Disney Skyliner is transporting guests around Walt Disney World Resort again this morning, eight days after a malfunction caused a few cabins to stack up in the Riviera angle station. The system has been operating since then but without passengers. Hours today are 8:00 am to 10:30 pm for all three gondola lines. New signage reminds riders that Skyliner flights may occasionally be interrupted with stops and delays. “Following a complete review with the manufacturer, we’ve made adjustments to our processes and training, and we are improving how we communicate with guests during their flight with Disney Skyliner,” a statement from Disney read. “We again offer our deepest apologies to the guests impacted by the malfunction that resulted in extended operating delays on October 5th.”
According to the Skyliner website, temporary closures will follow this week for “system updates.” On Wednesday, the Hollywood Studios line will be closed all day while the Epcot and Pop Century/Art of Animation lines will spin from 1:00 pm to 10:30 pm. Thursday and Friday, all lines will be closed in the morning and open at 1:00 pm.
A new temporary sign at stations indicates that the Disney Skyliner may stop or be delayed “similar to other gondola systems around the world”. pic.twitter.com/Xl4qwlsOjC
Skyliner launched on September 29th, linking Hollywood Studios to Epcot and four Walt Disney World resorts. Doppelmayr designed and built the lifts and maintains them through its Doppelmayr Cable Car subsidiary in partnership with Disney. “We greatly appreciate your ongoing patience and understanding, and we look forward to welcoming you back aboard Disney Skyliner,” the theme park operator told guests.
The first tweet about the situation at Walt Disney World Resort appeared at 8:43 pm eastern time, followed by pictures of stacked cabins in one of the outgoing sections of the Riviera Resort angle station. Riviera is the second of four stations on the longest Skyliner line, which links Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort to Epcot’s International Gateway.
The unfortunate incident happened just a week after the gondola system opened to the public. Crews practiced repeatedly in the months prior to launch for such a scenario. Each cabin is equipped with two way communications, emergency supplies and water.
As of 9:30, Reedy Creek Fire Department trucks and specialized lifts were being used to evacuate people from a few cabins. The Epcot line passes over a narrow body of water plus multiple roads and buildings, necessitating a variety of rescue equipment. The shorter Hollywood Studios and Pop Century/Art of Animation lines were unaffected but unloaded as a precaution.
Nearly 300 gondolas joined the transport fleet at the world’s most visited resort this morning, commencing an exciting new era for the U.S. ropeway scene. The milestone comes more than two years since construction began and almost 50 years from when a simpler VonRoll gondola system first opened at Walt Disney World Resort.
Crews fired up all three Skyliner lines pre-dawn, giving guests their first opportunities to skip bus rides and explore multiple parks in one day. Connecting Epcot and Hollywood Studios with four resort hotels, the system is sure to become among the most-ridden gondolas in the world.
This is the second D-Line detachable system from Doppelmayr to open in the Americas following Big Sky Resort’s Ramcharger 8 launch last December. Although the Austrian builder maintains a strong presence as maintenance contractor for the Skyliner, you won’t find the Doppelmayr name and logo prominently displayed here.
The cabins are highly customized CWA Omega IV models seating up to ten passengers. About half of them feature wraps with characters from Disney, Pixar and Marvel movie franchises.
Something terrible happened to the Sea to Sky Gondola overnight and police say it was likely an intentional act. General Manager Kirby Brown told the Squamish Chief that a worker heard a loud noise around 4:30 am and later found gondola cabins on the ground. “We’re just in the early moments of investigating how that could possibly happen,” he told the newspaper. “Certainly, early indications are that there was no environmental or maintenance mechanism that could have caused it. It points toward a conclusion that somebody interfered with the lift.”
No one was on the 7,000 foot long gondola at the time. The Doppelmayr eight passenger installation opened in May 2014 to carry sightseers and hikers above Howe Sound near Squamish, British Columbia. Not everyone was happy about the project when first proposed due to its proximity to the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park. The gondola proved popular, however, and just this spring more cabins were added to bring the total number to 31.
At approx 4:30am we received an alert that the haul rope for Sea to Sky Gondola had fallen and the lift inoperable. No guests or staff were on the gondola and no injuries were sustained in the incident. The gondola is currently closed. More updates as they become available.
At a 3:00 pm press conference, Kara Triance with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said a criminal investigation is underway. “At this time we believe the cables were cut and this was a deliberate act of vandalism,” she said. The 52 millimeter haul rope was completely severed and the majority of cabins crashed to the ground. Teams are attempting to survey the entire lift line for clues and are asking the public to stay away. Technical Safety BC and Doppelmayr are also assisting with the investigation. Anyone with information on this crime is asked to call the RCMP at 604-892-6100.
A lone skier was only slightly injured when the quad chair he was riding detached and fell some thirty feet near the top terminal of the Gunbarrel Express at Thredbo earlier today. In a statement, the resort says the incident was isolated to one chair and the result of high winds. According to the Canberra Times, the region recorded a maximum gust of nearly 70 miles per hour Monday.
Gunbarrel is a 1988 Doppelmayr detachable quad with DS grips. The lift traverses more than 5,500 feet of intermediate and advanced terrain with a capacity of 2,800 skiers per hour.
We are responding to an incident in Thredbo after a chair on a chairlift detached, causing a passenger to fall 10 metres into deep snow. #SWIncidentAlert
It’s official: the Disney Skyliner gondola network will open Sunday, September 29th. Three lines will connect the Trinidad hub with terminals at Epcot, Pop Century/Art of Animation and Hollywood Studios. The launch falls just one month after the highly anticipated grand opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios on August 29th.
Recent photos show finishing touches like landscaping and painting underway in advance of the opening.