Friday, June 27, 2014

Blue Sky Monorail Diner

The Monorail Diner

"Please stand clear of the orders"
"Por favor, manténgase alejado de los pedidos"

In Kansas City, there are several Fritz's Railroad Restaurant locations ( which inspired the concept of the Monorail Diner.  I went to the one at the Crown Center a few years ago.  The food is satisfactory at Fritz's, but it's the presentation that's spectacular.  A track-based system called Skat Kat moves orders around the dining room and brings them to your table from high above.  The vehicles are decorated to resemble railway engines.  There is a video embedded at their website illustrating how the trays are lowered.  It is not too hard to envision a miniature monorail (or minirail) instead, but let's plus it up a bit.

This isn't the first Blue Sky engineering attempt at automating food delivery.  Previously published was the concept of resurrecting a Horn and Hardart Automat (  Like Horn and Hardart Revisited, the Monorail Diner lies somewhere between table and counter service.  In this case, ordering is done at the table, but there's no need to wait for a server.  Selection is by touchscreen (think of the Jetsons' Food-a-Rac-a-Cycle) with the advantage of multilingual menus, pictures for non-readers and audio for the sight-impaired.  As an aside, Braille touchscreens already exist too (  Special situations may be handled though a brief Facetime session with the humans behind the scenes.  

Delivery is by minirail with trays lowered along "pylons" to the guests.  The 1970s patents on the Skat Kat's train and elevator have long expired.  There was also a problem with inertia when overloaded trains dropped their loads.  Disney's Audio-Animatronics experience with compliance could very well resolve the sudden speed change issue ( and improve stabilization.  The sticklers at The Monorail Society ( may argue this is not a true monorail.  There will still be waitstaff for items too heavy or unstable to for the track.

So, what's on the menu?  It is called a diner, therefore timeless diner fare keeps the food in theme.  In your mind, merge the 50s Prime Time with the Sci-Fi Dine-In.  It may also be time to bring back the Monorail Cocktails (Red, Yellow and Pink) from the old Top of the World restaurant's bar.

Disney Recipe (and Happy Hour!): Monorail Drinks fro...
If you've ever wanted to make cool retro Disney cocktails, now's your chance! Check out recipes for the Disney Monorail Drinks from the old Top of the World Restaur...
Preview by Yahoo
Just look at that glorious mural behind the bar while you're at it because that's where we're going next.

So, what's the decor?  
The overall look is retrofuturistic.  A scene in Horizons depicted this "future that never was" as envisioned from the 50s.
Preview by Yahoo
Or, one could go full on steampunk with lots of rivets and brass.  Either way, you don't have to worry about the present catching up to the future.  3-D artwork with historically significant monorails adorns the walls: 

Monorails in History II
  1952 - ALWEG Monorail
Preview by Yahoo

My favorite is the Mark VII.  A hypothetical Mark VII dining car could be the restaurant's facade complete with doors that announce... well, you know.

So, what's the location?  At first, it seems obvious to put it in the Contemporary Resort, but then other thoughts arise.  There's already a cafe there although a diner offers a broader menu.  Like Fritz's, there could be multiple locations operating on multiple lines.  The Disneyland Hotel also has a monorail station as does Tomorrowland inside its Magic Kingdom.  Epcot offers stunning views of its monorails.  Maybe, it's finally time to remodel and fully reactivate the Odyssey restaurant (scroll down one paragraph here:  Futureworld and the Monorail Diner may even be a superior match thematically than is the Contemporary (i.e. tomorrow vs. today).

Next up, perfecting an aerial food order delivery system.  No one is going to mind whirling quadcopter blades in their faces, right?

-Jeff C.

Please feel free to ask any questions!

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