Walt Disney World Resort’s Skyliner is beginning to look a lot like a gondola – actually a system of gondolas unlike anything ever built in North America. Before I get to construction pictures, two significant developments occurred within the past week. First, Disney Parks announced that water taxi service between certain destinations will be suspended for 21 days beginning November 28th, likely so haul ropes and communications lines can be pulled between the eight gondola stations and 50 or so towers. Second, the first Skyliner-specific job posting appeared last Thursday. More on that in a minute.
The station at Epcot International Gateway is getting close and scaffolding shown below may be for applying the graphics shown in this artist’s rendering. The rear end of the terminal is getting a steel structure over the turnaround area where guests will load and unload.
The non-boarding station to the southwest of Epcot now looks similarly complete. Some of the D-Line windows are transparent while some are opaque, breaking up visually this very long station. Unfortunately the three awesome red bullwheels are being covered with terminal skin as well. Notice the stub rails on both sides which will ensure no cabin is ever more than two stations away from somewhere it can be removed. The primary parking and maintenance bays will be at Caribbean Beach South, two stops away from this angle change. The Epcot line has a total of four stations.
An angle station that will see lots of loading action is the dark green Riviera/Caribbean Beach North stop. Only the acceleration/deceleration zones are clad in Doppelmayr enclosures while the elbow is getting a larger flat roof.
On the other end of Caribbean Beach, the massive market-themed transfer station is still a hive of activity. The first set of parking rails is going up along with one of the final tower foundations, tower 1 on the International Gateway line. I also see two large generators in place, probably for standby operations using the lifts’ regular drive systems.
This cool shot of Doppelmayr’s staging area appears to show hundreds of hangers, tons of grips and the last of the tower steel.
Hollywood Studios station was finished first and now has surrounding canopies to shade visitors from the Florida sun. The Skyliner is just part of a complete transportation overhaul at Hollywood Studios that will dramatically improve the guest experience.
The final station in the three line system is Hourglass Lake, serving Disney’s Pop Century and Art of Animation resorts. This one got a sky blue skin and is similar to a typical D-Line ski lift. The ends prove Doppelmayr is able to forego the boxy look and still put four windows in the ends like a UNI G.
Those five towers in the staging area are for Hourglass Lake, where workers on barges are finalizing in-water foundations. Presumably all towers will be standing by November 28th.
For the Skyliner Senior Transportation Engineer position, Disney is looking for someone to provide technical and administrative leadership for the gondola maintenance team, which will include 40-50 technicians. “The Senior Transportation Engineer also provides technical leadership, oversight and direction for the tactical performance of diagnostic troubleshooting, preventive and corrective maintenance, as well as the strategic planning for refurbishment, replacement and renewal of the Disney Skyliner, its systems and its components,” Disney notes. The company is seeking someone with at least ten years lift maintenance experience, five years management experience and an undergraduate engineering degree. There will surely be many more gondola-related positions listed soon as Walt Disney World hires the equivalent of the very largest ski resorts’ maintenance and operations staff in a matter of months.