Lucky Guests Can Once Again Ride A Unique Piece of Disney History

A piece of Walt Disney history will once again invite Guests on a classic tour of this Disney Park!

After entering an extended hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic and construction on TRON Lightcycle / Run in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom, the Walt Disney World Railroad resumed operations this year, even introducing all new embellishments such as updated audio and a new conductor character. Now, changes have come to another Disney Park railroad system just in time for the Disney100 celebration, which kicked off on January 27 at the Disneyland Resort in Southern California.

Walt Disney World Railroad with Mickey

Credit: Disney

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The 100 Years of Wonder festivities celebrate the legacy of Disneyland Park and the cultural impact of Walt Disney’s characters, cartoons, and imaginative vision. Of course, one of Walt Disney’s most significant influences on the theme park itself was the Disneyland Railroad, as his love of trains and miniatures served as one of the original inspirations for its predecessor, Mickey Mouse Park at the Burbank Studio Lot.

In fact, core lead and trainer Katie Wildrick told Disney Parks Blog that “Many of us here at the Disneyland Railroad deeply appreciate that we get to operate an attraction that has so much historic significance to the Park and personal significance to so many of our Guests.” However, sometimes the attraction’s long-standing history ironically contributes to its removal from the Parks, as was the case for one of the Railroad’s five original steam engines.

katie wildrick stands before the newly restored ep ripley train which is red black and green with gold accents

Credit: Disney

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The Disneyland Railroad system offers Guests the opportunity to take a Grand Circle Tour of Disneyland Park, passing through each of its many lands and even getting an inside view of attractions like Splash Mountain, soon to become Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. Moreover, five authentic narrow-gauge engines embark on the 18-minute-long scenic journey: the C.K. Holliday, Ernest Marsh, Fred Gurley, Ward Kimball, and E.P. Ripley.

With the exception of Kimball, which takes its name from the legendary Disney animator who shared Walt’s locomotive love, Disney named each train after American railway legends. Unfortunately, Disney removed the E.P. Ripley (which honors the founder of the Atchison and Topeka/Santa Fe Railroad, Edward Payson Ripley) from service five years ago due to its need for extensive repairs as a result of its age.

Walt Disney World Railroad at Magic Kingdom

Credit: Disney

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 As a result, the authentic steam-powered train began a complete restoration in the summer of 2021, receiving historically accurate replicas of the headlamp, boiler, and bell, according to lead mechanical engineer, Tarun Khanna. Now, the E.P. Ripley will resume operation alongside its four counterparts on March 6, 2023, each of which stop at four stations across Disneyland: Main Street, New Orleans Square, Mickey’s Toontown, and Tomorrowland.

Click here for more information. All aboard!

About Spencer Johnette

Spencer is a lifelong lover of theme parks, princesses, and Disney history that recently relocated to Northern California. She completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA, where she was the founder and first president of the campus Disney Club. A former Cast Member still mourning the loss of the Disney Store, she now haunts the Walt Disney Family Museum halls and shares her opinions with anyone who will listen @gothelsflower.