Hundreds of guests visiting Walt Disney World were stuck on a monorail on Saturday afternoon and eventually had to be evacuated from the elevated train. Numerous reports were hitting Twitter with guests posting images from the monorail and being rescued by firefighters and rescue personnel via ladders.
As Bay News 9 reported, the first reports of guests being stuck on the Disney monorail came in about 3:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. At that point, more and more reports hit Twitter and Facebook as rescue crews were brought in near Magic Kingdom.
It appears as if there was not a lightning strike even though there were big storms in the Orlando area earlier in the day. Disney has said that it was a mechanical problem which caused the issue and the monorail simply broke down.
Workers couldn’t get it running again and therefore, the guests needed to be evacuated. As of 7 p.m. on Saturday, firefighters were still working on evacuating all the guests safely. No injuries had been reported.
The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Orange County Fire Rescue officials along with Reedy Creek Fire and Rescue responded to the scene around 5 p.m. Passengers weren’t the only ones that were taking pictures for social media as bystanders also got in on it.
Many passengers say they were stuck for more than two hours before finally being evacuated from the Disney monorail. Traffic had picked up in the busy area near Magic Kingdom as well, with it having to be diverted in numerous directions.
Around 7:15 p.m., there were some reports that emergency crews were leaving the area and the monorails were running again.
Once the monorail is completely evacuated of all passengers (guests and cast members), Disney will have it towed back to the garage. It will not be returned to active operation until it has been repaired and completely tested for safe running.
In the middle of the summer last year, a monorail had been struck by lightning in the early evening due to a serious storm in the area. Emergency crews were brought to the scene and had to evacuate over 100 guests at the time.
That was in July, and then it happened again in August. A Disney monorail was struck by lightning and had lost all power for about 45 minutes. Eventually, that monorail reached the Transportation and Ticket Center where all guests exited and the train was taken out of operation for the evening.
That same day in August, numerous power outages across Walt Disney World property had caused attractions and rides to be shut down. Six different resort hotels even had short power outages and flickering power.
Once the first report came in that guests had been stuck and the monorail simply wouldn’t be back up and running, emergency crews were called to the scene. They arrived and brought safety ladders that were able to get them all to safety without injury or making the situation worse.
Disney currently has 12 monorails in its fleet, and all are marked with a different color stripe. The train that broke down on Saturday was monorail yellow.
Walt Disney World only has track that goes to two parks (Magic Kingdom and Epcot), three resorts, and the Transportation and Ticket Center. If a serious breakdown occurs and evacuations from the monorail are necessary, then it is going to cause some delays but at least no injuries happened in the situation.
[Images via Danny Cox/Disney/James W. Krick]