- Disney World will connect to Orlando and Miami by rail as soon as 2022.
- The company in late November announced a deal with Brightline to build a station at Disney Springs as the train operator expands to Miami.
- Brightline also has plans to break ground on a Los Angeles-to-Las Vegas route this year.
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Next stop: Disney World, hopefully at a time when the pandemic will be in the rearview mirror.
The Disney World station is planned for the Disney Springs complex, the company said. Brightline’s extension to the Orlando International Airport is set to open in 2022, but the company did not provide a timeline for the Disney station.
Brightline, which has been hit hard by the pandemic and hasn’t run any trains since March, hasn’t slowed down its aggressive expansion in both Florida and California. A route from Los Angeles to Las Vegas is set to break ground this year.
In a 2019 interview, Brightline’s main investor, Fortress Investments founder Wes Edens, said there are up to a dozen so-called city pairs ripe for rail service. Those include Atlanta to Charlotte, Chicago to St. Louis, and Houston to Dallas, where a competing private rail operator is also working on a project.
With tens of millions of people visiting Disney World every year, many of whom arrive at Orlando’s airport, it’s a chance for Brightline to convince even more people to opt for greener transportation.
“For a market where train travel is kind of foreign, we have to think of creative ways to get people in through the top of the funnel,” president Patrick Goddard told Business Insider in January.
Disney World might just be the thing to do it.