Today’s guest post comes from Morgan Turner!
“I recently returned from my very first trip to Disneyland and my experience was nothing short of amazing; so much so that I will be taking a totally unplanned trip back to California in November. Rather than bore you with every single detail of my trip I’ll share various stories about my experiences while I was in the park that started it all! I was given the chance to do so many different things while I was there including running the inaugural Pixie Dust Challenge race during Tinkerbell Marathon Weekend, but more special than earning 4 amazing medals, I was able to do something even more special: I got to do a tender ride on the Disneyland Railroad.
I had hoped I would get the chance to do a tender ride while I was in the park, but I had intended to do it later in my trip, not on my arrival day! When I arrived to Disneyland and finally entered the park the train was my first destination. When I started my journey as a cast member my first location was on the Walt Disney World Railroad, so it is only fitting that I visit our sister railroad first. I had only gone up to the train station to say hello to the cast and take a few pictures, but when I mentioned that I operate the engines in Florida they were more than willing to share all sorts of amazing stories of their experiences! Not only that they asked if I wanted to do a tender ride. OF COURSE I WANT TO DO A TENDER RIDE! For those unaware riding in the tender means you’re in the cab basically. At Walt Disney World the only opportunity to go in the cab if you aren’t a cast member is to take the Magic Behind Our Steam Trains tour, but because of the way the engines at Disneyland are made its possible to bring guests up there.
I waited about 15 minutes for the train to return and I was taken to the front of the train. It was so cool getting to ride in the cab of the EP Ripley and chat with the fireman and engineer operating that day. They were so kind in answering the 900 million questions I answered about the day to day operation, how their trains worked, just everything. It was so amazing to get to see the differences and similarities to the railroads in both parks and it was cool to share stories. Plus I have to say our friends at Disneyland have a bit of an advantage—it’s not nearly as hot in the cab of their trains as it is in the ones at Walt Disney World.
The whole experience was just amazing, but I have to say that getting to do my tender ride in the EP Ripley is by far one of the most precious Disney experiences I will ever have. If you’re not familiar with the trains at Disneyland, here is a fun fact. The EP Ripley was Walt Disney’s favorite engine. On opening day there is a lovely photo of Walt Disney driving in one of the trains…that train was the EP Ripley. So when I was in the cab of that train…I was able to touch a train seat that Walt actually occupied. As a person that loves Disney and a cast member that is literally the most amazing thing in the world. I am so grateful for the experience I had on the Disneyland Railroad. It set the tone for the most amazing Disney trip I’ve ever had! Until next time friends… All Aboard!”