Disneyland Railroad Main Street, U.S.A. Disneyland
Board an old-fashioned steam train for a 20 minute grand-circle tour around Disneyland, with stops at Main Street, U.S.A., New Orleans Square, Mickey’s Toontown, and Tomorrowland.
Walt Disney developed a love of trains at an early age. When he was a young adult, he built a half-mile scale model railway in his backyard that he called the “Carolwood Pacific Railroad.” The Disneyland Railroad was one of the first attractions he planned for his new park.
Disneyland has featured vintage, and actually steam-powered, trains since it opened in 1955. One of the first things Disneyland visitors see as they approach the park is the Main Street train station – and the train’s steam whistle may be one of the first sounds they hear.
Guests may board the Disneyland Railroad at any of its four stations: Main Street, U.S.A., New Orleans Square, Mickey’s Toontown, and Tomorrowland. Guests may disembark at any of these stations, or stay on board for the full grand-circle tour – or even longer. The full tour takes about 20 minutes and features a recorded narration describing the sights along the way.
Between the Tomorrowland Station and the Main Street, U.S.A. station are the Grand Canyon and Primeval World dioramas. Against a painted backdrop of the Grand Canyon, the display includes examples of many of the plants and animals that are found in the canyon and along its rim, from mountain sheep and deer to porcupines, skunks, and mountain lions.
In the Primeval World diorama, a dramatic score plays in the background while audio-animatonic brontosauruses eat peacefully, a family of triceratops plays, and in the thrilling conclusion, a stegosaurus battles a tyrannosaurus rex while surrounded by a stream of molten lava.
Main Street Station — Located above Town Square at the beginning of Main Street, just inside Disneyland’s main entrance. Climb the stairs up to the railway platform.
New Orleans Square — The station is located at the back of New Orleans Square behind the French Market.
Mickey’s Toowntown — The Toontown station is located outside of Toontown next to the Fantasyland Theater.
Tomorrowland Station — This station can be difficult to find. Take the path between the Autopia and Star Wars Launch Bay past the gift kiosk, and the Tomorrowland Station is located at the end of the path.
The railroad usually runs until just before the evening’s fireworks. In fact, the elevated Main Street station is a terrific, and extremely popular, fireworks and parade viewing area.
There are some good views of the Rivers of America from the train, including the Mike Fink’s cabin, wildlife, and the Native American chief on horseback.
Wheelchair/ECV users should be aware that boarding instructions differ at the different railroad stations. There is no ramp or elevator at the Main Street, U.S.A. station, so you must be able to climb the stairs to board there. At the other stations proceed up the exit ramp — a limited number of wheelchairs and ECVs can be loaded onto the last car.
Strollers are permitted in the railroad cars, but must be folded.
The seats are wooden benches with backs. On most of the trains the seats face sideways, giving you a good view of the sights along the way.
Handheld Captioning Devices from Guest Services can be used here.
There are no doors on the cars, and children should be seated towards the inside, away from the open doorways.
The Disneyland Railroad was closed in 2016-2017 due to construction of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which required that part of the railroad be re-routed, trestles built, and new track laid. The railroad re-opened on July 29, 2017. The Grand Canyon and Primeval World dioramas were also refurbished, and new effects added, during this time.
There are five trains on the Disneyland Railroad: the C.K. Holliday, E.P. Ripley, Ernest Marsh, Fred Gurley, and Ward Kimball.
The fancy “caboose” at the end of one of the trains is actually a Victorian parlor car called the Lilly Belle, after Walt Disney’s wife Lillian. It’s lavishly decorated in the Victorian style, and normally available only for use by Disney’s VIP guests, though occasionally guests are being allowed to ride. The Lilly Belle was in service from 1976 until 1996 and returned in January 2006 after an extensive rehab.
The locomotives are powered by steam, which means they must periodically fill the boilers with water. There is a functional water tower at the New Orleans Square Station, and the trains will occasionally make longer stops there while they take on water.
Many of the audio-animatronic dinosaurs in the Primeval World diorama came from the Magic Skyway attraction, developed by Disney for the Ford Pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair.
In honor of Disneyland’s 50th anniversary a “Hidden Mickey” was placed on the roof of the Main Street, U.S.A. train station.
If you have comments or tips to share with others about touring Disneyland, please email us. Thank you.