Disney files permits for possible aerial tramway of gondolas

We first wrote about an aerial tram network of gondolas as a possible solution for Walt Disney World’s transportation woes back in January 2013. Despite some comments, our suggestion was 100% serious (okay, maybe about 87% serious). But now some internet sleuths think they’ve found very real permits that indicate Disney is, in fact, building an aerial tram network on property.

There’s a group of dedicated Disney fans on WDWMagic who keep a close eye on permits filed at the county for construction at Walt Disney World. They’ve found one related to the new construction project at Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT that lines up perfectly with the infrastructure that a gondola system would require.

The system would function as a connector between EPCOT and DHS with stops at Caribbean Beach Resort, and Pop Century/Art of Animation (just off the bottom of the map). Disney could later expand this with spurs to ESPN WWOS, the All Star Resorts/ Blizzard Beach, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and potentially Disney Springs.

As I stated back in 2013, aerial tramways can be high capacity, withstand lightning, have little impact on the ground, don’t interfere with traffic, can be run on renewable energy, and, with sightline considerations, have little or no intrusion into the theme parks. Even better, they might be the cheapest form of mass transit you could build right now.

Dozens of communities around the globe are currently in one state or another of building their own gondola network. Branson, MO could have their 8.5 mile system, which would connect Silver Dollar City with their entertainment district, open by 2020. Portland, OR has one that’s been operating for 10 years.

We’re not talking about the old Skyway gondolas here. These would be larger, enclosed (and therefore air conditioned), and detachable from the rope network to aid with the load and unload process for wheelchairs and other cases.

There is a possibility this system could be a form of PRT (Personal Rapid Transit) or an elevated railway, but it looks like a Gondola System to me.

Finally, because I know I’ll get questions about this, I’m sure it’s not a monorail. Monorails are expensive to build and Disney World, if anything, is looking for ways to get rid of their monorail system, not expand it. It’s very expensive to maintain and the current trains are currently at or about their original life expectancy.

I hope that this project actually is a go. It does sound shovel ready at this point. It does not sound like a grand scheme to replace the monorails or bus system, just an efficient way to move guests in this little corner or Walt Disney World. Estimated completion date is 2019.

What do you think? Would you ride a gondola system from EPCOT to Disney’s Hollywood Studios or other points in Walt Disney World?

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8 thoughts on “Disney files permits for possible aerial tramway of gondolas

  1. Spencer

    Fantastic to hear!

    On a related note, when Wilderness Lodge was originally announced, early press releases showed an animated gondola connecting the main lodge with the monorail due south of the contemporary resort.

    Do you or anyone have those original images? I’d LOVE to see that revisited!!

    Reply
  2. Pingback: New 15-story tower announced for Disney's Coronado Springs | The Disney Blog

  3. Chris

    I wonder if they will use bubble designs instead of gondolas, as seen in the OZ film recently, for the design of the aerial transport. It would tie things together nicely, with a fantasy-futuristic look. It might a good hint at the future theme and direction for DHS too. Recently, TCM signed on to upgrade the Great Movie Ride. The bubbles have already been used in many parades too. It blends the themes of EPCOT to DHS together nicely too. The image shows the route following the new roadway entrance now that the old roadway has been incorporated into the expansion areas. So, it gives you a full view of DHS as you arrive.

    Reply
  4. Chris

    I wonder if they will use bubble designs instead of gondolas, as seen in the OZ film recently, for the design of the aerial transport. It would tie things together nicely, with a fantasy-futuristic look. It might a good hint at the future theme and direction for DHS too. Recently, TCM signed on to upgrade the Great Movie Ride. The bubbles have already been used in many parades too. It blends the themes of EPCOT to DHS together nicely too. The image shows the route following the new roadway entrance now that the old roadway has been incorporated into the expansion areas.

    Reply
  5. Chris

    Actually, considering it connects DHS and Caribbean Beach resort together, its possible its a Pirates theme. They could add a full Pirates Land to DHS too, modeled after the successful one in Shanghai, which is ironically based on the live action film version of the classic attraction. The new tower at the nearby Coronado Springs is inspired by the SDL hotel.

    Reply
  6. Chris

    …..if the Arrival/Departure gate for the aerial skyway is located at the United Kingdom Pavillion in World Showcase at EPCOT, it could be a nod to NeverLand, from Peter Pan, which is being developed as a Disney live action film. The story also includes Pirates too. However, the successful film franchise based on Pirates of the Caribbean, would certainly be exciting too. The Caribbean beach resort and Pop Art resort could be easily enhanced to the films, and any potential new park attractions too.

    Reply

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