Virgin Trains USA Plans to Connect Miami and Orlando, and Extend to Disney World
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What if you could get off a cruise in Miami and take a comfortable high-speed train all the way to inside the gates of the Walt Disney World complex in Orlando? According to Sir Richard Branson, this is not a dream, but the plan. Thursday in Miami, Branson helped reveal the newly renamed Virgin MiamiCentral station, displaying the Virgin Trains USA branding for the very first time.
In 2018, Virgin Trains invested in the Brightline train service that already operates Miami – Ft. Lauderdale – West Palm Beach. The plan is to transition from Brightline to Virgin Trains branding in 2019, with the Virgin MiamiCentral station starring as the first visual piece of that plan.
The President of Virgin Trains USA, Patrick Goddard, said that in three years you will be able to ride the train all the way to Disney World. From Miami, that ride should take about three hours with speeds topping out at 110 – 125 mph in some places, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
According to this week’s announcements, not only will you be able to take a Virgin Train from Miami to Orlando and into Disney World as early as 2022, but these trains will also help those who fly directly into Orlando for their family vacations.
While the exact timing hinges on funding and permits, Goddard told the Orlando Sentinel that it is “entirely conceivable” that the Orlando station and the 20-mile extension into Disney World would be completed at the same time.
Currently, the drive from the Orlando Airport to Walt Disney World can be done in 20 – 25 minutes without traffic, but during traffic, it can mean over an hour of stop and go driving each direction to start or end your family’s vacation. Of course, if you are renting a car to make the drive, then your total time from landing to arriving at Disney World is greater — and you then likely have to contend with parking fees.
To get a hint at future Virgin Train pricing in Orlando, look to current prices on the roughly 30-minute line from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami where tickets range from $17 – $35 each. The priciest tickets include premium lounge access, cocktails, early boarding, wider 21-inch seats (compared to 19-inch) and included parking in the garages. Some of those inclusions would likely be less important on the short journey from Orlando’s airport to Disney World.
Virgin Trains USA isn’t just eyeing expansion to Orlando and Disney, it also hopes to have future service on to Tampa, and between Las Vegas and Southern California.
Featured photo courtesy of Brightline Press.
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