I’ve said it before but the Monorail is an iconic mode of transportation at the Disney parks and it seems like it’s always been around. But in actuality there was a time out in California when there was no monorail, and for a short period of time instead there was a different attraction based on another form of futuristic transportation.
One thing Walt Disney was proud of was his collection of miniature trains. He even had a miniature train installed in his backyard called the Carolwood Pacific. This passion eventually led to the Disneyland Railroad and one other lesser known Disneyland train, the Viewliner.
Legendary Imagineer Bob Gurr came up with the initial concept designs for the attraction’s sleek aluminum siding and super-sized windows.
It was based on the design of General Motor’s full-scale Aerotrain, a failed experiment to reduce costs and help keep passenger train service alive as highways and car ownership were surging.
Dubbed the fastest miniature train i the world, the Viewliner debuted in Disneyland on June 10th, 1957. It was capable of a top speed of 60 miles per hour, but would zip around the park at a more comfortable speed of 30 miles per hour. The attraction would move guests between Tomorrowland and Fantasyland.
The Viewliner had two separate tracks that intertwined and even traveled alongside the Disneyland Railroad at points. Each track had its own train with the Red Tomorrowland cars being named after planets Jupiter, Mercury, Mars and Saturn, and the Blue Fantasyland cars named after Disney characters Pinocchio, Cinderella, Bambi, Alice and Tinker Bell.
Unfortunately it was always designed as a placeholder attraction and was never planned to stick around forever. But while it was there Walt used the train to showcase what he thought could be the future for rail travel. Of course things have not worked out quite that way, but it was still a novel idea. Its time eventually came to a close on September 30th, 1958 making it one of the shortest-lived non-season attractions ever in the Disney Parks. On the bright side things worked about because as a perk of its closure we eventually got the Matterhorn, Submarine Voyage and of course the Monorail.
This coin was commissioned by collector Jim McNally. It was designed by Don Cade and features a beautiful image of the Disney Viewliner train, and has an exclusive backstamp advertising Jim’s website which you can check out here.
The website has a large selection of elongated coins available for purchase including many active and retired designs from Walt Disney World and Disneyland theme parks. Currently you can receive a free Viewliner pressed copper penny with any order placed through his website. You can also purchase additional copies of the penny for $2.99 each, or $10 for a full denomination set that includes a penny, nickel, dime and quarter.
A huge thank you to Jim and Don for creating yet another fantastic elongated coin, and of course a big thank you to all of you out there for taking this fun little trip down Disney memory lane. Were any of you lucky enough to take a ride on the Viewliner? Be sure to let me know down in the comments below I’d love to hear all about it. Have a fantastic week and as always Keep on Pressing!