The first of Walt Disney World’s three Skyliner lines is looking a lot like a gondola these days with cabins moving along at a brisk clip during test runs. Line speed appears to be at least 5 m/s with cabin interval around 10 seconds, translating to a 3,600 per hour capacity. We’ll have to wait and see what the final spacing and speeds are but it’s clear these gondolas are going to move a ton of people.
One of the many cabins now flying between Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and Hollywood Studios was recently uncovered, providing some clues to how the system will look when completed. The landing below the cabin doors is wider and squarer than normal for easy loading and unloading. There are three windows that open out on the front of the cabin, one on the tower side and two at the rear. Additional vents at the bottom ensure there will be plenty of air flow. While gondola number 251 is a simple yellow with glazed windows, many other cabins will feature Disney character graphics.
The Epcot line, which stretches some 8,200 linear feet with two angle changes, is not far behind on its way to completion.
At the first angle station, landscaping is underway and stairs are being erected for worker access to the terminal.
Guests will be able to load and unload at a second angle station adjacent to the sprawling Riviera Resort. While the lift components are all in place, building construction continues around the center part of the station. The Riviera is scheduled to open December 19th.
A few tall towers after Riviera, the Epcot line arrives at the Trinidad hub. Here, a second cabin parking area is now complete and being filled with dozens of cabins for the Epcot line.
Tire banks move cabins automatically at different points along the outdoor rails.
Look closely at the D-Line grips and you can see two contacts for electric charging. Of course these aren’t for heated seats like at Big Sky, Park City and Sunshine Village. Rather, the rooftop battery is probably for features such as lights and speakers.
Hollywood Studios station looks sharp next to a new bus transportation center. Guests arriving via Skyliner will find themselves just steps from the park entrance and the new Star Wars land which opens in August.
As expected, some of the cabins split off into a rear loading area before merging back into line for departure. This innovative setup will be utilized at six of the seven Skyliner loading zones to keep people moving.
The short line from Trinidad to Pop Century and Art of Animation Resorts is also soon to see cabins. The return terminal looks really cool as if it is floating above Hourglass Lake.
Walt Disney World says the Skyliner network will launch sometime this fall. By then, months of testing will be complete and hundreds of gondolas ready to carry millions of passengers each year.