Those interested in reading only about ski lifts can skip this post. For everyone else, the Disney Skyliner is poised to become among the world’s highest profile ropeways a bit over a year from now and one worth following. I plan on scrambling to Walt Disney World as soon as the three Skyliner gondolas open, but for now, we can rely on Twitter user bioreconstruct, a relentless documentarian of everything Disney.
The Skyliner will bring Epcot within just a few minutes’ reach for guests staying at four Disney World Resort hotels. At the storied park’s International Gateway, what will likely be the second busiest gondola station is in the early phases of construction near the current boat dock. This one will be mostly open air with a few unique Disney touches on an otherwise dark gray Doppelmayr terminal.
A few tower foundations are going in for the stage from Epcot to the BoardWalk Inn parking lot, where an angle station is also beginning to form. Cabins will turn sharply here but doors will stay closed in both directions.
Significant work is taking place along Buena Vista Drive, where gondolas will pass near a gas station and fire station before crossing eight lanes and arriving at the brand new Riviera Resort.
The second angle station adjacent to the Riviera is further along; the spread footer is complete and rebar is up for the station’s eight(!) masts. You can also see what will be tower foundations on either side of this very long station.
A site presumably for a tower along the Riviera-Caribbean Beach line was recently fenced off and this will be the shortest stage of the five. I’m thinking this stretch will also utilize the tallest towers in the system as gondolas will pass over numerous villas.
Just south of the Caribbean Beach Resort is a monster of a hub where progress is most eye catching. Three gondolas will converge under one roof themed in a traditional street market style with many riders making a quick transfer here. Two cabin parking areas can be seen to the left in the below photo but will not be covered. Walls will apparently be built around them for hurricane purposes; the rest of the time, cabins will probably be left out on line (the Skyliner system is sure to operate long hours both day and night.)
From the hub, the Hollywood Studios line is a hive of activity. Five of the 12 towers are already up and more are under construction in a wooded area.
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, all four concrete masts for a station are complete and workers are assembling the modest structures that will surround the turnaround. Concrete for the last tower on this line is about to be poured.
Back to the CBR hub, the third gondola will depart and cross an open area before entering Hourglass Lake. Six towers have been up here for awhile now but only on land. I count piles for four more yet to be set over water.
No single line is particularly long by ski resort standards but when you look at the entire system from the air, the scale is significant. Even with a transfer, the longest trip should take no more than about 15 minutes.
A shared station for the Art of Animation and Pop Century resorts is in a similar stage of completion to those at Caribbean Beach and Hollywood Studios. This one is in the middle of a lake though! It’s clear as day the four masts are for a D-Line rather than Uni-G station, which will be surrounded by a striking curved roof line.
Finally, did you notice the trailers lined up five photos above? I think I can spot the first red bullwheel, lots of station steel and maybe some tire banks waiting for erection by crane. It would make sense that the hub station equipment will go in first as a vast roof structure will be built over top of the three gondolas terminals here.
No doubt there are thousands more lift parts like these descending on Florida from around the world and I’ll be posting monthly updates as this megaproject advances.