WDWNT has what they call a “wacky rumor”, but honestly it’s not that implausible. The new rumor says that Walt Disney World is looking to build a new Skyway Gondola system. In fact there are permits filed for it. The new plans call for a new transportation system using high tension cables and gondolas to transport guests from the resorts to the parks. It could also be used to transport guests from park to park.
Immediately thoughts of the old Skyway System, which used open air cars, come to mind. These old ride vehicles would hold a maximum of four people, and would move slowly across the park from Fantasyland to Tomorrowland. They would be shut down in a variety of weather conditions and were next to impossible to evacuate.
The new systems, however, are used all over the world and have climate controlled cabins. The cabins are enclosed, and are pretty much immune to the elements. The installations are generally only stopped due to winds over 35 mph or lightning. They can also transport up to 2,500 people per hour.
Disney has been seeking out alternative modes of transportation, as the cost of constructing and even upgrading their current fleet of monorails has been deemed way too high. Disney is also not showing any signs of slowing down, as they are about to open a new world based on the Avatar film series. They will also open a new land based on Star Wars in 2019. Currently the new Gondola systems are targeted for transporting guests between Epcot and Hollywood Studios, as well as a few hotels. It’s unclear if Disney is looking at replacing the current bus and monorail systems, or just looking to give another option.
The only downside to the Gondola systems, as we mentioned above, would be closures due to lightning. Summer in Florida can produce daily thunderstorms, which would cause quite a problem with transporting hundreds of thousands of guests per day. Other than that, the system would be cheap (relatively) to build and maintain, and holds a stellar safety record. The gondolas would also not require pilots, or operators, as they are 100% automated,so again the cost would definitely factor into it.
None of this has been announced by Disney, or confirmed. However, the growing issue of transportation between parks is something that the resort really needs to address sooner rather than later. Also, it’s worth noting that the Gondola system is something that other parks are also looking at. Universal is rumored at either doing a high speed rail system, or a skyway type system as well. Again, there’s that pesky lightning problem in Florida, but maybe technology has come a long way. After all, they put this things on the sides of freaking mountains!
What do you think? What kind of system would you want to see at Walt Disney World?