Disney World's 10-km-long gondola transit system now open (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

Sep 30 2019, 6:04 pm

Tens of millions of visitors at Walt Disney World Resort get around the company’s Orlando-area theme parks and hotels by using Disney Transport — the resort’s free public transit system of buses, ferries, and the monorail.

It takes a comprehensive transportation system to efficiently shuttle visitors and employees within a 100-sq-km resort area roughly the same size as the cities of Vancouver and San Francisco.

And as of Sunday, a fourth major mode of public transit was added: the Disney Skyliner — a fast, high-capacity, high-frequency, 10-km-long aerial gondola system. It is one of the world’s most extensive and longest gondola public transit networks.

Altogether, there are five terminal stations; the free-to-ride system connects the Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme parks with four hotel resorts — Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and the under-construction Disney’s Riviera Resort.

Disney Skyliner

Map of the Disney Skyliner gondola system at Walt Disney World. (Disney)

The system entails three gondola lines, converging at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, served by 300 fully-accessible gondola cabins, each holding up to 10 people seated.

The cabins all carry unique Disney themes, with one of eight colours and varying characters, including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto and Goofy, and Chip ‘n Dale.

The gondolas leave the stations at frequencies of up to every 10 seconds, providing a capacity of 3,000 passengers per hour per direction.

 

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While the cabins do not have air conditioning in Florida’s heat, they have large window vents that allow for a flowing breeze to pass through the interior of the cabin, which travels at speeds of up to 18 km/hr and at heights of up to 90 ft.

Each cabin interior is also equipped with two-way communications systems — a speaker voicing automatic announcements throughout the rides and a speakerphone for emergency-use only.

Disney Skyliner. (Disney)

Disney Skyliner. (Disney)

The longest point-to-point journey on the Skyliner is the 15-minute ride between Caribbean Beach Resort and Epcot. Passengers are provided with unique aerial views of Disney World, flying above treetops, landscape, and lakes, with the terminal for Art of Animation and Pop Century resort hotels situated in the middle of a lagoon.

The gondola supplements and replaces some of Disney Transport’s existing bus services connecting resort attractions and destinations. It is designed and built by Doppelmayr, which is one of the world’s largest designers and manufacturers of aerial gondola and tram systems.

 

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