The Story of Disney's Third PeopleMover
Technology. Connections is made possible by viewers like you check out the description for more information. I'm. Here at Chicago, O'Hare International Airport, but, not to catch a flight to catch, a train and. Not the blue line into the city either O'Hare. Operates, an automated shuttle, system that takes people between the terminals, they, call it the airport, transit system or ATS but, many people would call it a people mover it's. A fitting name because it's what it does as I record this there are five stations, just like these three, at each of the domestic terminals, one at the International Terminal and a final one at the remote parking facility, at the time of this video's release the, system has actually been shut down and won't reopen until the fall of 2019 it's, in the process of getting new trains and a new station at the multimodal, rental car at a parking facility, whatever. That is exactly, and, it might be wise to remodel, the existing, stations, because. 1993. In, many respects, this system is like a sideways, elevator, as the trains approach the landing the interior, doors line up with the landing doors. Once they both open you have access to the Train and/or, the platform, then. It moves along to the next floor, lines. Itself up doors. Open again. The, vehicles, have rubber tires and are more like buses on a guide way than trains, on a track here. At O'Hare the guide way uses a grooved steel plate as a road, surface because. Well, winter, is a thing that happens here and a freeze thaw cycle, doesn't really bother a hunk of Steel an interesting thing about O'Hare, system is that at each end, the trains switch sides to allow for a continuous, loop of multiple trains on the system and a strange thing about the system at least the 1993. To 2018 version, is that the trains seem to speed up and slow down at, odd and unpredictable, times and they, accelerate, a lot faster, than you might expect, wonderful, for vehicles that are mostly standing-room-only. Here's. Hoping that gets improved now, oh here's people movers certainly isn't unique lots. Of airports have strikingly, similar systems, in, fact here, at the Orlando, International Airport, you'll, find not one but, five people, movers four, of them simply take people between the gates and the main terminal building all, the fifth one is new and does something else in many, ways they're just like the O'Hare system similar, doors similar, trains similar, guideway though, here a concrete road surface is used because, winter isn't really a thing that happens here four. Of the people movers simply move people back and forth between the main terminal building and the gates themselves it's, a very brief journey so there are only two trains and they just go back and forth and sometimes they only run one side recently. The trains on air sites 1 & 3 were replaced with Mitsubishi crystal, mover vehicles so although this looks to be the more modern of the two systems the track and other infrastructure, is actually older, their sides 2 & 4 were built later and use, ANOVA APM, 100, vehicles from Bombardier which don't, worry will, appear later in this video I've, always liked the layout of this Airport though it should be noted that these people movers are in the sterile area past security. Unlike O'Hare's which are outside of it the fifth and final people mover was just added in 2017. And it currently takes travelers, to well. Not much more than parking at this point but, eventually the completed, intermodal, terminal, will provide train service to Miami and other areas on the proposed Sun rail and bright line extensions, at least that's. The plan interesting. I should find myself in Orlando, in a video talking about papal movers I wonder, if there's a noteworthy people, mover somewhere near here that might have something to do with the title and purpose of this video. All. Right, here. At Tomorrowland, at Disney's Magic Kingdom in Florida lives the Tomorrowland, Transit Authority people-mover. Originally. Opened in 1975. As the Wed way people mover this system has been taking literally millions of guests on a Grand Circle tour of Tomorrowland, and remains, a fan favorite of many including, yours truly this, wet way people mover is actually, Disney's second people mover with the first now-defunct attraction, making its debut at Disneyland, in 1967. Its, roots come from the Ford Magic Skyway attraction, at the 1964. New York World's Fair which, was designed by we´d enterprises, wet, by the way stands for Walter Elias Disney after. Observing equipment, used to move steel ingots, around Ford's steel plant in Detroit Walt. Disney wondered if this could be adapted into an attraction and it was for Ford's Magic Skyway actual. Ford cars with their engines and transmissions, removed were used as ride vehicles, the car bodies were pushed along a track by spinning, urethane wheels which, rubbed against flat friction, plates on the bottom of the cars the, attraction, was a hit but most importantly, the propulsion system proved to be effective when.
It Came time to use this technology and a more permanent attraction, at Disneyland Ford. Wasn't that interested, in a sponsorship, so instead, the Goodyear Tire Company came, along and the urethane wheels were, swapped for rubber tires how, fitting, the idea behind Disney's people-mover was to actually be a real mass transit, system and this, is probably why Ford it didn't want to sponsor the attraction, at Disneyland as, mass, transit usually, isn't too good for car sales though. It wasn't known to the public Walt, envisioned systems like these to form the backbone of the transportation. Networks and has never truly realized, experimental. Prototype community of, tomorrow or, Epcot, although. The Disneyland people mover wasn't the first transportation. Device to be called a people mover it is likely that its popularity, as an attraction is responsible. For the continued, use of the word people mover to describe similar transit, solutions, one, of the more novel ideas from the people mover was that the passive, vehicles not requiring a power source of their own could truly never stop, and indeed, that was the idea, just, like the still operating, version in the mad kingdom rather than come to a stop the vehicles would slow down as they approached the station and join a continuous, train of cars traveling, at the same speed as the moving platform, next to it then, after making its way around the trains at the front would accelerate and break away from the chain when, it came time for people mover version 2 at the Magic Kingdom the spinning rubber tires were dropped in favour of the much more futuristic, looking linear induction motors, embedded, at regular intervals, along the track these, motors in addition to creating delightful, 60-hertz harmonics, generate. Electromagnetic, fields which interact, with metal plates on the bottom of the trains and push them along through. The. Ditching of the tyres by the way resulted, in goodyear not wanting to sponsor, this version of the attraction, first, they destroyed the car then. They went for the tires now. Using, linear induction motors, isn't new but in an application like this it was certainly novel, the Li M's themselves, are essentially, just a bundle of some copper and iron because. The trains take the place of the rotor and a conventional motor the, propulsion system effectively, has no moving parts I suspect. It's for this reason that the attraction is still operating, as opposed, to the Disneyland people mover which suffered a rather tragic. Fate I can't, see how maintenance costs, are going to be very high for this attraction but, this people mover although it is the second of the two Disney people movers built at a Disney theme park is only the second of three Disney, people movers that's, right Disney built a third one but it's not here instead. It's right here, at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, in Houston, Texas in what, can only be described, fairly as a basement, lives, a legit Disney people mover so at first glance you might not realize it the, subway, formerly, known as the inter terminal train takes, travelers, between the terminals and also makes a stop at the Marriott hotel like, Disney's People Mover it travels, in the continuous, loop however, in this case there are multiple platforms.
Rather, Than just the one and also. Like Disney's People Mover it was built by wet enterprises, now known as Walt Disney Imagineering the. History of this people mover is kind of weird and honestly, not that well known there, was a system, before it traveling the same route but apparently, someone in charge of the airport wasn't, very happy with it some reason Disney. Had set up the community transportation services, division of Walt Disney Productions in order to try and sell the People Mover system, to local governments, or perhaps, airports. And Houston, appears to be the only buyer this, system, went online in 1981. Six years after the original weds way people mover opened at the Magic Kingdom now, for those of you shouting to yourselves ooh ooh DC DC hold. Your horses we'll, get there one. Glance at the track and you'll immediately recognized, the same propulsion system from Disney's People Mover the linear induction motors, simply push these passive trains along and their small wheels and track enabled, them to navigate surprisingly. Tight corners, supposedly. That's why Houston was intrigued and got Disney to build this for them as the required track layout given this space included. A lot of tight and sudden turns the, similarities, don't end there just like at the Magic Kingdom pre-recorded. Announcements, emanate from the ceilings by way of simple loudspeakers, and the tops of these vehicles are made of a mesh screen that allows the sound and light, to pass through. The. Overall sounds, of the propulsion system and general, feel that the vehicles movement, is obviously. The same as the classic Disney attraction. But, there are some notable differences, most, notably the vehicles, themselves are enclosed, and significantly, larger, so there actually is standing, room in these cars as you can see I can walk around in there and the bench seats are wider than Disney's, people movers, they. Seat probably. Three across if you. Are pretty tight so the capacity, of 12 people in these vehicles is totally believable the, need to enclose them is understandable, as the airport runs this system pretty much unattended, as opposed to the Disney attraction, where the entire track is monitored, by a CCTV, system, and the plethora of cast members are ready to intervene at any time and of course the vehicles would have to be larger in a real-world scenario, because. There are people with, bags and things that need to use this rather, than the cozy four-person compartments, of the People Mover attractions, the, second and possibly most significant. Technical difference is that the vehicles actually stop at each station and a set of curtain doors block access, to the track this, complicates, things more than it might seem at first as now, there needs to be a separate, mechanical, system for opening and closing the doors as well as, a modification, to the propulsion system to allow for controlled stops if you've. Ever been on the people mover at the Magic Kingdom during a stop you'll, know that it's anything but controlled. Your vehicle usually ends up going backwards for a bit before is sort of drifting, to a stop my, guess is that during a stop the motors are simply reversed for a set period of time slowing, the train but, also throwing it back a bit as a result and sometimes. During startup your train won't move and the one behind you will just ram into yours I'm, not kidding I've been into people mover collision, that's, the reason they have the bumpers on the ends of the trains it's harmless, but, startling. And they did have to shut down the ride after that, we, were escorted, through that particular door, and ended up in a gift shop so, there's a fun piece of trivia for you having. Finally had an opportunity to ride this system it appears as though the motors simply shut off when the train is close to the platform and a friction brake grabs hold of the Train when it's correctly aligned the, system is surprisingly, good at lining up the trains I only, noticed the deviation, of a few centimeters in most cases.
One. Of the key ways you can tell this is the same system as Disney's is that the motors get closer together at every point the Train changes, speeds I'm not entirely sure why, this needs to happen but I think it has to do with the fact that the motors are simply being run on 60 Hertz AC current, the, only way to affect how quickly they push the Train is to change the motors design and these bundles of motors probably serve as some sort of transition, area between the high and low speed sections, you'll, also notice that in Houston the stations are all equipped with closely-spaced, motors which, may be a requirement for a controlled, stop and start now, before I start talking about all the downsides, of this little oddity let me first say that I'm really glad people mover technology, made it outside the disc apart at least once there. Are a lot of potential advantages, to this system, for, example the propulsion system itself has virtually no, moving parts the. Only things that would wear on this system in a traditional, sense are the vehicle's wheels the articulation, points between the Cav's and the, doors and door mechanism the. Linear motors themselves, also provide a strong level of redundancy I would imagine that if one of them fails it's not really going to wreck anyone's day the, trains are much longer than the gaps between the motors so it would almost certainly have enough inertia to catch the next one of course, this is an assumption but I'm willing to bet that this system requires quite a bit less maintenance than a conventional one but, now we have to talk about the downsides let's, start with a limitation, that may not seem so obvious at first both. Disney's, people mover and this one in Houston are, indoors, yes. The track at Disney might get wet in the rain but the people mover has a roof over its head the whole way and it, is actually considered, an indoor attraction, which means it doesn't shut down in stormy conditions, like outdoor attractions do, oh you. Wanted proof here. You go. Getting. A bit wet is about all these could take without some way of heating the track and the rails using a system like this in a snowstorm would, likely be a disaster. You might have also noticed that both here in Houston and in Orlando, the entire course has no elevation, change it's, a completely, flat experience, likely, due to simple engineering challenges, associated with using linear induction motors, the, original people mover in Disneyland had a course with quite a few inclines, however. It had the advantage of those rubber tires pushing, the trains along and technically. The course is still there it's, just in a. Sad state and let's, be honest here the Houston subway system while, novel, is also, a little how. Can I put this kindly, derpy. Looking. It's. Unusually, small with odd-looking trains, and a whole lot about it is just weird, like, the fact that along the entire course there's only a half-height, wall except. At the stations where curtain doors were made full-sized, not. Sure why couldn't have been smaller and even. Simpler it's a weird little thing going through a basement hallway sure, it does move people and it's handy but like it's, also just well. Honestly a little creepy, at, least it's setting but, it gets worse the subway is borderline redundant, at this point the, airport already has a much more modern people mover system which, takes people between the terminals, this, one's on the other side of security in the sterile zone so, you can get between the terminals without exiting, security. A. Train. Is arriving, please keep clear for passengers, exiting, the train in, any temple do you mind what, about water anything, special better those pantyhose, case hanging in pain if. You were a traveler with a connecting, flight in another terminal you'd be much better to stay within the sterile area and take this one it's, also handy for the simple case of wanting, to grab food from a restaurant that's in another terminal, because. For most purposes the Skyway, is frankly, better the, fate of the subway isn't that certain, although, it was recently renamed, and had its announcements, Beale changed, and I was quite surprised, to see many people still using it it does get some love but, who knows for how long but, here's the thing this, system while it does have a bunch of potential advantages, whom also has a lot of serious downsides, the. Idea of making the vehicle is completely, passive, just, a box on wheels essentially, could potentially, reduce maintenance costs but, it turns out that there are very few situations in, which that's actually, a good, idea it, either needs to be indoors like this before outdoors in a place with perpetually, good weather like Orlando back.
In Chicago this wouldn't fly well. Of course not that's what the planes do but I mean that a passive vehicle in sub-zero temperatures, is just unacceptable, it, means to have some source of power for heat if nothing else and if, you're gonna provide it with an electrical source via bus bar or third rail you, might as well stick motors in the Train too and have, them propel themselves so, while I do think it's great that Disney's, People Mover technology, made it into the real world at least once I'm. Not really surprised that this is the only time it happens maybe. One day there will be more implementations. For a passive, train with linear induction motors, perhaps. For goods transportation, or maybe even baggage, distribution, inside an airport but, for actually moving people this, people mover comes with a lot of asterisks. Attached. Remember. How I said hold your horses about DC, while, it turns out that maybe just, maybe Disney, built a fourth wet way people mover under the US Capitol building maybe. And probably. Not but, still kind of maybe so, it turns out there is a system of small subways under the Capitol building that transport, representatives, and Senators between their offices, and the Capitol these Subway's have exist in some form for over a century but one of them was updated, probably, in the 1980s, and it. Uses the exact, same vehicles. That we see in Houston but. And here's where it gets weirder, there is no record of Disney's involvement, and there, are some significant, technical differences, I've put a link to a great video of this system in the description, and if you take a look at it you'll soon discover that the El IMS are run with a variable, frequency drive, which, likely allows for a smoother operation and, certainly. Makes the system sound much, different from, the people mover or Houston's, subway you'll, also see that the motors are spaced much closer together and likely, thanks to that variable frequency drive, they are spaced at a consistent interval, throughout I've, been trying to figure out how this system is related to Disney or Houston, and I've gotten only the smallest of clues a now-defunct. Company, called trance teen claims to have built the control and communication, systems for the Senate subway and their parent company Powell industries, is based in Houston. Texas so, that, certainly suggests there's. A connection somewhere but I can't quite pinpoint it it's, likely that Disney contracted, with a third party to build the vehicles for Houston subway as afterall they do that sort of thing all the time and if, that company was in Houston and was, somehow involved with trans 9 or pawel industries, or indeed, was either of those two then, it would make sense that the same trains would end up in DC and. Indeed much of the same concept, could simply have been borrowed from the Houston Airport design, as after, all Disney didn't own any patents, related to those people mover system at least I can't find any aside, from the original Disneyland system, of wheels and tires so, if you know how exactly the Senate subway and the subway at Houston's Airport are connected, please let us know in the comments, that's driving, me a little crazy and there is a very small amount of information out there about either, of these two systems but, for now I hope you enjoyed this look into what might be the ultimate Hidden, Mickey I am really glad I got to head to Houston to make this video while the subway is still operational, who, knows it might still be around for another few decades if, it's as low maintenance as I think it is there's, not much of a point to getting rid of it and when you need to get from Terminal A to terminal, e it, can save you from a pretty long walk as always.
A Great big beautiful thank you goes out to the folks who support this channel on page especially, the fine folks you see scrolling up your screen going, to Houston specifically. To film its People Mover was something that I never thought was in the cards but thanks to you I could, if you'd, like to support the channel and get perks like early video access behind the scenes footage and the inside scoop on the latest projects, please, check out my patreon page thanks. For your consideration and, I'll see you next time. Well. Thank God I'm at the right Airport, I've, put together a technology, connections, to video which is much more vlog like and includes a lot of other observations, I made around the airports, check it out through the card up above or hang around for the end screen it's also down below in the description. Another. Take, as, the people stare at me because the people in the airport think that I'm crazy, that's. Okay though. Crazy. It's good. Okay, it's not at all it's not at all circumstances. Buildings. Have been closed, and non-smoking. Air.