Contractors are in place and working on Disney World's new gondola system
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.
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.
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.
Cool. But DHS and EPCOT already have a connection via boats.
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.
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.
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).
From what I understand the Caribbean Beach connection is not in the first phase of this project.
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.
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
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.
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.
@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.
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
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)?
Maybe California should install a high speed gondola system instead of the proposed high speed rail lol.
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.
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!
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 will be shocked and surprised if this is free.
"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."
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.
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?
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 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.
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.
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.
@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.
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... :-)