Disney and Brightline ink deal for new train station with direct link to Orlando airport, Miami

Nov 23, 2020

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Travelers will soon be able to take a train to Florida’s Magic Kingdom.

Brightline and the Walt Disney World Resort have reached an agreement for a new train station at Disney Springs on Walt Disney property, the passenger rail operator said Monday Nov. 23. Travelers will be able to catch trains directly to Orlando International Airport (MCO), as well as South Florida, when the line opens.

The new station targets the millions of holiday-goers who visit Disney’s Central Florida parks every year. While details are slim, visitors would be able to take a train to Disney Springs and then connect directly to the the company’s resort transportation network — eliminating the need for a rental car. It will also make it easier for foreign visitors to take in both the parks and South Florida in one trip.

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“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 Resort part of their vacation plans,” said Patrick Goddard, president of Brightline, in a statement.

The new Disney station comes as Americans are increasingly embracing trains for longer trips. Outside of the well-known Northeast Corridor that connects Boston, New York and  Washington D.C., rail lines have expanded and seen ridership grow in places like California, Virginia and Florida — the latter on the back of Brightline’s opening. Planning is underway for new or expanded lines across the country, including in Nevada, North Carolina and Texas.

President-elect Joe Biden has voiced support for expanding passenger rail service in the U.S. Any federal funds allocated by his administration could go towards funding more Amtrak service as well as new private lines, like Brightline.

Related: Brightline breaks ground on Orlando extension

The Disney Springs station is just one of several expansions in the works for Brightline. In addition to the roughly 140-mile extension of its Miami-to-West Palm Beach line to the Orlando airport that due to open in 2022, the railroad is also building three new stations in South Florida. Engineering and design work are also underway for an extension from Orlando to Tampa that would include the new Disney station.

The railroad has also floated the idea of adding a station at the Fort Lauderdale (FLL) airport that is adjacent to its South Florida tracks.

Brightline did not provide a timeline for when the new Disney station could open.

Related: Brightline name sticks for California and Florida lines

The railroad is also developing a new high-speed rail line between Las Vegas and Victorville in  Southern California. However, in October, the project was dealt a blow when the company failed to sell more than $2 billion in bonds to fund construction of the line.

A deal that would have seen Brightline rebranded Virgin Trains USA died in August.

The railroad began running between downtown Miami and West Palm Beach in 2018. However, service has been suspended since March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Related: Brightline Plans to Connect Miami and Orlando, and Extend to Disney World

Featured image Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images.

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