If you were hoping to take the train from the Orlando International Airport to Disney World, things might not go exactly as you expected…but there’s still some hope for your plans.
Previously, the Brightline train was set to run from the Orlando International Airport to a station right at Disney Springs. But, some changes have now been made and Disney has backed out of its deal for that Disney Springs train station. So does that mean the train won’t run near Disney at all? Not necessarily….
According to the Orlando Business Journal, Brightline might not be getting a train station at Disney Springs anymore but it’s still trying to get as close to the Most Magical Place on Earth as possible. Disney confirmed to the Orlando Business Journal that plans fell through for the Disney Springs train station because the configuration of the train’s line “did not support” the station.
Right now, the Brightline train path is expected to go from Orlando International Airport, along State Road 528 and Taft-Vineland Roadwith stops at the Orange County Convention Center / International Drive corridorand then down Interstate 4 to Tampa. Part of this is what has been referred to as the Sunshine Corridor Program, a plan that would ultimately make use of SunRail’s existing tracks to a certain extent. This idea of the Sunshine Corridor Program was formed after MANY debates over what path the train would take from the airport over near Disney and on to Tampa.
So if a Disney Springs station isn’t in the works, what is? According to a Brightline representative, one new station on this train’s path is set to be located at the Orange County Convention Center (as mentioned above), but also “An alternative station will be located near the original Disney Springs site, albeit not on land owned by Disney.” This statement came from Ben Porritt, Brightline’s senior vice president of corporate affairs.
Between the airport, the Orange County Convention Center station, and the “alternative” station near Disney Springs, “the three integrated stations provide access to the largest economic and employment centers in Central Florida. ”
Thus far, Brightline has not specified where this “alternative” station near the original plans for a Disney Springs station will be located. There are still a lot of questions here. Where will it be built? And perhaps most importantly, how will guests connect from that station (wherever it is placed) and the parks?
Chuck Whittall, the president of Unicorp National Developments (based in Orlando) said that one solution might be for stakeholders in that area to partner together to find a property that could work for this station, seeing as there’s not a whole bunch of “viable” land in that area.
Unicorp already has some commercial projects underway (or established) in places near Disney World – like over at Celebration Pointe or O-Town West. Businesses coming to the area could be interested in a station being built near them, as it could bring more tourists to their businesses.
Even if a station near Disney World gets built, it will be a long time before it’s operational. Brightline currently runs from Miami to West Palm Beach. Its expansion from West Palm Beach to Orlando is nearly 80% complete and is expected to be done by the end of 2022. It is expected to be operational in 2023. But that’ll only get individuals to the airport. Then, it’ll take more time for the stations in the rest of Orlando to get built.
Back in March of 2021, the Orlando Sentinel shared that the passenger service between the airport and Disney Springs was slated to start in 2026. That could still be the case with this alternative station, especially given the fact that they will have to first find the appropriate land to build the station on.
For now, things seem to be very much in a state of development. We’ll continue to keep an eye out for more updates and let you know what we find.
In the meantime, if you’re wondering how to get from the Airport to Disney World, click here to see our step-by-step guide, and click here to see just how long it’ll take you to get from one spot to the other. If you’re looking to save some money on your ride to Disney World from the airport, click here to check out a limited-time deal.
And, as always, stay tuned for more Disney news!
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Would you take a train from the airport to a spot near Disney, or just opt for other transportation? Tell us in the comments!