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Disneyland Article
Parking Trams Return After Nearly A Year Of Walking To Parks

Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run
Orange County Register
Brady Macdonald
February 23, 2022
March 2, 2022
Chip and Ariel Cashion have waited nearly two years since the pandemic closure of Disneyland so they could make the parking trams their first and last ride of the day.

“We purposely waited until they were back,” Ariel Cashion said. “I make sure that we park here so that I can have my first ride on the tram.”

The Disneyland trams transporting visitors between the Mickey and Friends and Pixar Pals parking structures and the front gates of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure returned on Wednesday, Feb. 23 for the first time since the Anaheim theme parks closed in March 2020.

The San Diego couple with Disney names grew up coming to Disneyland.

“I think this is her favorite ride to be honest with you,” Chip Cashion said of the trams.

The Disneyland parking trams have remained out of service for nearly a year since A Touch of Disney food festival debuted at DCA in March and both parks returned to full operations in late April.

The return of the Disneyland parking trams saved visitors the legwork of walking two-thirds of a mile to the main entrance esplanade and the agony of making the return trip to the parking garages at the end of a long day at the parks.

Disneyland celebrated the return of the trams with a “cast moment” at 6:15 a.m. on a cold Southern California morning with temperatures in the mid-40s.

Disneyland resort president Ken Potrock was on hand to offer his appreciation to the Disney parking tram cast members — Disneyland parlance for employees.

“This was a big effort,” Potrock said. “We really appreciate all the hard work that went into this.”

Disneyland employees and visitors have missed the trams, Potrock said.

“It’s really an important symbol of a Disneyland experience and an important signal of all the things that are coming back as we move forward to our new normal,” Potrock said.

Potrock said there were a number of reasons it took nearly a year for the parking trams to return.

COVID-19 health and safety protocols regarding physical distancing were a factor when the theme parks first reopened. State-mandated attendance capacity restrictions that extended through mid-June meant the volume of visitors was lower during the first few months of the phased reopening. Bus transportation available at the Toy Story parking lot offered a ride to and from the parks for visitors who wanted to avoid the walk. Rehiring and retraining the Disneyland tram staff after a nearly two-year hiatus was the final key factor.

“We needed to staff up so that we could operate these trams efficiently and effectively,” Potrock said.

A familiar pair of riders arrived on the ceremonial first tram. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse disembarked from the middle of the otherwise empty tram and posed for photos with Disney parking employees. Afterward, the parking crew boarded the first tram for an inaugural loop to the parks and back.

Approximately 75 Disneyland cast members who work on the trams and in the parking structures took the first celebratory ride around 6:30 a.m. — about 30 minutes before the garages opened for the day.

Disneyland tram drivers said they were excited to be finally back behind the wheel.

“It’s definitely like riding a bike,” said Disneyland parking tram employee Ian Norris, of Cypress. “As soon as you hop in there it’s second nature.”

Most parking tram employees have been redeployed to other jobs at the Disneyland resort since the parks reopened — primarily to attractions positions.

Disneyland opened the parking structures around 7 a.m. and the early birds hoping to make rope drop started trickling through security soon afterward.

The familiar honk of the tram horn echoing through the garage was a welcome sound to Disneyland visitors who have been walking to and from the front gates since the parks reopened.

The first tram carrying visitors — four in total — left the Pixar Pals pickup/dropoff area at 7:05 a.m. The trams were running at half capacity 5 minutes later and full of passengers by 7:20 a.m.

Disneyland was operating 13 trams between the Mickey and Friends and Pixar Pals garages and the Disneyland and Disney California Adventure front gates on Wednesday.

The absence of the trams has been a continuing source of social media rants by Mouseheads who called the tram-less treks “dreaded,” “brutal” and an “absolute killer.”

Any visit to Disneyland and DCA involves a lot of walking. The tram route is about the same length as the distance from the Disneyland front gate to the back of the park in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The trek from Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run to Toy Story Midway Mania at the back of DCA is about a mile.

Attractions Referenced

Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run

Lands Referenced

Star Wars Galaxys Edge

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