Walt Disney World and private rail company Brightline have reached a deal to build a new high-speed rail station at Disney Springs.
“Brightline will offer a car-free connection to the millions of visitors from around the state and the world who plan to make Walt Disney World a part of their vacation plans,” Brightline CEO Patrick Goddard said in a statement Monday. “Our mission has always been to connect our guests to the people and places that matter, and Walt Disney World Resort is a tremendous example of this.”
In his own statement, Disney World president Jeff Vahle said, “We’re excited to work with Brightline as they pursue the potential development of a train station at Walt Disney World Resort, a project that would support our local economy and offer a bold, forward-looking transportation solution for our community and guests.”
The deal is contingent on Brightline securing all necessary government approvals. Even then, a Disney Springs station is still years away.
Brightline is currently working on a $2.7 billion expansion that would connect West Palm Beach to Orlando International Airport, which is scheduled to be complete in 2022. That same year, Brightline tentatively scheduled to break ground on an extension connecting the airport to Tampa, with that route including the Disney Springs stop.
Talks between Disney and Brightline have been public knowledge since 2018.
Brightline’s operations have been limited to stops in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, with service currently shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The planned travel time between Miami and Orlando is 3 hours, around 30 minutes less than the typical driving time using Florida’s Turnpike. The company also has plans for additional stations at Aventura, Boca Raton and Port Miami.
While the Disney Springs station would provide a new transportation option for Disney guests coming into Orlando International Airport, Spectrum News reported that it’s not expected to impact the Disney’s Magical Express bus service for Disney hotel guests.
“Disney’s Magical Express has been wildly popular with guests, providing seamless “door to door” transportation between the airport and Disney resorts,” said Roger Chapin, executive vice president of Mears, which operates Magical Express. “We’ve always anticipated and welcomed the possibility and opportunity for additional transportation options in the region, especially rail.”
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