosshead water pump water heating systems, etc.

Disney is a company, not a museum, not a tourist railroad. I really wonder if the lack of steam-powered locomotives would hurt their bottom line. Yes, many of us on this forum and otherwise, like riding the trains when we are at a Disney park, but I haven't heard a non-enthusiast state that was the reason for their trip to a Disney park. Friends and family members that often vacation at Disney restorts do not make their decisions based on whether the locomotive pulling the train boils water, or not. I realize this is anticdotal, but I would suggest that this is a common sentiment.

I just don't know if we protest by trying to occupy Main Street Town Hall or Main Street Station will do anything.

On another note, to better understand the business environment this decision and others is having, I read this article about Disney using electronic arm bands to speed ticket purchase, entry and in-park purchases. The article highlights that Disney is facing stiff competition from the other theme park in Orlando, Universal Studios:

http://money.msn.com/technology-investment/post--disney-bets-big-on-visitor-tracking-technology

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 Post subject: Re: Disney World (FL) Steam to go Cold
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 11:15 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2431
wilkinsd wrote:
The article highlights that Disney is facing stiff competition from the other theme park in Orlando, Universal Studios:



Universal... Isn't that the place that installed the new Harry Potter train? The one that's so fake it's not only steam outline, the drive wheels don't actually touch the rails? Pretty much a light rail vehicle/roller coaster hybrid that looks like a British Steam locomotive?

Disney has always been the best. Part of that has involved always being the most authentic. Many of the attractions there are of very high quality. They not only have a steam train, they also have a steam boat. At one time they had two steam boats, but one was retired in the 1980's. I seem to recall they also had a couple of steamships on Lake Buena Vista at one time.

As for Strasburg, I'm sure they'll be along any minute to confirm the rumor. Right after Dumbo flies by... They don't discuss customer work anyway without permission, and as others have mentioned Disney is the Lion King of keeping secrets. I'm certain they'll be quiet as a (six foot tall) mouse.

However, just a thought... Doesn't it seem rather odd that they're (supposedly) STILL working on the Lilly Belle at Strasburg? Been there quite a long time now, hasn't it? Yes, I know, some other Strasburg projects have also taken quite a while, but that's often due to the owner's cash flow restrictions. I don't think Disney has that problem. So, exactly what is taking so long? Hmmmm.....

Gee, I hope I'm wrong. The Lilly Belle was named after Walt's wife. It was also the name of his small scale live steamer. It would be rather ironic for that engine to be the first converted to steam outline. Ouch!


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 Post subject: Re: Disney World (FL) Steam to go Cold
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 11:59 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
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That's correct, both the steamboat and the tall ship are on a track. I guess you could say it's a monorail ride. :)

As you mentioned, the steam does provide propulsion. The tall ship is powered by propellers, probably diesel, but maybe it's something eco-friendly like propane?

You can find a few photos of the tracks here:
http://www.mouseplanet.com/6440/Disneyland_Park_Update

I seem to recall the track at Disney World is a large concrete beam, it's been a long time since I saw it, and maybe I saw the concrete guard rail like they have in one of the photos I linked to.


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 Post subject: Re: Disney World (FL) Steam to go Cold
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:09 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:06 pm
Posts: 122
Bobharbison wrote:
The tall ship is powered by propellers, probably diesel, but maybe it's something eco-friendly like propane?

OT, but here's everything you've ever wanted to know about the Columbia

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 Post subject: Re: Disney World (FL) Steam to go Cold
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:34 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
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Steve DeGaetano wrote:
Bobharbison wrote:
The tall ship is powered by propellers, probably diesel, but maybe it's something eco-friendly like propane?

OT, but here's everything you've ever wanted to know about the Columbia


As one of the official photographers for the replica Tall Ship Lady Washington, I've read and enjoyed that article before. Quite an interesting history and good info.

However, it only tells almost everything I want to know. ;) No mention is made of the propulsion system. Diesel powered or some other system?


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 Post subject: Re: Disney World (FL) Steam to go Cold
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:57 pm 
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Since this has rapidly decayed into he said/he said and other non-preservation related topics, moved to Railfanning where you may feel free to continue the freewheeling discussion.

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 Post subject: Re: Disney World (FL) Steam to go Cold
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:01 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:06 pm
Posts: 122
Bobharbison wrote:

As one of the official photographers for the replica Tall Ship Lady Washington, I've read and enjoyed that article before. Quite an interesting history and good info.

However, it only tells almost everything I want to know. ;) No mention is made of the propulsion system. Diesel powered or some other system?


Thanks Bob. The info you seek is in Part 2

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 Post subject: Re: Disney World (FL) Steam to go Cold
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:59 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:47 pm
Posts: 475
Steve DeGaetano wrote:
It seems like lots of folks would actually prefer to be kept in the dark, only to wake up one morning to a reality that they may not like. "How come we never saw this coming!" they might yell. For those who don't want to know what's happening, they are free to avoid reading my posts.


I think I speak for everyone when I say, when you post a topic with a title such as this, we expect details. Without details, said "collective action" goes nowhere. How are preservationists supposed to approach anyone about this issue with the possibility of "action" if they know nothing. Just saying "Disney is getting rid of their steam engines, that's all I can say" is going to do nothing but cause arguments among people. I can honestly say, if more information couldn't be provided, I'd rather not know about it. or be teased into wanting to find out more when nothing more can be found out.

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 Post subject: Re: Disney World (FL) Steam to go Cold
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 4:35 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
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Mark, I found the info to be useful, and took it for what it's worth.

Disney, a huge company in an industry that's been known to change their mind ("We're making a Lone Ranger movie!" "No, we're not, it's too expensive!" "Well, yes, we are..." "Maybe...") is at least considering getting rid of steam.

Should it be convenient, you may want to visit the Mouse Kingdom sooner rather than later if this matters to you. If you don't consider park trains to be preservation, or you don't think Disney is a real railroad (even though they run 365 days a year with passenger counts most operations only dream about...) then feel free to ignore it.


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 Post subject: Re: Disney World (FL) Steam to go Cold
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 4:58 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 12:58 pm
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Location: Chicago USA
Who is building the replacements? Any suspicious activity among the likely vendors?

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Disney World (FL) Steam to go Cold
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 6:17 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:06 pm
Posts: 122
filmteknik wrote:
Who is building the replacements?

That has yet to be determined. Bidding, you know.

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 Post subject: Re: Disney World (FL) Steam to go Cold
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 10:56 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8353
Location: Baltimore, MD
Bobharbison wrote:
Should it be convenient, you may want to visit the Mouse Kingdom sooner rather than later if this matters to you. If you don't consider park trains to be preservation, or you don't think Disney is a real railroad (even though they run 365 days a year with passenger counts most operations only dream about...) then feel free to ignore it.

As speculative in nature as this entire discussion may be, I would rather that someone raise the prospect in advance, rather than let the whole subject linger until a nasty surprise greets us. At best, it was all wasted and the status quo continues for several lifetimes. At worst, we have the serious prospect of folks who work with/for Disney being able to discretely go behind the scenes and have candid talks on the order of "So.... if you're figuring on replacing the steamers, how can we go about best preserving the ones you're using for posterity's sake?" or whatnot.

Personally? IF it happens, I'm betting the excuse will be "Disney is going green!" and environmental concerns being trotted out for publicity's sake.


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 Post subject: Re: Disney World (FL) Steam to go Cold
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 11:08 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2431
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:

Personally? IF it happens, I'm betting the excuse will be "Disney is going green!" and environmental concerns being trotted out for publicity's sake.


Exactly! Just like the Mount Washington Cog did.

Also, let's be honest. Converting to diesel will not have a significant effect on the average guests experience at Disney World. I don't recall anyone complaining that the Jungle Cruise boats aren't really steam, even though they have a fake boiler.

Walt loved steam trains, and as far as I'm concerned, that's reason enough. But they're probably not going to thaw him out and ask his opinion, and the new management is definitely all about 'Going GREEN". (You do mean green dollars of profit when you say that, correct?)


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