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April 5, 2010

The Tronorail: Dangerous?

Let me get this off my chest right off the bat: I think the Tronorail looks awesome. Putting it on the Epcot monorail line fits in perfectly with Future World. I also enjoy science fiction and can't wait to see Tron: Legacy, so maybe this is the geek in me getting out. The only thing that could make it better looking in my opinion is if they figured out a way to make it glow.

However, I also think the Tronorail is dangerous. Obviously not dangerous like the recent bus accidents, but dangerous. The Tronorail is setting a precedent for decorating a monorail with a full wrap like a city bus to promote anything. Imagine a Pirates of the Caribbean monorail with Captain Jack Sparrow being chased down the length of it. Perhaps Disney feels the need to promote the newest Disney Channel show Good Luck Charlie, so they slap a giant picture of a baby on the side of the monorail. Since Hannah Montana's final season is coming, Disney wants to promote it with a larger-than-life Miley Cyrus laying along the length of the monorail. I can come up with some more ridiculous examples, but I'll stop there.

I understand that Disney wants to promote Tron. I also understand that a whole lot of people ride and see the monorail every day. And yes, even though I like the look of the Tronorail, I worry about future fully-wrapped monorails. I hope Disney also sees this danger and avoids it before monorail advertisements are looked at like city bus advertisements.

Special thanks to Scott Smith for the incredible Tronorail photo.


  1. This is a very valid concern. I see the the connection between the monorail and Tron as they're both futuristic in nature. So, the marriage of the two products seems obvious. However, as you mention, this can get out of hand fairly quickly. It would be quite upsetting to many of the WDW faithful to see their beloved monorail system become nothing more than a moving billboard.

  2. I see nothing wrong with this type of advertisement. I think it looks great. However, the monorail can be seen as you are driving from park to park at WDW, and this one could be a distraction to out-of-town drivers.

  3. Good points made by the author of the article. I agree the monorail looks cool "Dressed Up" for Tron, and agree that this could be a dangerous precedent for Disney. One of the things that is nice about the park is that there are not many overt advertisements for any of the new entertainment ventures. Basically, you are in the middle of a big advertisement and don't need to have more thrown at you in such a way.

  4. I agree that I wouldn't want the traditional monorail changed to a moving billboard but it does look cool.

  5. My name is Steve Czarnecki and I work at the Walt Disney Studios and Burbank and the TRONORAIL was actually my brainchild back in August of 2009 and it took a bit of time to get the approvals, but I'm very proud of the fact that an idea of mine made it as far as the Walt Disney theme parks, especially Orlando being a South Floridian for the 1st 27 years of my life. I fought long and hard to convince the powers that be that this needed to be wrapped around a Monorail like the Mark 7 which glows blue inside and out here at Disneyland, and it was originally slated to run here in DL and there in WDW, but I think budget issues just allowed it to go in one park and the truth is it has a higher visibility in Orlando than it would in Anaheim. There are talks to possibly take the design to other Disney parks around the world which is fun. My original design had the front cab as actually being a vehicle of it's own from the TRON world with light trails behind it, but the evolution of the concept of it looking like a Light-Cycle on the rail initially won in the end. And the name of the TRONORAIL came about 2 weeks after I pitched it, I was sitting in an Outback Steakhouse w/ my wife in the middle of some exhausting days of Producing interviews and shooting footage for the Disney D23 Expo and suddenly, 1/2 asleep at the table it just came to me. I think the bloomin onion spawned a bloomin clever name. I'm on Facebook if you need to reach me. I'll be back in Orlando in the end of August for my 20yr High School reunion and plan on seeing it in person then. Great article, how do I get a high rez image of the picture you posted? -Steve C

  6. Steve, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I don't have an email address for Scott Smith off-hand; I know him from Flickr and a couple of Disney forums.

    Now that you mention it, the Mark VII would look awesome with this wrap and the glowing blue. The Mark VII monorails weren't installed yet last time I was at Disneyland, so they slipped my mind.