Walt Disney World has announced that the operating hours of its monorail system are to be reduced, in order to allow increased maintenance work to take place.
From August 1, 2011, the monorail will close one hour after scheduled park closing times at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Guests wishing to travel back to their resort hotels after this time will be able to travel by bus or boat. The major impact will be on visitors attending "Extra Magic Hours", which see the parks remain open exclusively to guests of on-site resort hotels for several hours beyond their regular closing time.
Disney claims that the move will enable maintenance crews to spend longer servicing the monorail's fleet of trains, with the aim of improving reliability. The system has been operating with 11 trains instead of 12 since a 2009 incident which resulted in the death of a driver.
The monorail system opened alongside the rest of Walt Disney World in 1971, with the current fleet of Mark VI trains being introduced in 1989. It serves some of the resort's most expensive hotels, including Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Polynesian Resort and Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.