Walt Disney World Skyliner gondola system to open September 29

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

Walt Disney World announced that its new gondola system, which connects Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and four resorts, will open on September 29, 2019.

Is the Disney "community" excited about the gondolas? If so, why? (these questions are not meant to be read as sarcastic or pejorative).

tall and fast but not much upside down

eightdotthree's avatar

I am not part of any Disney "community" but a continually moving transit system capable of moving that many people is a good thing.

To me, sky rides are fun and a transportation alternative to buses is exciting. I'm really curious to see how the passive cooling of the gondolas works. I would worry they would turn into mini-saunas in the swampy weather, but I also would like to think Disney has it figured out.

Is the gondola perceived as merely a practical solution to a problem? I ask, because it seems very different than the branding of the monorail in Orlando in the early 1970s when Disney told a story of "bringing tomorrow's transportation today." It seems that Disney had once successfully branded itself as a company that brought the world a certain (my phrase) "magical optimism of the future." With the recent push of movie IPs and the introduction of the gondolas (which cannot be thought of as "futuristic") etc., I wonder if Disney will find itself looking around in the future wondering what happened to the strength of its brand. I watched the same thing happen to the Big3 throughout the 70, 80 and 90 as they switched from selling "sex, power, and rock and roll" to selling "reliability, practicality, and efficiency." Now, the bean counters in Detroit are left scratching their heads wondering why kids don't want to drive cars.

tall and fast but not much upside down

Jeff's avatar

When I heard they wouldn't be air conditioned, that sounded like a disaster, so I'm looking forward to seeing how it works in practice as well.

These rides are a lot of fun though, whether they're in an amusement park or on a mountain, so it's kind of interesting that they're a practical thing outside of the parks. I think this also dramatically increases the value of Pop Century and Art of Animation, because you no longer have to get on a bus for two of the parks (only MK is really out of the way).

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

I still don't understand what is taking Disney so long with getting this thing on line. It's a glorified ski lift and ski resorts build these things in a matter of months.

I'm sure there is good reason this is a multi-year project. But just from a lay persons outside perspective, from someone with no background in ski lift construction, the process seems painfully slow.

Last edited by Hanging n' Banging,
Tommytheduck's avatar

Not having air conditioning sounds like the dumbest idea in the history of ideas.


If it's that obvious to you and me, then it's obviously been thought about and dealt with, so I wouldn't waste too much time speculating.

I'm guessing the delays are coming from figuring out how to make the system "lawsuit proof." I'm sure the lawyers have already set up their call-in hotlines and are ready to accept frivolous lawsuits from every "can I speak to your manager" parent looking for a payout.

The stations themselves have only been completed in the last month or so and, given the photos and videos I've seen, they are spending a great deal of time rehearsing remote evacuation procedures. I would imagine that's what has kept it from opening any earlier.

eightdotthree's avatar

Ski resorts also have a weather window and are not building an entire ski resort's worth of gondolas at once.

I bet if Iger took a pay cut and the money went to this project it would have been done a lot sooner.

No, no, no. The million dollar pay cut has to be used to keep Disney employees from eating out of trash cans in their neighborhood.

ApolloAndy's avatar

As someone increasingly connected to "the Disney community" (which is a kind of dumb move on my part since I can only afford to go there every couple years, for which I blame CEO salaries) I am pretty pumped about these things. One of the most "not magical" parts of our recently trip in Dec. was the bus system. 95% of the time it was perfectly adequate, but in no way magical or interesting. 5% of the time it was atrocious (trying to get to our bus stop after Fantasmic! let out took 45 minutes). If there's a way to just walk across the resort at any time of day, hop on an interesting vehicle and be at the gate to a park in 10 minutes, sign me up. Especially since the higher end values/lower end moderates are our price point.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

Jeff's avatar

I look at the buses the same way that I do public transportation anywhere else. Sure, it's not luxurious, but it's pretty efficient and relatively convenient. The only time I don't care for it is at park closing, which is why I used to avoid closing Magic Kingdom. It's also why Yacht/Beach Club and Boardwalk are the best places to stay, with Epcot.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

One of the best lines I ever heard in the Disney fan community: "There is no pixie dust in transportation."

We were down in Orlando for a few days last week and ventured over to Disney Springs for a tourist-trap dining experience at Rainforest Cafe. We saw the gondola stations and were intrigued.

It started a conversation with my wife and I on how much you can enjoy "Disney" without even entering the parks. With the monorail taking you around, the boat ride to Magic Kingdom, Disney Springs, and now the gondolas, you can experience a lot without even walking into a gate. If I remember from our trip a few years ago, there wasn't any checking of tickets or bracelets to enter any of the transportation options.

That is correct. On a couple of occasions, I have had a blast with my family by parking at the TTC and riding the monorail around the resorts. Got some Dole Whip at Polynesian and watched the fireworks over the Seven Seas Lagoon.

Loving Maverick since 2007!

Have you ever rolled the windows down in your car when you're driving? That's how the passive air conditioning works. Exactly how it works on any other outdoor ride. Air circulates through and around the interior of the cabin. The interior temperature will be the same as the outside, but with a breeze blowing on and around you. The roof and window treatments will also reduce the amount of sun on the interior.

The concerns voice online have been plentiful, but the fact is sitting in one of these during the summer will be more comfortable than walking around the theme park these rides take you to.

Vater's avatar

Driving with the windows down in 95+ degree humid weather sucks.

I drove a car with no A/C in the Texas heat for more than 10 years and that comparison doesn’t make me feel any better. Like I said, Disney probably has a better handle on this than most of us can imagine.

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