June is an important time for the Disney Skyliner gondola project as we’re a year from when the system would need to open to transport guests during the park’s busiest months of 2019. A late spring opening seems like an attainable timeline as construction of many of the system’s towers is complete with terminal steel now spotted at four of eight station locations.
The Epcot park entrance known as International Gateway was one of the last stations to break ground but concrete is now in place for the four masts that will support the terminal.
Most of the approximately seven towers between International Gateway and the first angle station are now standing near Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and its various parking lots.
Similar to Epcot’s station, the BoardWalk turn station is beginning to rise above ground. Notably, the rear support masts here are shaped like traditional UNI G ones rather than the rectangular ones at other locations. I think this shorter station could utilize some type of minimalist enclosures like Park City’s Quicksilver Gondola mid-station rather than a full enclosure like Jackson Hole’s Sweetwater Gondola has.
This station appears to have only four masts whereas the next angle station has eight. This makes sense because cabins will not load or unload at BoardWalk but simply detach, turn, and reattach. No sign of double loading here either.
Since my last update, the first tower was installed between the two angle stations but there are still a bunch more yet to be put up along Buena Vista Drive.
Crews obviously have a carefully choreographed construction plan that involves building in something other than geographic order. The fourth station to be erected appears like it will be Riviera, which is the third station riders will encounter on the journey from Epcot. I am excited to see the Riviera take shape as it is one of only two we have not seen any renderings of. With some guests boarding and disembarking in each direction, Riviera station will probably be the longest D-Line terminal anywhere in the world. Will it utilize a standard enclosure like Hollywood Studios or something totally unique like at Caribbean Beach? Will it have some sort of double turnarounds like the end terminals?
Another major focus over the last month was tower erection within Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. A few very tall towers now stand here in a testament to the versatile landscapes gondolas can fly over. It looks like there are only three more towers to be put up between Riviera station and the system hub.
At Caribbean Beach, where the three gondolas will converge, there are now two stations with major steel work complete. This complex will not utilize standard D-Line enclosures but rather a custom building overhead. The terminal for the line to Hollywood Studios now has protective tarps over it with trusses being assembled overhead.
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, a return terminal is getting its green D-Line skin after a big few weeks of steel erection.
The windows are dyed green and opaque, which should give this station a sleek look. Interestingly, the green is a bit different than the white and red on the concept art Disney released last year. I am anxious to see what the ends of the terminal will look like as the rendering showed something different from the standard D-Line rectangle. We should know soon as major assembly wraps up at the Hollywood Studios station.
The Pop Century/Art of Animation line still needs about half of its towers, almost all of which are to be installed in Hourglass Lake.
At the lake, the station seems likely be one of the last ones assembled as crews have spent months building a pier that will support loading and unloading here.
Everyone interested in lifts should keep following this project as it features many unique touches never seen in ski resorts. Disney’s attention to detail is proving to be impressive and the system is going to be quite the showcase machine right here in the United States.