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Contractors are in place and working on Disney World's new gondola system

April 18, 2017, 2:47 PM · The Walt Disney World will be getting a new ski-resort-style gondola transportation system that will link Disney's Hollywood Studios to nearby resort hotels.

Austrian manufacturer Doppelmayr is providing the 10-person gondolas, according to documents obtained by the Orlando Sentinel. PCL is the general contractor on the project, which will connect DHS to Epcot, the Caribbean Beach, and the Art of Animation resorts. There's no target date for the completion of the project that's been revealed yet. Nor has Disney officially confirmed or announced the project. (But it's past step 8 and heading to step 9 on our 10-step project development scale, with construction starting this month, so it is happening.)

While Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom had a gondola system connecting Fantasyland with Tomorrowland up until its closing in 1999, this system won't look anything like the old Skyway. If you'd like a clue to what the new system might look like, Disney World's gondola transportation system won't be the first one that Doppelmayr has installed that services a theme park resort. The Singapore Cable Car network that can be used to reach Resorts World Sentosa, the home of Universal Studios Singapore, also uses Doppelmayr gondolas.

These are closed gondolas that provide passengers with shelter from wind and rain. Singapore's tropical weather makes Orlando's look mild and comfortable, so weather-related downtimes shouldn't be as major an issue with this system as they often were with the Skyway. With a continually operating "chain" of gondolas carrying people along the system's three planned lines, capacity should be significant — measured in the low thousands per hour.

Replies (33)

April 18, 2017 at 2:55 PM · This is really exciting news. A new option for transportation. San Diego has been toying with installing a gondola system to link the downtown with Balboa Park including a couple of stops along the say for commuters. I hope WDW's commitment to this form of transportation helps San Diego to see the benefits to it as well.
April 18, 2017 at 3:43 PM · Go Disney!
April 18, 2017 at 4:31 PM · The Singapore Cable Car Sky Network connects to the resort island of Sentosa (not RWS), on which Universal Studio Singapore is located. The cable car connects Faber Peak Singapore and Sentosa, as well as between Merlion Plaza and Siloso Point, and does not connect to USS directly though.
April 18, 2017 at 5:30 PM · Cool. But DHS and EPCOT already have a connection via boats.
Why not do this project at Animal Kingdom, where they lack any road-based options, and a soon to explode guest count?

Perhaps this shorter distance is a testing ground? Make sure it works first? Or perhaps they can't justify any new transportation options out at DAK?

April 18, 2017 at 6:33 PM · The "three lines" bit is the part I find interesting. I'm already on record saying the maps everyone is making are all wrong. There will be NO line going over the hotel rooms in Caribbean Beach. Because these aren't going to go more than 15-20 feet off the ground AND because putting more than one line in a station drastically affects throughput, which they desperately need from these crowded resorts.

So what does the "third line" refer to? I'm also on record saying that the V-Shaped station south of the Boardwalk parking lot is NOT a turning station, but the end of two lines. People going from Epcot to Caribbean Beach will have to get out of one gondola to transfer to another. Why? Because no gondola system using 10-car gondolas has made a turn greater than 90 degrees, barring turnarounds at the end of the line.

I also said the big building south of Jamaica would do something similar. Yeah, it's a 90-degree turn, which is possible, but it also jacks up the cost because it requires more turning wheels than you'd expect. That said, there are WAY more people coming from those two Budget Resorts, so maybe Disney is willing to cough up the extra $$ to keep it from backing up as people transfer from one to another. The 90-degree turning stations in Colombia are huge, but they allow gondolas to be easily removed from the system or turned around in rush hour if they empty before reaching the end of the line. Of course, people won't be leaving Art of Animation and getting off at Caribbean Beach, but it would allow for easily removal of gondolas from the line during slow periods or to be worked on.

If the larger building in Caribbean Beach IS actually a turning station and NOT a transfer station, then there's our three lines. If not, what is that third line? The only other option I can think of would to build a line between DHS and the Boardwalk V-Station. There's no way there will be a line between Epcot and DHS. Connecting a line between the two buildings on the plans - totally ignoring the fact that the Epcot station isn't even pointed in the right direction - and a gondola line would have to cross the pool section of the Boardwalk Inn. Yeah, not going to happen. And that DHS-to-V won't happen either because having two lines merge into one halves the throughput from either line. (Besides, it's a V, not a T.)

They are reshaping the waterway next to the DHS station, which means they are moving the Boat Launch to be right next to the Gondolas, which means Caribbean Beach people wanting to go to DHS will have to Gondola to Epcot, then Boat (or walk) to DHS. Similarly, Budget Resorts people wanting to go to Epcot will Gondola to DHS and Boat to Epcot. Not ideal, but it'll get thousands of people off those busy roads in the southern part of WDW.

April 18, 2017 at 7:37 PM · I understand that, as far as Disney is concerned this transportation system is just a rumor, but any speculation if it will have a cost to use it? If it's free, I can see it being used as a free ride by park visitors who don't really need it.
April 18, 2017 at 7:41 PM · And maybe more affordable city mass transit than light rail. Perhaps an actual experimental prototype community of tomorrow Disney project for the rest of our cities (with smaller gondolas).
April 18, 2017 at 9:37 PM · From what I understand the Caribbean Beach connection is not in the first phase of this project.
April 18, 2017 at 10:27 PM · What, no monorails or people movers? I guess this gondola system is more cost effective, but less impressive. I don't think Walt planned gondolas for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.
April 18, 2017 at 10:47 PM · This system is also under consideration for Branson, MO to relieve traffic on Highway 76 through the length of the town. According to news outlets, it would include 400 to 600 gondolas carrying 8-12 passengers each at a cost of up to $200 million
April 18, 2017 at 10:53 PM · Of the various mass transit options, an aerial ropeway like this is by far the best choice for WDW. While the system probably isn't particularly necessary at the moment, with major work going on at Epcot and DHS in the coming years as well as resort expansions it is going to be critical to have a high capacity transit system in the near future. I'm guessing Disney is aiming to have this ready for summer 2018 if they are starting now, and if they work quickly I wouldn't be surprised if it is ready before then.

As for where the three lines are, my hunch is that one will start at Epcot and connect to Caribbean Beach via the turning station near the the Boardwalk Inn, one will run between Caribbean Beach and Art of Animation with a midstation, and the third will run from this midstation to Disney's Hollywood Studios. This would make a lot of sense, as I feel the system is more for getting guests from these resort to DHS and Epcot than for hopping between the parks.

April 19, 2017 at 12:39 AM · These systems are very safe, durable and are a great relief for the crowded roads. Can they operate during lightning, that is my only concern.
April 19, 2017 at 2:14 AM · @OT - if they cannot operate in lightning (which I would suspect is the case), downtime during the summer will be extensive. and draws the question of how this system will make sense.
April 19, 2017 at 7:36 AM · Never even thought about gondola's but it sounds like an awesome idea which will be a neat way to get around. It would also be a great idea for Universal Studios and I can't wait to hear all of the complaints that Universal is copying if they did chose to go this way. As if Disney invented gondola's...lol
April 19, 2017 at 7:40 AM · I simply don't see the appeal of this mode of transportation. Certainly it's cheaper than a Monorail, light rail, or most other inflexible systems tied to a permanent infrastructure corridor. However, will a gondola system really change anything, and would the investment here be better served in improving surface transportation at the resort (buses)?

I think a lot of jurisdictions are turning to gondolas because they're cheaper to build, operate, and maintain than rail systems previously pitched. Officials jump at the chance to give their residents a "solution" to their transit problems without having to break the bank on a rail system. Disney appears to be doing the same thing here recognizing that expanding the WDW Monorail system would be financially untenable. However, the real solution to moving guests around the resort is already in use, and with the same level of investment WDW is making in this static gondola system, they could make dramatic improvements to the bus system that brings it into the 21 Century. Exclusive lanes, corridors, elevated platforms, and higher capacity articulated buses are all upgrades WDW could make to improve the bus system. With just modest increases in investment, the WDW bus system could easily out-haul any gondola system and provide future flexibility for resort growth and expansion.

Gondolas are pretty and surprisingly cost effective, but at a resort that is still growing and evolving, WDW would be wise to spend their money on more flexible solutions to their transit woes.

April 19, 2017 at 9:41 AM · Maybe California should install a high speed gondola system instead of the proposed high speed rail lol.
April 19, 2017 at 10:05 AM · Russell- Exclusive lanes, corridors, elevated platforms, and higher capacity articulated buses are all very expensive upgrades that would exceed the costs of expanding the monorail system. Gondola systems or aerial ropeways cost far less than both.

Buses work well on routes when there are many stops. Ropeways do not.

Buses work better when you have to travel long distances. Ropeways do not. Gondola ropeway speeds top out at between 1,000 - 1,200 feet per minute or about 20 miles per hour.

Ropeways work well for moving a lot of passengers from one point to another with a few or no stops between points.

The bus system can out-haul a gondola? Not likely. A 10-passenger gondola can have a theoretical capacity of up to 4,500 passengers per hour, each direction. This is a ropeway running with a cabin interval of 8 seconds, which is a very common configuration. The largest articulated buses can uncomfortably, carry 200 passengers. To match capacity a bus that size would have to stop to pick up passengers 23 times in an hour at a single stop. Basically a bus arriving every two and half minutes.

Lastly, poster 56.0.143.26 isn't that familiar with ropeways with the claim that "No gondola system using 10-car gondolas has made a turn greater than 90 degrees". The equipment and cabins don't prevent a design from having a turn or angle station greater than 90-degrees. The reason why no one exists is simply that no one has ordered such a system since it would be a very unusual and in most cases be an inefficient configuration. The ends of single span ropeways make a 180-degree turn, so it would be possible to have an angle station do anywhere from 1 to 180 degrees.

A couple of other general comments.

10 passenger cabins are typically a standing-partially seated configuration. In terms of size they're actually very similar to the 8-passenger cabins.

There very likely won't be air conditioning, but I doubt that will be an issue. I'm not aware of any 10-passenger cabins on the market with air conditioning.

Gondolas are susceptible to winds and cannot operate under electrical storms.

April 19, 2017 at 11:13 AM · I've always liked gondolas whether it's at theme parks, zoos, or ski resorts/ mountains. It always adds something kinetic in each place, which is severely lacking in some places like Tomorrowland at Disneyland or Balboa Park in San Diego. They're relatively safe forms of transportation too except in severe weather... but then again, not much operates when there are thunderstorms anyway!

Sure this may not be a unique form of transportation, I welcome it to WDW. It saves space compared to ground transport, but I would hope they also improve the bus system in general.

April 19, 2017 at 2:44 PM · This is going to be so ugly! The monorail is so cool and futuristic looking by comparison. I guess they are going for "cheap" rather than for something that looks cool and fits in with the theme of the parks?

I'd much rather see a monorail expansion.

April 19, 2017 at 3:43 PM · I will be shocked and surprised if this is free.
April 19, 2017 at 5:18 PM · "So what does the "third line" refer to? ... Because no gondola system using 10-car gondolas has made a turn greater than 90 degrees, barring turnarounds at the end of the line."
Just because something hasn't been done doesn't mean it can't be done. Since bi-directional detachable gondolas generally switch to a separate rope during a turn [The Gondola Project], perhaps the 3 lines is referring to 3 rope loops.

Regarding lightning, the Doppelmayr web site says gondola systems can operate in thunderstorms and winds up to about 65mph

April 20, 2017 at 12:27 AM · Interesting. In a round trip, a person will move the gondola around while the passengers remain. Will there be automated switching? I do think Disney missed an opportunity to have dedicated trains with their own right of way to join the various resorts together. There is no direct transportation route. Every resort is dispersed haphazardly.
April 20, 2017 at 6:52 AM · I am surprised that they are so small. When I first heard of the proposal, I was envisioning 100-person Gondolas, like the ones in Roosevelt Island, NY. With 10 person per gondola, will they be able to handle the amount of people traveling to the parks from the hotels?
April 20, 2017 at 7:38 AM · I like the idea on paper, but that doesn't seem to be enough for the real life Florida. The weather seems to be a real wild card in this whole process. I would be concerned about the thing breaking down and people being stuck for some time.

I am curious on why those hotels? I might have a theory why....

Art of Animation and Caribbean Beach are the only two moderate (or deluxe) resorts that do not have any special transportation to anywhere else. Examples below:

Polynesian/Floridian/Contemporary: Monorail to MK
Wilderness Lodge/Fort Wilderness: Boat To MK
Boardwalk/Beach Club/Yacht Club/Swan/Dolphin: Boats to EPCOT AND DHS
Old Key West/Saratoga Springs/Port Orleans: Boat to Disney Springs

That only leaves off Art of Animation, Coronado, and Caribbean.

April 20, 2017 at 9:08 AM · I would agree with you Anthony, but Art of Animation is by Disney's own marketing, a Value Resort. Also, AKL has no non-bus transportation to anywhere, yet is a deluxe.

I think ultimately the resorts proposed here were selected based on their proximity to DHS and EPCOT, and existing bus routes between the proximal parks and resorts are extremely circuitous. Those are also the 3 closest resorts to those parks that are not connected to EPCOT's International Gateway. Honestly, the connection to Coronado Springs is the head scratcher, because that's the leg that would require construction across World Drive (WDW's main artery). The other 2 legs go across just Buena Vista Drive, a much less trafficked roadway by comparison. However, Disney's commitment to turn Coronado into it's prime on-site convention hub would necessitate increasing transit service between the resort and the parks.

April 20, 2017 at 11:50 AM · 100.8.145.36- The Roosevelt Island, New York ropeway is called an "Reverseable Aerial Tramway" or "Cable Car" . That sort of ropeway has lower transport capacity, longer wait times to accommodate passengers, and do not efficiently operate with intermediate stops or angle stations. On the positive they are more wind tolerant, can travel longer spans between support towers, and can travel at a speeds of up to the 2,400 feet per minute. Tramways work better when there is a big elevation change, though it's not necessary. Cars can hold up to 150 passengers each.

They're very inefficient, too low in capacity and not suited for this application.

Anton- Only the VonRoll Gondolas from the 60s and 70s have operators manually move the gondolas through the stations or angle stations, like the one that was at Magic Kingdom or the remaining one at Busch Gardens Tampa. Modern systems use an overhead tire bank to move the cabins through the stations and to accelerate and decelerate the cabins as they attach and detach from the haul rope.

joelkfla- they don't switch to a separate rope in the stations. Instead, the grip (cabin is attached to a hanger that has a grip on the top that attaches to the haul rope) has wheels and rides along a guide rail through the station propelled by overhead tire banks. Dopplemayr builds systems that can operate in electrical storms, but most operators chose not to operate during such storms. Storms like this regularly have erratic, gusty winds that slow or stop operation. Lightning strikes can also shut down a system and force a time consuming evacuation. It's not worth it. Most thunderstorms in Central Florida pass through quickly.

April 20, 2017 at 11:56 AM · Portland (OR) has what's called the MAX, which is an on-street train system, that runs through downtown, and goes to places like Beaverton (Nike) and the airport. The tracks are right in the middle of the road, shared with cars and buses.

I don't know how much it cost, but it is surely cheaper than a raised monorail.

I'd prefer a monorail expansion, of course. But, let's see how this works out. Maybe it's just a stop-gap measure to hook up those resorts to ...somewhere, as Anthony said.

I can also see this type of thing working at AK, keeping with an environmentally friendly message.

April 20, 2017 at 12:07 PM · Gabriel - Streetcars/light rail are prohibitively expensive and inflexible. Washington DC (near where I live) has been attempting to resurrect their streetcar grid, and after years of delays finally debuted the first line just over a year ago. The line has been an unmitigated disaster with trains getting stuck in traffic, tracks being blocked by parked cars (the H-street line goes back and forth between the center of the roadway and the curb), and a corridor that is still in developmental flux. It's so bad that the city dropped fares on the streetcar to $0, and the operations now have to be fully financed through other transit lines and taxes, not necessarily by the people riding it. Even cities that have preserved their streetcar networks (like San Francisco) are trying to push riders to instead use buses.

Americans need to get over the negative connotations associated with buses, and stop trying to cobble together various different modes of transportation together.

April 20, 2017 at 6:25 PM · Many points to discuss:

1) OF COURSE it will be free. If it costs people money, they'll just ride the buses, completely negating what these systems are supposed to be doing: Getting buses off the road in the most crowded area of WDW. That said, guests will still be paying for it... with higher room rates.

2) Wider roads and more of them DO NOT improve how fast people will get into the parks. Do the math: Art of Animation has 1984 rooms. Pop Century has 2880. That's 4864 rooms. At 3 people per room - a conservative estimate - at full occupancy there will be 14,592 people at these two resorts. That's 3648 people per park. Subtract people going to water parks, Downtown Disney, elsewhere, and we have about 3000 people per park, so 6000 people - give or take - for Epcot and DHS.

These 10-person gondola systems can move 3000+ people an hour. 112 people fit in a WDW bus. We know those buses aren't always full, so let's go with 100 people in each. To move 6000 people, you'd need SIXTY buses! Which take up the road space of 120 cars! And that's from TWO resorts! And they don't count the 70-100 buses from this resort taking people to the other locations in WDW. Of course, 6000 people won't be leaving for Epcot and DHS all at the same time. Many do like to wander into the parks a few hours after opening. And one park is likely to have early entry. If start times of the two parks are always staggered, getting everyone to these two parks every hour is not only far more realistic with a gondola system, but it makes it far more convenient for everyone else on the road, AND guests won't have to wait forever for a bus to arrive. These things are running constantly. Buses break down A LOT and roads are EXPENSIVE. If a bus system were actually cheaper than a gondola system, do you think Disney would be building them?

3) The poles that hold the cables have lightning rods on them. The only thing that will shut down the gondolas is extreme wind.

4) Sorry, 136.62.30.200, but you're dead wrong. I will repeat it: NO GONDOLA SYSTEM USING 10-CAR GONDOLAS HAS MADE A TURN GREATER THAN 90 DEGREES. Period. Yes, a gondola can turn around 180 degrees, provided the cable it is on stays on the outside of a turning wheel (turns and turnarounds are NOT synonyms in the gondola world). Which means a gondola coming from Epcot COULD make a 60-degree turn on the way to Caribbean Beach because it would be on the OUTSIDE of the turning wheel. A gondola COULD NOT make the return trip because it is now on the INSIDE of the turning wheel.

The method used to get a 90-degree turn involves SEVERAL turning wheels. Because these things need a very large turning radius to get from the inside of one wheel to the next. (Check out the size of the turning station on the 2-person gondola system at Busch Gardens Tampa. And if you've been on it, you'd know that the trip around the outside of the turn is handled without any help from a station attendant while the trip around the inside of the turn requires the attendant to manhandle the gondola from one cable to the other. That's a gradual turn going on inside that building for a gondola with a tiny grip, quite unlike the far-FAR-larger gondolas that will be used with this system.)

It is believed that turns of less than 90-degrees COULD be figured out, they are just too cost-and-space prohibitive so nobody has even bothered to try. THERE IS NO WORKING STATION FOR A 10-PERSON GONDOLA TO TURN LESS THAN 90 DEGREES IN EXISTENCE. They just started doing 90 degrees THIS DECADE. Do you think after balking at all the money it would cost for other transportation systems that Disney will throw unnecessary money at this system? They are not in this to innovate. They are in this to cheaply move people from one place to another. Disney has exactly ZERO problems with having people exit one closed-loop cable system and enter another.

5) The Roosevelt Island system would not work here because it cannot make any type of turn and they take forever to load. For the Caribbean Beach-to-Epcot line, they would have to load 100 people, send them to the V-Station at Boardwalk, everyone would have to exit and load into the car that would then take them to Epcot. Throughput would plummet.

6) San Francisco is doing no such thing. It has BART, MUNI, streetcars and buses, all of which have high ridership. It's a "cobbled-together" system that works very well for the city, far better than most. The city just EXPANDED the streetcar line in 2015!

The only issue SF has is the popularity of the cable cars with tourists. They used to be an actual mode of transportation for the people living there, as getting from one side of that hill to the other has never been fun, but now they're such cash cows that the city wants the people who live there to use alternate transportation. Those of us who have taken buses in other parts of SF HAAATE riding buses in the Tenderloin. The traffic here is annoying, and the buses only contribute to it. Sound familiar?

April 20, 2017 at 6:51 PM · "From what I understand the Caribbean Beach connection is not in the first phase of this project."

Robert, please elaborate because this contradicts your story a bit. Do you mean they are working only on the Animation/Pop Century line right now? If so, that could mean this could be up and running this summer. Which would make sense as that's the biggest grouping of hotel guests in WDW and this line is completely unaffected by the construction in Caribbean Beach. Why not work out the kinks on this line before the CB line becomes necessary?

April 21, 2017 at 10:08 AM · @Francis Robidoux The cable system (ground based but still the same kind of system) is already used for the Hogwarts Express at Universal Studios. It are very cost effective, clean, reliant and safe systems.
April 21, 2017 at 1:45 PM · Hello, the discussion (rumour contests.. lol ) is open on all fan sites. As far as I can see, only Orlando Sentinell received "some documents" they talk about, but just as well refuse to show to the readers public in real format... :-)

Anyway, the topic on another fansite, (LINK > )
http://wdwnt.com/blog/2017/04/depth-speculation-disney-world-gondola-project-will-take-shape/
was handling comments badly ! Whatever wild rumours and counter rumours get allowed to be posted there, but when there is a researched extra information popping up, immediately they take THAT comment off line !
It happened with my comment, and with the comment of another well informed reader. I posted mine twice, it was twice removed with lightning speed... what is so terrible about more in depth background information ?? .. :-)


Mine is reposted now hereunder :
(Take in mind, it's a direct answer on the OTHER article, from the link above here)


..//..
Very nice & sound researched specultions.
There are however, other in depth sources out there, ready to be considered even more than speculations.

To start with : an existing feasibility study for ACT systems in Miami. (Februari 2016)
> Same climate, same state legislation, same economic parameters.
(Parameters from distant places could be way wrong, especially at evaluating climate, building and operational cost level)
Link :
http://miamidadempo.org/library/studies/aerial-cable-transit-feasbility-study-final-report-2016-02.pdf
This is an extensive report, so anyone who is interested, just read.
I like to pick some short evalution phrases from the report, just to point to a few important main criteria.

On general feasibility :
Citation :
“By and large, the study found that the mode is not a panacea for all east-west travel markets in the County [>this is about Miami, of course] , but it did find some niches were it could contribute to relieving pent up transport demand and also for potentially encouraging economic development. The niche markets for ACT in Miami are relatively short corridors less than 1.5 miles where a point-to-point service would attract several thousand passengers per day for a 6 to 10 minute trip generally linking a higher capacity faster transit mode with a remote attraction such as a stadium, hospital, university, or remote high-density residential enclave. ”
This is saying, in general : an ACT system has qualities as the option for “difficult” accessible remote destinations with a high demand mode, but over short distances only.

Airconditioning is an operational problem :
Citation :
“ACT cabins generally have no onboard source of high voltage electrical power, only rechargeable batteries.
Low voltage lighting, intercom, Wi-Fi and closed circuit video cameras are powered with these batteries but climate control systems for cooling or heating are limited at best. Cooling concerns limit the attractiveness of ACT for long trips in South Florida. For this reason the study team favors services of less than 6,000 feet and six minute travel times for initial trial applications in Miami.” (= FLORIDA !!)
(This is on account whatever the manufacturers may say)

Operation: (Different sources)
The building cost and energy cost is not excusive for the operational cost. Maintenance cost still is very high. On-spot operational cost is not so low as suggested.
Lets compare Koblenz.
The 3800 p/h capacity is the strictly the theoretical… THRC. The real capacity is considerably lower althought it could be considered peak-hour capacity. The 2 stations connect over a distance of not more then 890 meters (0.55 mile). 2 times 6 staff have permanence with moderate-high use (peak hour could use more). There are 18 cars x 35 passengers, so it could compare with 10 long busses at 90 passengers, taken into account they do a bit longer over a round trip (waiting times) That’s actually 10 staff…
DISTANCE is determinant, here ! Without comparing the same operational distances with building and operational costs, it’ going to be comparing apples & pears.
Koblenz however poses a typical favorable situation of “site not directly accessible” with other means of transport. The inaccessibility (river + cliffs), makes it’s success. A flat 890 meters undisturbed distance, otherwise is absurd to be covered with a ACT.
Price : Koblenz is a subsidised service. Actually €7.20 single, €9.90 return ticket. Real operational cost could be more then double… (Ski resort tickets, 100% private in that case, easily climb up to €35 return rate … for a 2-3 mile disance)
Compare now, how to cover real cost in a private company. Make profit ? = Turning it into an attraction with separate ticket, NOT proposing it as mere transportation.

Other comparitive detail , Bus cost.
“….. The current Gillig busses used by Disney cost between $500,000-$700,000 each, and have a lifespan of around 12 years……”
Bizarre high cost. And, IMHO bizarre short lifespan as well.
Belgian manufacturer of long-busses (VanHool, a leader in this type of busses) produces them at the actual cost of about € 325000, for basic equiped versions (as the WDW busses are).
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-p6dBqpxgrpU/Uq3Bxk1J4yI/AAAAAAAAH_o/w3nKUFmrs7c/s1600/IMG_7666.JPG
This is the type with the 100% comparable capacity as those Gillig in WDW.
They operate literally everywhere around here, and even in full electric version !
AND even longer versions, in 3 parts, offering xceptional capacities per driver !!!
http://www.bruzz.be/sites/default/files/rambla/thumbnails/nieuws/10_oktober_2015/20151019BV02TRAMBUS_LIJN71_nieuw-28.jpg
How was Gillig able to receive such an overpriced order from Disney ? :-)
(And, useless to tell that Disney does not know VanHool, as the latest fleet of Magical Express IS from that manufacturer… :-) )
http://www.disneytouristblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/disneys-magical-express.jpg

There are lots of un-known elements in the whole WDW ACT-story, but the most believable option, is providing a specific new attraction, not a peak-hour calculated means of transport, because the most typical characteristic of an ACT system, is that it needs to run all day on the same operational speed/power/and safety-wise, also minimum constant-permanent staff level. THAT is completely different with busses…
The Koblenz example is not comparable, as the fortress visit high above Koblenz is a touristical all-day feature, with an average dwell time between just 1.5-3 hours. There is a daylong go-and-return. Not really a peak hour.

..//..

April 24, 2017 at 10:03 AM · I think this is a great idea but it should be tried out at Animal Kingdom. The transportation at Animal Kingdom is Pretty bad and the only reason we never would book there.

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