Disney is always working on new ways to improve theme park operations and how its resorts handle guests needs. Transportation is a key factor in making sure a massive resort like Walt Disney World runs efficiently. With the use of buses, boats, cars and even a Monorail, the resort moves roughly 250,000 guests a day around its over 42 square miles. With attendance on the rise and additions like new hotels, Toy Story Land and Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, Walt Disney World needed to also add to its transportation options. That’s where the new gondola based system, the Disney Skyliner steps in.
Disney parks have a long history of using gondolas not just as transportation, but as attractions as well. The Disneyland Skyway debuted not long after the park opened in 1955 connecting Fantasyland to Tomorrowland. Subsequent versions of the bucket ride were then brought to the Magic Kingdom in Orlando and Tokyo Disneyland in the following decades. While all of these have been closed and removed, the technology behind the gondolas has improved and will return in a larger and more advanced capacity.
The new Disney Skyliner was announced at the D23 Expo in 2017. At that time it was revealed that the Skyliner would connect Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot with four on-site hotels. Guests staying at Pop Century, Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach Resort and the soon to be built Disney’s Riviera Resort would be able to utilize this option. These new state-of-the-art gondolas would be less like the small open boxes of the past and instead feature a fully enclosed vehicle with enough space for up to ten passengers. The new gondolas are also decorated with fun colors and iconic Disney characters. It was recently announced that the Skyliner will open on September 29, 2019.
The Disney Skyliner will be an almost constantly moving system, allowing guests to smoothly and quickly get to their destination while enjoying birds-eye views of the Walt Disney World Resort. The route features 3 sections reaching from Pop Century and Art of Animation at the lower end of the resort all the way to Epcot. The Caribbean Beach Resort location will also serve as a transfer station. Guests will need to disembark their gondola at this station and transfer to a different one, depending on their destination. The stations will use a moving loading platform similar to those in use on attractions like Haunted Mansion, to reduce slowdowns that can come from loading issues. The gondolas do not feature air conditioning and instead use a passive air cooling system brought by its movement, through vents built into the sides.
The Skyliner is being built by world-famous gondola makers, the Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group. The Austrian/Swiss company has been producing gondola systems for 17 years and have created over 15,000 installations in 96 countries. The Skyliner already shows great promise for helping guests travel around the Walt Disney World Resort quickly and efficiently. We are looking forward to taking our first ride and will be sure to bring you a full review when the Disney Skyliner opens on September 29.
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