The transportation system of the future at Walt Disney World is looking toward the past. The new Disney Skyliner gondola network will remind longtime guests of the Disney Skyway. You know, the one at Disneyland that used to go through the Matterhorn or the one at Magic Kingdom that gave us such wonderful views.
Disney has released a fun video with some updated concept art and a countdown of four fun facts about the Disney Skyliner:
We like the look of the stations, each themed a little different to match their surroundings. The support towers do kind of stand out, but we think that once the kinetic energy of the gondola cars start to go by, they’ll blend in better.
The network still isn’t at the point where they can start putting the first cable and testing the mechanics of the system, but it is getting a lot closer. Workers still have to install the last few support towers in the system near the Pop Century station and most of the stations still have considerable work to be finished.
The good news is that work is finally getting to the point where Disney needs to hire their first permanent employees that will learn and maintain the system.
The system will eventually connect two parks (Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios) and a number of resorts (Art of Animation/Pop Century, Disney’s Caribbean Beach, the new Riviera DVC resort, and the EPCOT area resorts – especially Beach Club, which is closest).
At this point, no one expects the Disney Skyliner to replace the Monorail as its most iconic transportation system. But the aerial tram does have a growing role to play in future transportation options for communities around the globe. I’m excited to see Disney once again showcasing it the the millions of guests who visit the resort every year.
Longtime readers of The Disney Blog will remember that we’ve been pushing for Walt Disney World to adopt a gondola network since January 2013. We think the system could eventually be even larger than this first network, but connecting two parks and a bunch of resorts, is a good start.
According to sources, Disney is targeting Summer of 2019 to open the Disney Skyliner to guests.
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I’m still skeptical about how this system will work during Florida’s many thunderstorms. Wind and lightning usually cause shutdowns of similar systems, and Florida gets both of those quite frequently.
Plus, how will it work on very crowded days for guests at the Riviera? Will guests be stuck waiting in line to board a gondola for hours waiting for an empty gondola to finally come along? If there are hundreds of guests in line at Epcot and the Studios waiting to board gondolas, empty gondolas may never head out, leaving the guests at the Riviera waiting in line until someone exits there, which may not ever happen early in the day. The logistics of this system just seem problematic.