All Aboard for Train Rides in Orlando

From theme park rides to Amtrak, trains in Orlando will move you in style.

From theme park rides to Amtrak, trains in Orlando will move you in style.

By Nate Shelton

The golden age of rail travel might be long gone, but here in Orlando, trains are still going full steam ahead at theme parks, attractions and commuter rail services throughout the area. Don your best engineer's cap and grab a whistle — it's time to board some of the coolest trains in Orlando!

Walt Disney World Resort

Trains have been part of Disney's DNA ever since Walt Disney built a railroad in his backyard in 1949. Today, Disney's parks offer several ways to ride in Orlando, starting with the Walt Disney World Railroad. Located inside Disney's Magic Kingdom, the attraction's vintage, steam-powered trains provide a relaxing, 20-minute tour of the park, with stops in Fantasyland, Frontierland and Main Street, U.S.A.

Prefer a train ride with a little more action? Magic Kingdom's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train won't take you far, but they sure will do it in a hurry!

You can also ride the rails at Disney's Animal Kingdom courtesy of the Wildlife Express Train at Rafiki's Planet Watch. Lasting approximately 7 minutes, it will take you on a backstage journey through Disney's zoological theme park, where you'll see housing and veterinary facilities for elephants, rhinoceroses and other wildlife.

Learn more: Discount Tickets to Walt Disney World Resort

Universal Orlando Resort

You don't need an official acceptance letter to visit Harry Potter's alma mater — just hop aboard the Hogwarts Express at Universal Orlando! Part of Universal's The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, this iconic train has stops in Diagon Alley's Kings Cross Station at Universal Studios Florida and Hogsmeade Village's Hogsmeade Station at Universal's Islands of Adventure.

Park-to-park passholders can board at either station and travel to the other by way of the British countryside. Keep an eye out for wizard-friendly points of interest during your journey ... not to mention Dementors!

Learn more: Discount Tickets to Universal Orlando Resort

SeaWorld Orlando

Long part of the kid-friendly Happy Harbor at SeaWorld's main theme park, the Seven Seas Railway is a pint-sized train for younger guests. To make way for SeaWorld's all-new Sesame Street expansion, which is slated to open in 2019, this attraction closed briefly earlier this year, but it's moving to a new, temporary location for the summer.

Learn more: Discount Tickets to SeaWorld Orlando

LEGOLAND Florida Resort

Designed for toddlers, LEGOLAND's DUPLO Valley is filled with attractions built just for kids — including the DUPLO Train! Children are invited to board the train on their own or with family members for a trip through DUPLO-style countryside featuring farms, campgrounds and fishing spots. However, kids must be at least 34 inches tall to ride without an adult.

Learn more: Discount Tickets to LEGOLAND Florida Resort

ICON Orlando 360

There's a lot to see and do at the ICON Orlando 360 entertainment, dining and shopping hub on International Drive — including the titular ICON Orlando observation wheel — and the Pearl Express Train is a fun way to get an overview. Perfect for the whole family, the train departs from ICON Orlando 360's central courtyard before traveling all the way around the premises.

Learn more: Discount Tickets to ICON Orlando

Gatorland

Although the Gatorland Express Railroad is a separate-ticketed experience, paying the nominal fee gets you unlimited riding privileges during your visit. The complete circuit, which takes about 20 minutes, travels around the park on a loop that passes the Alligator Breeding Marsh and other exhibits.

Learn more: Discount Tickets to Gatorland

Royal Palm Railway Experience

This unique train service is in Tavares, about 50 minutes north of downtown Orlando. It recreates the experience of elegant, 1950s rail travel and offers two destination cities: Mount Dora and Eustis. Once you've arrived, you can disembark to sample the towns' dining and shopping, then catch a later train to return to the point of origin.

The Royal Palm Railway Experience also offers special event trains, such as The Polar Express Train Ride during the holidays, as well as premium train experiences that include the Rails & Ales Brew Train, which explores some of Florida's best beer creations.

SunRail and Amtrak

Not all of Orlando's trains are for fun. For instance, Amtrak maintains a station in downtown Orlando. Featuring Mission Revival-style architecture, the historic facility has been welcoming travelers to the destination since 1926.

Once you've arrived, you can use our commuter rail service, SunRail. Currently, the train runs from Poinciana in the south, close to Walt Disney World, up to DeBary in the north, about 30 minutes from downtown Orlando. Apart from select weekends, SunRail operates Monday through Friday only, with varying schedules for each station. Check SunRail's website for complete details on hours of operation during your visit.

Honorable Mention: Central Florida Railroad Museum

You can't actually ride a train at this unique museum in Winter Garden, about 25 minutes from Walt Disney World, but it's a must-visit for anyone with an interest in rail travel. Housed in the historic Tavares and Gulf Rail Company building, the museum chronicles the history of Central Florida's railways with photos, displays and exhibits. Artifacts include a caboose, a velocipede handcar and a 1938 Fairmont motorcar.

Cover Image: Wildlife Express at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando

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Written by Nate Shelton, Consumer Content Writer at Visit Orlando. He’s a native Floridian who appreciates the entertainment, historical and culinary aspects of Orlando and Orange County.

 

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Related Categories: Theme Parks & Attractions , Relaxation , Orlando for Kids

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