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Another Disney Skyliner Incident in Disney World

While the Disney Skyliner is our favorite method of transportation, it’s no secret that it didn’t get off to the smoothest start when it opened and there was even a small accident within the first weeks of opening.

Disney Skyliner Station Riviera Resort

We understand there will be hiccups along the way and now another small accident has occurred to the Disney Skyliner.

In this post, we are going to talk about all the incidents that have happened to the Skyliner, the ramifications, and what we think about this newest transportation system moving forward.

The first accident on the Skyliner was on Monday, October 5, 2019, leading to a temporary closure. It then reopened after the incident on October 19th and has been running fine up until this latest incident.

Let’s start out with the accidents themselves. You can read our log of events below to see all the details of what happened. Also, find out what the emergency 911 calls were like from the passengers of the Skyliner the night of the incident.

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Lastest Accident on April 22nd, 2021

The most recent accident on the Disney Skyliner occurred at the Hollywood Studios Skyliner station when some Skyliner cars crashed into each other.

Some glass from the windows of the cars was shattered, but Disney was able to clean the glass up immediately. Luckily it doesn’t seem like anyone was seriously injured in the latest Skyliner incident.

The Instagram user @nextstopmainstreet was able to get a video of the aftermath of the event.

Disney Skyliner Accident

There have been plenty of delays and even reports of a few people temporarily stuck in the skyliner cars due to technical difficulties or weather-related issues. However, this is the first real incident were cars crashed into each other since the original back in 2019.

Today, the day after the incident, the Skyliner was down for part of the day and guests were being directed to alternate transportation solutions like buses and boats.

Later in the day the Skyliner was back up and running and taking guests. This is a big difference from the first accident when it was closed for weeks. As long as things don’t change, it looks like the Skyliner will be up and running on your next visit.

This story is still new and we’ll update you as soon as we find out more info.

Keep reading for the Full Story of events that happened during the night of the first incident.

Original Skyliner Incident on October 5th, 2019

NEWS 10/18/19 – The 911 calls from the passengers onboard the Skyliner were released today.

The WESH 2 News released the 911 calls and you could hear the voices of the frustrated and scarred guests on board.

While being stranded in a gondola, one of the passengers said: “We’re stuck on the Disney Skyliner. It’s going on 2 hours now and they’re not really, we’re getting some automated message saying that we’re moving shortly.”

Some guests were stuck inside the Disney Skyliner gondolas for up to 3 hours before they could be removed by the authorities.

rescuing guests from Disney Skyliner Incident

911 responders were alert to guests, asking them if they had any medical conditions. Most guests were just tired and frustrated by the situation. However there were a couple of medical conditions that were more serious. One of the callers reported that a woman had lost consciousness inside the gondola and passed out.

Authorities responded to the situation: “I understand. I know you’ve been in there for probably over two hours right now. We do have help on the way. They are trying to get it up and running and we have our units standing by.”

In the end the guests were removed by the authorities using a cherry picker which was high enough to get to them.

The actual cause of the incident is still not know as Disney has been silent on what exactly happened. Some say it was a power failure, but Disney has refuted that claim and said it was not a power failure and that they were still investigating the cause.

Disney Skyliner Gondolas coming into Pop Century Station

3 people were taken to the hospital, but no one was seriously hurt as far as we know.

Keep scrolling down to get our updated thoughts on the Disney Skyliner now that it’s reopened.

Emergency 911 Calls from Passengers

Disney decided to keep the Skyliner system shut down indefinitely until they could determine it’s safe to operate again. The Skyliner was closed Sunday October 6 through Sunday October 13, and as of Monday morning October 14, it’s re-opening.

It all started at the Riviera Resort station when Disney Skyliner vehicle 108 malfunctioned and failed to leave the Riviera station properly toward Epcot. The gondola car rolled back, and was crashed into by the following cabin behind it, which smashed the rear glass window and stopped the system.

Smashed glass was seen underneath the gondolas at the Riviera Station. The guests in the cars involved in the incident were easily freed seeing as it all occurred right in the station

Here you can see some of the photos of the Skyliner accident:

After the initial crash, the Skyliner gondolas behind the stuck ones also crashed into the ones in front creating a pile up:

Disney Skyliner Accident 1
photo credit @themeparkalex on Twitter
Disney Skyliner Accident 2
photo credit @ada58974405 on Twitter
Disney Skyliner Accident 3
photo credit @ada58974405 on Twitter

Here’s a video showing some of the scene:

Disney has now made another official statement on the incident at the Disney Skyliner. Here is what they said:

“We have a team diligently looking into the cause of the malfunction on the Epcot line of the Disney Skyliner. We have been in contact with the guests, many of whom were on the Skyliner for more than three hours until we were able to restart the system. We express our sincere apologies for the inconvenience and continue to work with each guest individually.”

At least they made a bit more of an acknowledgement than the original statement and said the Skyliner malfunctioned.

Here is Disney’s original official statement on the incident:

One of the three Disney Skyliner routes experienced an unexpected downtime Saturday evening. As a result, the Skyliner will be closed while we look into the details surrounding this downtime. We apologize for this situation, and we are working with each guest individually regarding impacts to their visit with us.

Here’s a photo of the cars leaving the station earlier in the week when things were running normal.

carbs leaving Disney Riviera Resort station

But a pile-up at the Riviera station wasn’t the only problem. There were still guests riding the Skyliner when the accident occurred, which means that those suspended guests had to get rescued.

Here’s a look from the scene of one of the rescues when the Reedy Creek Fire Department had to get involved and bring fire trucks and cherry pickers to rescue stranded guests.

Here’s a closer look at how the rescue went down:

Some guests were rescued after 1 hour, 1 1/2 hours and even up to 3 hours. That would not be a fun place to get suspended.

Cast members at the scene were on the ball and very helpful to guests, providing them with water and other supplies they needed.

From all accounts, all the stranded guests on the Disney Skyliner were rescued and no one was seriously hurt. According to MyNews13 though, 3 people were taken to the hospital from the incident, though they have all been since released.

It also appears that Disney compensated the guests who were trapped in the Skyliner cars. Some guests claim to have received either 2 or 4-day park passes and gift cards worth either $100 or $200 dollars each. That’s a pretty nice gesture on Disney’s part and showing a desire to make the situation right.

Though guests were rescued from the Skyliner, the Orlando Sentinel has some info as to why it may have taken so long. In the article it explained that union secretary Ryan O’Reilly said the Reedy Creek Fire Department was being pushed to its limits for evacuation calls.

The Reedy Creek fire department got the call at 8:27pm and didn’t finish evacuating the 6 cars until around midnight. O’Reilly said even with the 27 fire department personnel on staff: it took up “all of the available manpower or most of the available manpower” at the Reedy Creek fire department and back-up assistance from the sheriff departments at Orange and Osceola counties.

He then added: “If anything else would have been going on [at Disney] at that moment, it could have been catastrophic.” Whatever Disney decides to do moving forward, it needs to address this issue and make sure the proper amount of staff is on-hand for similar incidents.

It also seems that at least part of the Disney Skyliner was up and running last night after the guests were rescued, though that has changed and the Disney Skyliner is remaining closed at least as of Monday October 7 (now reopened as of Oct 14). A trip to Hollywood Studios or Epcot confirms that the current status of the Skyliner is closed, though there are no signs indicating the change.

This closure is also indicated on the Walt Disney World Website:

Disney Skyliner temporarily closed on website

Disney hasn’t commented on exactly when they expect the Skyliner to be back up and running, but this should be treated as an indefinite closure until an investigation can study the incident better and understand why it happened and how to prevent other similar incidents from happening in the future.

Caribbean Beach Disney Skyliner

Thoughts After Reopening

So all in all it took just over a week to get the Skyliner back up and running after the incident. Obviously in this last week+ Disney has been running thorough tests on the Skyliner system to make sure they understand just what happened and why, and to make sure it’s safe again for the general public to ride.

Whatever technical changes need to be made will have to be trained to the cast members running the system too.

When the original incident happened, we were pretty bummed as the we loved our initial rides on the Disney Skyliner and think it’s an incredibly fun and potentially time-saving way to get around Walt Disney World.

Besides this latest incident, during its first week of operation there were some long delays due to technical difficulties and also for slow loading guests. The various stations have had to shut down even for hours at a time during the first week before coming back online. These though seem more like opening bugs that need to work out more than long-term problems.

The safety issue though that we ran into though of course is a bigger problem, and before guests to Disney World get back inside, they need to make sure 100% that everything is running how it should. Our best guess is that Disney and the Skyliner manufacturer Doppelmayr will be able to figure out the problem seeing as they have many other similar gondola systems running throughout the world. I would be surprised if this became a long-term issue.

Disney Skyliner over Caribbean Beach Resort

That weird part is that Disney has been testing the Skyliner for months and months and even having the experience of Doppelmayer behind them, we’ve still had all these issues pop up. This isn’t the best look for Disney right now as many were already criticizing the Skyliner before it opened, and many guests opting not to ride them due to fears of exactly something similar to what happened on Saturday night.

This latest incident won’t help resolve those fears, and Disney needs to make sure that everything is working properly and in order now that it’s reopening. If there is another incident like this in the near future or Disney can’t figure out how to fix the bugs properly in a relatively quick time frame, this will turn into a PR nightmare.

For right now if you were already very nervous before about riding the Disney Skyliner, I might wait a minute to see how things go after reopening. I don’t think it will be dangerous if they are opening it, but there may be long longer delays and if you are a person who is afraid of heights, the possibility of getting stuck for some minute is there.

inside the Disney Skyliner gondolas in air

If you’ve rode the Skyliner before and liked it or are excited to try it, then I say, go for it! Again Disney and Doppelmayr are pretty smart and I have to think they’ve eliminated the chance of anything dangerous.

Long-term we’re still high on the Skyliner, I think again it’s a super fun way to ride around property and I am confident they will fix the issues. All Disney World transportation has had its share of incidents at one time or another, and this is now one for the Skyliner. We will still keep riding when it opens back up, but will be keeping a close watch on further delays and any other incidents that occur so best inform you if it’s a good mode of transportation to take or not.

This is a developing situation so we’ll continue to monitor it and let you know on the latest.

The Disney Skyliner is a brand new transportation in Walt Disney World and uses a high wire system with cable cars to transport guests to and from Epcot, Hollywood Studios and some of the resorts on property. It just opened September 29, to mixed reviews from the Disney community, but positives ones here from us.

We really love the Skyliner and hope they can work out whatever bugs they have in this first week of operation. For more information check out our Full Guide to the Disney Skyliner where we explain everything you need to know before riding.

Need help planning your Disney Vacation? Contact René from Show You the World Travel for all your trip planning needs. All of the agents there are certified Disney Travel Agents and are super helpful with all your planning needs. I highly recommend them and the best part about it is they are FREE to use!

Your Thoughts:

I want to know what you think about the accident on the Disney Skyliner…

  • Does this incident make you nervous to ride?
  • What do you think of the Disney Skyliner so far?

Let us know in the comments section below!

If you enjoyed this article, as always I appreciate it if you’d share it with others via social media.  I work hard at making this website into a useful resource for you and your family to plan your visit to the Disney Parks and I hope it can help you! Thanks 🙂

John Hayes

Wednesday 23rd of November 2022

I was the last person loaded at the Epcot International Gateway gondola station that fateful evening in October 2019. The ride stopped just as I stepped into the gondola. After several minutes, CMs evacuated the station, then instructed us to exit the gondola and follow the other guests. We dodged a bullet that night. I was visiting Epcot with my wife and our 14 month old granddaughter and we were so very thankful that our gondola was still in the station with the door open.


Sunday 25th of April 2021

I got this figured out. They'll run this thing out to MCO and have it replace the Magical express ! Genius!

Have everyones luggage dangle outside of the cars by wire. Play videos nonstop in the moving cars promoting another stay or a financial stroke of genius, promote their timeshares........

Charge extra for air conditioning in the cars, and charge for service to get you down from the car if you get stuck. And send a media release blaiming the Govenor of Florida for the "stoppage".

Place a paper cup in the cars and one attached to a string that reaches the ground, to call for emergency help !

Pass out fastpasses to all the stuck customers and a 15% discount on their next stay, (if it's a five day stay with advanced ticket purchase so the fast passes are valid on their next trip.)

Concoct some, voodoo, razzmataz, simplistic, simpleton, excuse for the "Mechanical technical difficulty" as the findings of the cause are presented to their media buddies.

Tell future customers that "The Magical Express was discontinued because customers now have many more choices than ever ! To get to resorts and more choices for their transportation needs". (Not because it was free before we lost money during the shutdown which we are purposely passing on to our customers so they will pay for our losses) Nooooooooooo !

Promote a new look over here and don't pay attention to our liability disaster as we try to distract you from,so you don't contact your lawyer and sue us new promotion for stays on dates no one books anyway.

Bait and switch, look over here not there at the bad pu licity incident were trying to cover up.

Ah Disney......... never at fault ! Even when a guests child gets to be a gators-dinner !

Leeann Clapper

Friday 23rd of April 2021

I am going to Disney the middle of May, and I had to promise I would ride this time. Not happy that it had an accident again. I think I will take back my promise...

Leeann Clapper

Monday 14th of October 2019

When Disney announced the gondola "ride", I was very----under impressed because of all the things that I could think of that could cause a problem, and, darn, I ended up being correct. Everything was going well when I was at Disney October 1-5, but I also noticed the speed that those things came into the station, and came to an abrupt stop. I was at Epcot Oct 2 when it was blistering hot, and thought about the lack of communication. As a handicapped person I wondered how the firefighters planned to rescue me in a situation like this, such as having me put my feet on a ladder and climb to the ground. I couldn't do it, my legs would freeze up, and I'd be stuck , and both the gondola and the fire equipment would be out of use as I was "frozen" midway between the gondola and the ground. The rescue was the first time they had to try this, but I think they should have tried rescues to see what could go wrong, with elderly and children. Maybe they should give some thought to doing this.

Stephanie Strom

Monday 14th of October 2019

Is the Reedy Creek district convinced that they have personnel now to handle another incident? I won’t be riding until they are ready. Seems like this issue has not been addressed yet. If people choose to ride it without an adequate rescue plan in place, then they should not complain about the consequences. I believe each entrance should have obvious signage indicating that delays are possible. Also, has WDW equipped the incident boxes under the seat with one bottle of water for each passenger ? Expecting WDW to compensate a full system of riders beyond fast passes is not reasonable.