Is the Walt Disney World Gondola System about to become a reality?

Feb 15, 2017 in "Disney Skyliner"

Posted: Wednesday February 15, 2017 7:30am EST by WDWMAGIC Staff

Recently filed permitting plans suggest that Walt Disney World may be about to get its own gondola transportation system.

The plans show several structures at key locations around property, with some exhibiting quite distinctive proportions - L Shapes, that are typically used to change direction on overhead cable-based gondolas. (Thanks to danlb_2000 and P_Radden on the WDWMAGIC Forums for interpreting the plans)

The plans appear to show the new gondola transportation system linking Disney's Hollywood Studios, Art of Animation Resort, Caribbean Beach Resort and Epcot.

Timing is especially interesting, as major changes are coming to Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort and Disney's Hollywood Studios, which would make integration of a new transport system much easier.

The Magic Kingdom of course had its own Skyway, which served as an attraction inside the park for many years. But the use of gondolas as mass transport is gaining popularity. A new system is proposed for New York City, and London already operates a version in the east of the city.

Disney has not yet announced any new transportation plan, but it is well known that expansion of the monorail is unlikely, and roadways for bus use are becoming increasingly congested.

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Doberge19 days ago

The EPCOT line's "problem" is having Riviera in the middle with no dedicated spot off the line, hence ECVs and the like to force the line to slow. Disney gets a lot of "bang for the buck" with the existing system servicing two parks, two huge values, a huge moderate, and a DVC resort. It's easier to put that cost into the many rooms and two parks kor however it's allocated. The Port Orleans, SSR, OKW resort cluster only gets enough combined rooms to about what POP and AoA give, and maybe it only links to EPCOT? Seems like a more expensive proposition with way less benefit to Disney. The All Stars + Coronado + AK would be a lot with little park payoff that it seems unlikely too. Anyway, yes I saw multiple parties boarded together. EPCOT station has also begun using the station switchbacks with no plastic barrier. They had been not using the switchbacks because of physical distancing (and no barriers) but the decision to start boarding multiple parties together made avoiding switchbacks foolhardy. I think we'll also soon see shaded switchbacks reopened on attractions that previously only partially used, and this will soon help pull people back into normal queues and out of extended queues that extended far past entrances and into the blazing heat.

Magic Feather20 days ago

Because it’s not. Disney knows that at this point too. The determination seems to be that any gondola that would run longer than the Epcot line would likely be too long. Personal guess: the next major transportation infrastructure will either be something to tie in Coronado, or the “length of the property” transit THATS been talked about forever. I’d expect neither to happen within the next few years.

MansionButler8420 days ago

A lot of people walk like my family. I see them on the path. Especially at park open and close. What’s another 1500 steps when you are hitting 30k/day? Being able to walk somewhere from AKL would make me willing to book there. I won’t right now because of the buses.

joelkfla20 days ago

Sure, but that's totally different from the Skyliner, which was intended to take a major load off the buses. I'm not saying Skyliner is the best solution from AK to AKL, and I'm not convinced it's practical as property-wide transit. I'm just saying it was envisioned as the primary mode of transportation where implemented, whereas walking paths are just a nice alternative.

Ripken1020 days ago

The walk would not be for everybody, but it certainly would be enjoyed by a number of guests. Just like the walk from Grand Floridian to Magic Kingdom, this would be used, and would also likely get more guests considering AK Lodge. Runners would also love this option for a morning run.

joelkfla20 days ago

The walk from Boardwalk to DHS is about 0.8 mi. But how many guests choose to walk rather than ride? I think a relatively small fraction. Asking guests to walk a mile to get just to the entrance of a park would not make them happy. That's not free theme park transportation.

MisterPenguin20 days ago

How about a walking path that's less than a mile (which is the distance from Epcot busses to American Adventure)?

mmascari20 days ago

That's going to be ugly on the landing right through backstage. If I was betting, more like this: Of course, most of that route could be done with only a buss lane crossing at grade level too. They could put in anything and make the same happen. Same for any route from the back of the resort, there's no crossing to deal with. A gondola should still be cheaper, but it needs to be a straight line. Something else could curve. My wife always wants to stay at AK, but having to take a bus everywhere, even to AK is a disappointment. I assume they'll do something "eventually".

orky820 days ago

At least between Animal Kingdom Lodge and Animal Kingdom. I always thought they could put the AKL station between the ends of the Jambo and DVC building, pretty easily, and thereby service the entire resort without too much effort. Build a bridge from the ends of Kidani and Jambo, no turns or anything required.

Lift Blog20 days ago

The longest in the US (and formerly the world) is at Silver Mountain, Idaho at 3.1 miles, followed by the gondolas at Aspen and Heavenly. Many longer ones have recently been built abroad: 5.6 miles in Serbia, 5.5 miles in Turkey, 4.9 miles in Vietnam. We have fallen behind.

Disone20 days ago

I keep hoping for a three point system, Coronado Springs to Animal Kingdom park continuing on to Animal Kingdom Lodge and Back Again.... Lodge to Park to CS.

Ripken1020 days ago

What are some of the longer domestic gondolas? The longest I rode was the Aerial Tram at Lake Tahoe which I believe is 2.4 miles long.

Lift Blog20 days ago

I wouldn't call what happened in April a crash. More like a bump. What happened in Italy last weekend was a crash. Exceedingly sad but exceedingly rare. It's in Doppelmayr's interest to keep all the Skyliner lines running safely and efficiently. Any two points at WDW could be connected by Skyliner should Disney so choose.

DisAl20 days ago

One challenge is the distances involved. I don't know for sure, but I think the longest run on the existing skyliner system is around a mile. Straight line distance from AK to the existing transfer station or the TTC is around three miles.