Approximately 300 people were stranded on the monorail system in Walt Disney World early Sunday morning at approximately 1 AM.
According to Disney, one of the computer systems responsible for controlling the multi-mile system suffered a failed hard drive resulting in the beam losing power. This loss of power affected a total of 7 trains.
Of the seven trains, three were in a station allowing any onboard passengers to exit safely on the platform. One train was out of the station, but no passengers were aboard leaving just the driver. The remaining three trains had passengers and were somewhere on the track out of a station.
Some passengers were rescued from the stranded trains by emergency responders from the Reedy Creek Improvement District’s Fire Department. Disney and Reedy Creek practice similar scenarios several times a year to prepare for just such occurrences. Officials were quick to state that those helped by the Fire Department were done as a customer courtesy rather than as an emergency.
Remaining passengers disembarked after their monorail train was towed into a nearby station, probably by a monorail work tractor. No injuries were reported and the guests and Disney issued the following comment:
“Our commitment to safety guides all we do, and this is the type of situation we train for with Reedy Creek,” said Andrea Finger, spokeswoman for Walt Disney World. “We extend our apologies to guests who were affected and are working directly with them.”
The Disney World Monorail first appeared in 1971 along with the Magic Kingdom. It has run relatively safely for years with the first fatal accident occuring just this summer when two monorails collided and a driver was killed on July 5, 2009. The system also suffered a power outage in September when a short occurred in a control booth.