As avid fans of Disney transportation, we love to see similar features out in the real world. And right now, Las Vegas truly has an Epcot feel when it comes to their future of transportation. While Las Vegas is clearly not an experimental prototype community of tomorrow, they embody that Walt Disney spirit of creativity and innovation. So, pour yourself a cup of our Monorail Morning tea and read about how Vegas gets around from our recent trip there for the World Tea Expo.
Transportation in Las Vegas is something that is exciting and on the move. One of the funnest and most efficient ways to get around the Las Vegas Strip is the Monorail. The Las Vegas Monorail runs about 4 miles up the eastern side of the Strip and connects MGM Grand on the south end up to the Sahara at the north end, with multiple stops including the convention center in between. You can get single ride tickets or multi day tickets and we have used this transportation many times and have been impressed with the efficiency, ease of use and cost of using it.
The Las Vegas Monorail started as a ¾ mile line that was built by the owners of the MGM Grand and Bally’s in 1995 to carry passengers between the two resorts. The original trains that were used were two used Mark IV trains from Walt Disney World that were used since the opening of WDW in 1971. In 2002, the monorail was expanded to the current length it is today with stops at several other resorts and the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Any frequent rider of the WDW Monorails will be quite impressed riding the Las Vegas Monorails; there seems to be less of a wait to ride with trains arriving every 6-12 minutes; usually trains are not that crowded- there have been many times when we are sharing a train car with just one other person or no one; the whole ride seems to be quicker- the doors close sooner (and are more secure than WDW doors), there is never any waiting on the track, and entering and exiting are always quick.
The only time we have seen these get a little busy is if there is a really large convention in town since it stops directly at the convention center. Even though the Tea Expo is quite small, the convention center is huge and is usually hosting a couple at once. However, even with other conventions going on, we only had to wait for a second monorail one time during the week we were there.
Las Vegas Loop
And a brand new mode of transportation we used on this trip was the Las Vegas Loop. This is also known as “Tesla’s in Tunnel” and it is very cool and futuristic. In Disney terms, the experience felt like a cross between Test Track and Tron.
In the current phase of this long term project, there are tunnels that connect three stations at the convention center, and you ride in a Tesla between stations. This efficient system boasts clean energy, less wait times than cars and shuttles, and cool underground tunnels that change colors when you ride through them! The multi-year goal is to have more tunnels and stations connecting McCarran Airport with hotels along the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas.
The best thing about the tunnels is not having to wait for multiple stops like you have to with the monorail. It is basically like taking an uber or lyft with no traffic and reasonable fees. You also get the human touch of having drivers as opposed to an automated system. It was clear that some of these drivers are really having fun with it by playing music to match the vibe and picking up speed once you are in the tunnels. We chatted with one of our drivers, she said that they started the system back in January but that this was only their 4th convention. We look forward to seeing this project continue.