Disneyland remains extraordinarily popular and features numerous prominent attractions which continue to entertain many visitors. The brilliant Disneyland Railroad is particularly distinguished and provided inspiration for 71044 Disney Train and Station which appears marvellous in official product images.
This remarkable set contains 2925 pieces which are divided approximately evenly between the Disney Train and the spectacular Main Street, U.S.A. station. Both models seem fairly faithful to their respective source material and some outstanding minifigures are included too, the most notable of whom is undoubtedly Goofy!
Box and Contents
This packaging design resembles 71040 Disney Castle, featuring an attractive blue border which runs across the top. I like how the station is exhibited above the train so both models are clearly visible and the surrounding blue sky looks marvellous. Interior details are displayed on the reverse of the box with images of the C.K. Holliday locomotive and Main Street, U.S.A. station which inspired this set.
Eighteen numbered bags are found inside the box, along with three without numbers which contain larger pieces. Four separate instruction manuals are included too. These are focused upon the locomotive, each carriage and the railway station respectively. Models can therefore be constructed concurrently, providing an enjoyable collective building experience.
Some information about the Disneyland Railroad occupies several pages of the first manual. This is interesting but there is no interview with Marcos Bessa. Additional reference images would also have been welcome, particularly focusing upon the railway station interior which is decorated with many authentic details.
Three sticker sheets are provided, featuring 52 stickers. That seems somewhat disappointing as both models are heavily reliant upon stickers, although many of these are necessary to capture details that would otherwise be omitted altogether. Furthermore, certain designs line up across different pieces so special care should be taken when applying them.
LEGO has produced several different renditions of Mickey Mouse and this example is appropriately dressed as a train engineer. This minifigure is inspired by merchandise sold at Disneyland, featuring blue overalls and a red neckerchief which look nice. The dual-moulded arms are lovely but Mickey's cap is missing. That is disappointing as an approximately suitable piece was created for the Disney Collectable Minifigures.
Minnie Mouse seems overtly similar to the minifigure from 71040 Disney Castle, wearing an elegant red dress with white polka dots. However, the torso has been updated and now corresponds with her modern clothing at Disneyland, featuring two buttons and improved sleeve decoration. Moreover, the skirt is formed using a fabric component which allows Minnie to sit down.
Conducting duties are assigned to Chip and Dale, both of whom were introduced in the second series of Disney Collectable Minifigures. Their intricately moulded heads remain unchanged and look brilliant, including accurate colours and textured fur. I am especially pleased with Dale's characteristic red nose that corresponds precisely with his onscreen appearance.
Each minifigure features a formal dark blue uniform which looks realistic in relation to traditional train conductors. These designs are original and seem absolutely appropriate for the Disney train, although minifigures based upon Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers might have been more appealing. Nevertheless, I am satisfied with these fun characters.
However, the most exciting minifigure is definitely Goofy, whose absence from the Disney Collectable Minifigures has elicited some disappointment. This rendition of the fun character takes inspiration from his appearance at Disneyland parks across the world, hence the traditional black waistcoat is replaced with a flame yellowish orange garment and his trousers include a distinctive orange patch.
I would have preferred the standard design but this minifigure looks wonderful, featuring an exclusive head component. His pronounced teeth and enormous eyes look perfect and I like the lime green hat, although this may not be removed. Hopefully a different rendition of Goofy, based upon the animated character, will become available shortly.
The Completed Model
Steam trains have appeared consistently across the LEGO range for more than five decades and the beautiful Disney train is an outstanding example. This model measures 78cm in length and comprises four sections which are joined using standard magnetic couplings. Its predominant red colour scheme looks superb and twenty track components are provided, four of which are straight while the other sixteen are curved.
This locomotive takes inspiration from the C.K. Holliday steam engine and accordingly resembles an archetypal Wild West train, featuring two pairs of small leading wheels and larger driving axles. I love the dark green boiler housing, although dark blue may have been more accurate. The light bluish grey smokebox looks perfect though and an intricately detailed Westinghouse pump is fixed on the side.
An attractive cowcatcher is mounted on the front of the train. This red element previously appeared in 7597 Western Train Chase and compares favourably with the original locomotive, including two flag poles which are mounted on either flank. The flags are missing, unfortunately, but I like the decorative headlight above the smokebox and a small sticker is placed on the front, identifying this as Disneyland Railroad locomotive number one.
Additional stickers are positioned on both sides of the boiler, forming realistic golden strips. However, further strips should appear behind them and another running board should be attached between the existing dark tan boards and the piston cylinders. The pearl gold hand grips are excellent though and black wrenches have been ingeniously integrated, representing supports for the cowcatcher.
Functional connecting rods are connected to the rearmost wheels which is impressive and I like the rotating bogies as well. Furthermore, a metallic gold bell is situated beside two vertical cylinders that make clever use of red train wheels. The stickers on either side of the cab should read 'C.K. Holliday' but that title has been swapped for 'Disney Train' which seems reasonable as this model is evidently intended to be somewhat fantastical.
Unfortunately, the interior of the cab appears rather bland. There are no visible controls and the floor space is extremely limited, only providing room for one minifigure. Moreover, the floor moves with the bogie beneath which seems odd. I appreciate the opening roof though and a black 4x4 dish forms the circular firebox door.
The tender is connected to the locomotive using a magnetic coupler which is somewhat unusual and creates a substantial gap between them. It looks brilliant though and includes some beautiful stickers on each side. Their wording has been adjusted for the LEGO train but these stickers certainly capture the ornate design of their source material and the battery box is concealed inside.
Opening a hatch on top reveals the green activation button which is well hidden. The motorised wheel unit looks reasonable but is not entirely accurate when compared with the original vehicle as its tender should rest upon four pairs of wheels instead of two. Nevertheless, the Powered Up components have been effectively integrated and the train can be controlled perfectly using the Powered Up app.
Two carriages are included. They both measure eight studs wide so differ from the majority of LEGO trains but appear more realistically scaled with the track. The first carriage is based upon the Holiday Blue gondola car that carries passengers around Disneyland and includes a delightful striped awning. This is constructed using alternating blue and white 1x3 curved slopes with 1x1 tooth plates along the edges.
Fourteen reddish brown seats are situated within the carriage and these face sideways which seems sensible as the Disneyland Railroad encircles almost the whole park. Two sections of the awning can open for easy access but there is only adequate space for ten minifigures to sit because of their arms. In addition, I am impressed with the authentic yellow stripe beside the steps on one side.
Blue and white 1x2 tiles are attached along the opposite side and the roof is outwardly supported by eight 6L bars. In fact, red door frames are positioned between these bars so the carriage feels sturdy, despite its fragile appearance. Two bogies are fitted underneath and these can rotate when rounding corners. Moreover, the wheels have been updated so are now connected to the bearing individually, rather than using a metal axle.
An identical wheel configuration appears on the parlour car. This model combines red and dark red bricks to good effect and takes inspiration from the famous Lilly Belle carriage that was designed by Walt Disney's wife, Lillian. The stickers on each side are not entirely accurate but they look excellent and I like the decorative patterns applied at each corner of the vehicle as well.
Steps provide access to the carriage and they are connected to the bogies underneath. The platform looks good but offers insufficient space for the door to open properly which is disappointing. However, the overhanging roof is perfect and features a hidden Portuguese flag on the underside, making reference to Marcos Bessa who designed this set.
The interior is easily accessible by removing one side of the model. This is beautifully furnished with two adjoining seats, an armchair and a small table so definitely captures the grand atmosphere of its source material. The colour scheme is relatively dark but I appreciate the realistic red upholstery and some flowers are placed on the table, introducing a welcome splash of bright colour.
Another platform is situated at the rear of the carriage and includes a round emblem which is fixed to the dark green railing. This sticker has been simplified but remains fairly accurate. Both carriages are quite short and more would certainly have been welcome but I am very pleased with the Disney Train and it represents a significant improvement over past LEGO steam locomotives in my opinion.
Four railway stations are distributed around the Disneyland Railroad, the most famous of which is the Main Street, U.S.A. station. This building measures 36cm across and looks marvellous, featuring attractive dark red brickwork with some contrasting light bluish grey 1x2 tiles attached at each corner. The actual station extends further to each side but this structure is the most interesting so omitting its wings was sensible.
The station platform provides little space but I like the exposed studs which are helpful for displaying minifigures. Furthermore, the black light fixtures look superb and differing pillars flank this area of the station, demonstrating exceptional attention to detail. The signage could be improved though as these letters seem rather small when compared with the original building and any references to Disneyland have been removed.
Dormer windows are positioned across the medium nougat roof. Similar architectural features have appeared in previous sets but this example is particularly effective in my opinion, including angled roofs which are carefully integrated with their surrounding structure. The decorative scrollwork looks nice too and seems reminiscent of 71040 Disney Castle which incorporates the same 1x2 scroll brick.
Masonry bricks were also employed extensively across the earlier Disney set and they look fantastic here, creating wonderful texture. I like the reddish brown doors and the light bluish grey archways are equally majestic, despite their relative simplicity. In addition, black paint roller components form the light fittings above each door and they certainly evoke an appropriate architectural style.
LEGO buildings are sometimes criticised for lacking depth and the Disney Station might elicit similar discussion. However, one side appears remarkably broad, providing adequate room for two windows and another door. This offers a wider range of options for displaying the model but its other side does not match, unfortunately.
Instead, the opposite end includes a balcony with wrought iron railings. The ornate 1x4 fence element at its centre looks lovely and has been ingeniously integrated with 1x2x2 window frames on each side. Their designs do not match perfectly but they are complementary and I like the trans-clear door, although this might seem even more realistic with a curtain inside.
An impressive clock is fixed to the tower and this printed component looks suitably majestic, featuring simple Roman numerals with a bronze border. Naturally, the time is approaching midnight which has been inherently associated with Disney since Cinderella was released. The surrounding decoration appears faithful to the actual Main Street, U.S.A. station and includes some striking pearl gold parts.
Black handcuffs are connected to skeleton leg elements along the top of each roof, forming intricate ridge cresting. Assembling these decorative features is repetitive but I think the result looks absolutely spectacular! The projecting metalwork around the taller tower does not quite replicate the design of the original building but appears attractive and I like the white flags, featuring Mickey Mouse's distinctive silhouette and the Disney branding.
Turning the model around reveals its detailed interior. Structures with open backs are not universally popular but this configuration does provide easy access to the internal space. Several different rooms are included and their arrangement is reminiscent of the original station at Disneyland, although certain furnishings from the ground floor have been moved upstairs while others are omitted entirely.
Reddish brown crates form the ticket counter. The same building technique appeared in 21310 Old Fishing Store and this is extremely effective, creating texture that resembles authentic wood. Another white plant pot is placed in here, matching the Lilly Belle parlour car, while the ticket prices are shown on a sticker at the other end of the counter. In addition, an advertisement is displayed on the wall and features Marcos Bessa's birthday!
Benches have appeared in countless sets but this example seems particularly realistic, including gaps between the wooden planks which are cleverly created through the use of headlight bricks. The white waste bin looks excellent as well and black lanterns are mounted on the walls, further recreating the traditional design and atmosphere of this station.
Several additional posters are displayed in this section of the building, taking inspiration from historic advertisements. These include Bjorn Aronson's Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad poster from 1955 and Paul Hartley's Disneyland Monorail poster that was produced during 1959. Moreover, the wooden door is flanked by some weighing scales on one side and a photograph of the Lilly Belle train.
Walt Disney constructed this miniature railway in his own garden and its locomotive, named Lilly Belle, inspired the C.K. Holliday train which remains active today. This miniature model depicts the Lilly Belle and looks magnificent, including a realistic medium nougat cab. The tiny leading wheels are ingeniously represented by a red roller skate which is connected upside down to the boiler.
The same building technique is replicated for another miniature steam locomotive on the upper level. This vehicle does not resemble any from Disneyland but its shape and bright colour scheme match the Walter E. Disney locomotive from Walt Disney World. Paintings hang above each scale model and this room also includes a plant beside the balcony door.
An intricately decorated rug is laid in the neighbouring corridor and this includes two Mickey Mouse silhouettes. The red curtains look marvellous and wooden display cabinets are situated between them, containing memorabilia from the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway which inspired Walt Disney's love for trains! These stickers show maps of the railway system and a round Disneyland badge which remains in the Main Street, U.S.A station today.
However, this section of the building lacks a roof which is slightly disappointing. The adjoining area is elegantly furnished though, featuring an armchair that shares its design with one found inside the Lilly Belle parlour car. I love the small table but some awkward Technic pins are visible above the windows and they could probably have been concealed by installing curtains or further posters.
The uppermost chamber does not take inspiration from the original station, instead containing 71040 Disney Castle! This small model is immediately recognisable and includes delightful detail, especially since it accurately comprises light bluish grey, white, tan and pearl gold elements. A printed 2x3 tile is also included to depict the box, matching the style of 10255 Assembly Square which contains the box for 10182 Café Corner.
LEGO and Disneyland have been closely associated with trains for more than fifty years and 71044 Disney Train and Station represents an excellent celebration of this shared passion. The locomotive appears highly detailed, surpassing almost any previous steam engine, while the carriages offer ample room for minifigures to ride on board. I am particularly pleased by their increased width and hope that will be replicated in future sets.
However, this set costs £299.99 or $329.99 which seems quite expensive, especially when compared with 71040 Disney Castle. The electronic and track components justify that price to some degree but I would recommend waiting for a discount or enticing promotion before purchasing the set. Nevertheless, I am confident that Disney fans will enjoy 71044 Disney Train and Station.
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This set was provided for review by The LEGO Group but the review is an expression of my own opinions.