Epcot construction projects underway, mostly hidden from view

Posted Friday, October 6, 2017 9:35 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Following its 35th anniversary celebration, construction has begun at Epcot for a Ratatouille attraction in the France pavilion, a Guardians of The Galaxy ride in Future World and a station for the new gondola system that will transport guests to resort hotels.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

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Saturday, October 7, 2017 11:45 AM

Is the gondola system like Swiss gondolas; capable of holding 40-60 passenger? The renderings make it seem they are more akin to the skybuckets they took out at the Magic Kingdom. Why are the investing in a gondola system when they scrapped the Skyway at Magic Kingdom? I'm assuming its to limit the eco footprint?

Saturday, October 7, 2017 11:54 AM

They're not buckets for fun, they're for a transportation system to connect Epcot and DHS to the gigantic Pop Century, Art of Animation and Caribbean Beach resorts. These are all geographically close places, but it takes forever to get between them by bus. They'll help in the Epcot to DHS route too, because the boats are intolerably slow since they stop at all of the hotels.

Sunday, October 8, 2017 8:32 PM

Read that Dopplemayr is the most likely contractor; and their 3s model (which is what is being speculated as the one going in Disney) is able to operate at a rate of 5,000 people per hour. Is that capacity enough? Overkill? How many guests do those properties hold? I'm assuming itll also accomodate guests hopping between parks, much like the monorail.(except It wont travel to MK or Epcot...yet) Will this just alleviate bus/monorail congestion, or create a bigger headache as it replaces/supplements the bus system?

The mention of the skybuckets was more of one, why not refurbish that attraction instead of demolishing it, only to invest in a similar system on a bigger scale? I realize one was an attraction; but it was an attraction that afforded great views of the park, while also greatly decreasing congestion around fantasyland and tomorrowland. I havent been to Disney in 20+ years, but I remember the crowds from about Countrybear jamboree all the way to Tomorrowland raceway was just murder on high wind days when the skyway wasn't able to operate. It served to facillitate crowds moving better between the two points, clearing room around the rides behind the castle.

Sunday, October 8, 2017 9:17 PM

I'm reasonably certain that attraction doesn't exist beyond fond memories, and it was not a transportation system that needs to cover 10 times the distance.

Sunday, October 8, 2017 11:00 PM

They function the same; but skyway had limited capacity (3-4 riders I think....4 adults would've been a stretch, 2 adults and two kids was more feasible). As attractions go, skyway didn't have a big footprint, since it only had two stations, and the cable lines were elevated, not restricting the rides below. Though you can still ride skybuckets at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and I hear at Busch Gardens Tampa (i haven't been)

Monday, October 9, 2017 6:43 AM

The skyway was built and operated with pre-1970s technology and designed to carry 4 people per bucket across 1200 feet. It was obsolete when it was removed 18 years ago. What they're building now is akin to a high speed ski lift. It will carry 5000 people per hour over a few miles. It's also likely to be fully wheelchair accessible.

Monday, October 9, 2017 8:07 AM

The older systems that was removed was not ADA compliant. You couldn't get a wheelchair in a bucket (you had to step up a pretty good rise to get into a bucket) and the stations only had stair access. Add on the fact that kids were fond of spitting on guests below and retiring the attraction seemed to be logical.

This new system will have to be accessible and I doubt that they will be open air vehicles.

Monday, October 9, 2017 8:45 AM

The only one I really miss is Disneyland’s. I really liked the way it cut through Matterhorn. I would also be upset if Cedar Point were to lose theirs. It seems all regional themers has one (or two) early on but most have been retired.

I don’t know if I’d ever be in a position to take advantage of the new skyway at Disney, strictly as convenient transportation, but I’d give it a try once for fun.

Monday, October 9, 2017 1:31 PM

I guess the ADA compliance thing makes sense. Of course the spitting thing happens a lot on elevated platform queues, like the one for Yankee Clipper and Logger's Run at SFGA. I see a lot of teens spitting on the log riders below them when they're waiting in line. Could also see them worrying about people dropping/dumping stuff too. Different times now than say 20 years ago. You would've never seen the rudeness and fights you see at theme parks now.

Monday, October 9, 2017 6:30 PM

And don't forget riding the old Skyway let every guest on the ride see into backstage areas. The park has always been about "good show" but around the time the Skyway closed they really ramped up the idea that nobody should see a "bad show" area. I'm not saying this was the reason the ride was removed but it was a definite win for WDI on the issue of keeping everyone's focus down and inside the park.

Monday, October 9, 2017 9:17 PM

I hate to say it, but given that you can see a chunk of Everest that's unthemed, not to mention a significant portion of the Pandora show building, from the parking lot, I'm not sure that concealing backstage areas is as important as it once was.

Monday, October 9, 2017 10:57 PM

Seeing the flat, boring gray side of a building from a long distance vs. looking 50 feet down into an area where you could potentially see a character without full costume is totally different. At some point because of their size you just aren't going to be able to hide every building but they do a damn good job at trying. I mean you can see Tower of Terror from Epcot so its going to happen but controlling who can see into an active work location is something a little more important.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 3:33 PM

I'll admit it's been probably 25 years since I rode it (maybe closer to 30) but I don't remember being able to "see backstage" from the skyway. I'll have to check out some YouTube videos to see if you can. Memories can be faulty at times. I also have to figure in how much the park has changed since I last visited; when I last went Captain Eo(?) with Michael Jackson was the new attraction. But I think that was at Epcot. I believe they've built 2 more parks, 2 swim areas and demolished River Country.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 9:16 PM

At the time likely the only backstage areas you would have seen would have been the rooftops of some buildings. However if the ride were still around you would be able to see into some areas at ground level and the same rooftops where more work is being performed each day. So the "show" Disney tries to keep would be ruined if the ride were still around with the new additions that have come along.

And now that I think about it, as sirloindude pointed out, Pandora can only be seen from the parking lot. Same goes for Everest I believe so it's not actually considered bad show. It's from within the parks when Disney is telling the story that you shouldn't see anything to cause a break from that.

Last edited by 99er, Tuesday, October 10, 2017 9:28 PM
Monday, October 23, 2017 11:10 AM

Tbone's chop said:

Read that Dopplemayr is the most likely contractor; and their 3s model (which is what is being speculated as the one going in Disney) is able to operate at a rate of 5,000 people per hour.

If the disneyblog website is correct, the system will not be a 3s model but rather a more conventional mono-cable system. I thought a 3s would be ideal as cabin sizes come in 20 or 35 passengers and the bi-cable design (2 track cables plus one haul cable) allows for great wind stability. Disney's system will have 8 passenger cabins and the mono-cable design is similar to the Sky Ride at CP, but with newer technology and higher wind resistance. Seems to be a standard mono-cable gondola ski lift design, which does ok in wind, but not nearly as good as the 3s. If you are used to the older Von Roll amusement park lifts (like CP's Sky Ride) you will find that the Disney lift has a tire drive in the station which allows the cabins to slowly circulate through the station, slow enough for even a wheelchair to drive on. Ride operators will not have to manually push the cabins through the station. The entire system is automated and uses a block system in the station similar to a roller coaster block system.

Here is a link to what Disney is getting: https://www.doppelmayr.com/en/products/detachable-gondola-lift/

Last edited by Pete, Monday, October 23, 2017 11:21 AM
Monday, October 23, 2017 11:29 AM

That's what they had on Crystal Mountain near Seattle. Pretty solid system.


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