(UPDATE 12/5/18): Contrary to what was originally thought about the Disney Skyliner Gondolas, this newest transportation to the Walt Disney World Resort will NOT have air conditioning as has been confirmed by Disney and seen up close when the Disney Skyliner Gondola cars themselves were revealed at the D23 Destination D event in November.
(ORIGINAL STORY): The Disney Skyliner has been exciting to follow ever since the announcement at D23 Expo 2017. Many questions remain though and Disney has not been forthcoming with information about its newest transportation system. Now some new details about the Disney Skyliner are coming out including the fact that it WILL have air conditioning, the size and future expansion plans over Walt Disney World.
Here are some of the new details about the Disney Skyliner from Jim Hill:
One of the biggest questions on everyone’s mind has been whether or not the Disney Skyliner will have air conditioning. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that it’s hot in Florida and sending up hundreds of passengers to cook under the baking sun in a metal can might not be the most pleasant experience. Luckily the Disney Skyliner WILL have air conditioning after all. This makes sense I couldn’t believe from the beginning that Disney was so stupid to think that air conditioning wouldn’t be necessary, so it’s nice to hear this confirmed.
Another big topic has been how big will the Skyliner cars be? Most reports earlier have said 8 people. Well now we know that it’s half correct. The Disney Skyliner will have 8 seats, but those seats are foldable, and if everyone is standing it will fit 16 people. That’s much bigger than we thought, and again makes much more sense considering the high traffic level these will have. Now how often will the cabins have everyone standing in them? That’s another question and I don’t know how they will control that. Will Disney leave it up to passengers? Will they make people stand up when there are a ton of people waiting in line in order to get people going quicker? It’s gonna be hard to control especially due to the high number of people who might need to sit for one reason or another. We’ll keep an eye on this to see how Disney handles it.
The Disney Skyliner cars are going to move pretty fast. They will have a cruising speed of 16mph and will slow down to 1mph, coming off the wire when arriving at the station and people are exiting and loading. From that we learn 2 things. It’s going to be a very fast and effective way of getting around property. A search on google maps will tell you it’s about 1.75 miles using the projected Disney Skyliner path from Epcot to Pop Century/Art of Animation. That means it should be around 8 minutes or so going 16mph at that distance. You may add a min or two for loading time, but still 10 min from Epcot to Pop Century is pretty fast.
Second, the cars are going to keep moving while at the station during the loading/unloading process which means Disney is putting a priority on efficiency and speed. Guests will get off from one side of the car, while new guests getting on will enter from the opposite side. Also the level of the cars is going to be the same as the platform which means it will be really easy for anyone in a wheelchair or whoever has a stroller to get on/off. This is really good to hear and should minimize wait times.
Disney Skyliner Future Expansion:
Right now during this phase of the Disney Skyliner construction project there are going to be 5 stations: Epcot, Disney Riviera Resort, Caribbean Beach, Hollywood Studios and Pop Century/Art of Animation. The key word though is “this phase” because if everything goes smooth with the Skyliner, Disney has plans to expand it out to other parts of Walt Disney World Resort in phases.
Below I have a map of the current Disney Skyliner Route and the potential expansion routes for the future. Red is the current Skyliner plans. Green is future:
Right now the Skyliner runs through the center of the Walt Disney World Resort. However one expansion would bring the Disney Skyliner west out to Disney’s Animal Kingdom with potential stops at Blizzard Beach, Coronado Springs Resort, Animal Kingdom Park and Animal Kingdom Resort (with a stop even going to Kidani Village!)
The second expansion would be east of the current infrastructure and bring you to Typhoon Lagoon and up to Disney Springs. Supposedly the stop at Disney Springs would be on the far side close to Rainforest Cafe. That would allow guests staying at Saratoga Springs Resort and Hotel Plaza to use the Skyliner. For both of these expansions we’re probably looking at about 5 years down the line if everything goes well with the first phase.
This is a lot of information and makes it clear that Disney doesn’t view the Disney Skyliner as some little toy model, but as a realistic, viable solution to their transportation needs for the long-term. Disney hired a transportation expert who was in charge of the system in San Francisco some years back, and the Disney Skyliner they decided is a big piece of the puzzle for the future of the resort. The Skyliner is going to provide quick transportation from some of Disney’s biggest hotels to and from the parks, and it will also keep traffic from overcrowding the Walt Disney World highway system which is taxed right now.
Also much like San Francisco has, it gives Walt Disney World an iconic transportation system moving into the future. You know, that thing that people have to try while here on vacation and gets them talking to others about it back home. Years ago it was the Monorail system, but now people talk about that only for negative reasons. We still don’t know when new monorails are coming to Walt Disney World and they are a complete mess right now. Supposedly there’s also a plan eventually to bring the Disney Skyliner to the Magic Kingdom, but that’s very far off and may or may not happen depending on a lot of other factors.
The only question left is what Disney is going to do about lightning, considering this is the lighting capital of the country. They’re going to have to really be on point with watching the weather systems coming to to avoid potentially dangerous situations. And in the case the Skyliner isn’t running, will they have buses on call to pick up all the remaining guests?
Disney must be very sure that the Skyliner is going to be a success because they are investing hundreds of millions of dollars into it. They have to have already figured out all the solutions to any potential problems. Ultimately I think anyone just looking at the Disney Skyliner as this small, little toy transportation system is missing the point. It’s an attraction in of itself. It’s going to make a huge impact on the way guests move around the Walt Disney World Resort for the next decades and in light of these new details, that choice is seeming better and better.
I want to know what you think about the new Disney Skyliner details about the air conditioning and future expansion around property…
- Are you looking forward to the Skyliner?
- What other locations around Walt Disney World do you want it to go?
Let us know in the comments section below!
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News Source: Disney Dish
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