Posted by: lauraldawn | July 6, 2009

Our Monorail Memories

For anyone who is an avid Disney fan (like me) this weekend’s news of a monorail crash at epcot was stunning. And very, very sad.
If you haven’t heard, at about 2am on Sunday morning the pink and purple monorails crashed and one of the drivers, a Disney Cast Member was killed. He was 21. His name was Austin. From what I understand he wasn’t officially in Disney’s college program, but he was a college student set to graduate in 2010.
So often you hear a story about something sad that happens, you feel bad, and then move on. But in this case, my mind keeps wandering back to this, thinking about it.
The thing that really bothers me about it is that my son, Matt, loves the monorail. One of his favourite parts of going to WDW is riding the monorail. We had the amazing fortune of staying at the Polynesian the last time we were at Disney, this past May. It is one of the monorail resorts. It was such a privilege for us to walk from our hotel room to the monorail. And one of the amazing things about that was that Matt was allowed to ask about a million questions about the monorails. Some people dread a delayed train. Not my kid. It was his opportunity to learn more about the colours of the trains, the history, etc.
We also had the amazing experience of riding in the front car. I can’t tell you my son’s joy in riding up front. The cast member who was driving the monorail was so incredible with us. When Matt told him that he one day wants to drive a monorail, the driver told him all about the training involved, and totally encouraged his dream. In fact, we were so engrossed in the moment that we forgot to take a picture. And before we left the train the driver offered to take a picture for us. That’s one memory I wouldn’t have wanted to miss.
The day we rode was that cast member’s first day. Kind of cool.
When I saw the news of the crash and heard how young the driver was my first thought was that could have been our driver. (It wasn’t). And then the thought that our family (or any family) could have been in the front of that train with the driver (no one was).
I spent so much time at Disney trying to get my kids to have the best experience, to be colour coordinated, to enjoy every moment. And I think I forgot to appreciate the people who made it possible – the cast members. If nothing else, I hope this accident helps us all remember that the magic doesn’t *just* happen. There are so many people who make it happen.

There’s no way to wrap this up other than to say R.I.P. Austin.

Matt with his monorail driver's license

Matt with his monorail driver's license



  1. Such a sad and frightening story. I don’t know if I’d be able to ride the monorail if we went to Walt Disney World after that.

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