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On the evening of October 5, around 9 pm EST, the brand new Skyliner transportation system at Walt Disney World experienced its first mishap. The Skyliner was not in operation on Sunday as Disney worked to address the issue.
The issue happened on the Epcot line of the Disney Skyliner system at the Disney Riviera Station. According to a statement from Disney, the situation resulted in “unexpected down time.” Disney did not offer many details on the incident, the facts surrounding the incident, the cause or how long the system would be down.
Here is what we know.
Nobody was injured. Disney dealt with each guests experience on an individual basis but most guests did receive a $100 Disney Gift Card as well as a two-day park hopper pass.
It was after dark so the heat was not a serious issue and there was, according to reports a breeze so the cabins were well ventilated.
As was reported from a number of sources, Disney has several evacuation procedures in place and they had been practicing those procedures for several months prior to the transportation system opening.
Contrary to many reports, not every guest was evacuated from the Gondola’s. Disney workers were able to get the damaged cars removed from the line and those cars were put onto a service line so the line was able to eventually operate again to evacuate the remaining guests.
Is this the end of the Disney Skyliner? We would bet the house that it is absolutely not.
So, what actually happened? As of now, we are not completely sure. We have see several photos floating around that show that five of the cars smashed together and there was glass on the ground near the “crash”. The glass resulted from the vents that were opened up at the time of the incident.
The gondola’s themselves are equipped with bumpers and when they are actually stored, as several other reports have mentioned, they are actually stored bumped up together so it is the most likely scenatio that the glass was indeed caused by the vents as those are also glass and that would have been been opened and not likely to withstand a collision with another gondola car.
Let’s talk haters for a second. As Mickey Views reported, several “armchair imagineers” (we’re still giggling over that accurate and hilarious description of these self-proclaimed experts), stated that this system was doomed from the start and a mistake by Disney from the get go.
Let’s be clear. There are hundreds, if not thousands of gondola systems in the world that operate perfectly fine and transport guests from point A to point B in a variety of capacities. Disney is diligent about guest safety and state-of-the-art systems. Incidents are bound to occur, it was only a matter of time before an incident of some sort occured.
From all accounts, Disney handled the situation as swiftly and procedural as possible and no one was injured. Were there people stuck in a dark gondola for a couple of hours? Yes and that is incredibly unfortunate and I’m sure frustrating for them but everyone was safe, was able to access their emergency kits and Disney did their best to rectify the situation for everyone involved.
We also saw several comments from those armchair imagineers regarding how Disney should have just fixed the Monorails. We could, and maybe we will, make an entire post on this but this unique and new mode of transportion, addresses transportation to and from parks and also resorts that are not serviced by the Monorail. Yes, Epcot is but is not convenient for those guests coming from the resorts that are on the Gondola system.
In addition, not to put salt in any wounds here for Disney but lest we not forget, the Monorail system has also had its share of incidents that involved guests including a fatal accident involving two Monorail’s back in 2009.
Dopplemayr, worked with Disney on this project to provide the first D-Line gondola system built by this company in North America, and their second D-Line project in the United States after the Ramcharger 8 at Big Sky Resort in Montana. The system at Walt Disney World is also the only system in North America with double loading. The only other double loading aerial lift system in the United States os lovated at Breckenridge in Colorado.
At the time of publishing, Dopplemayr has produced over 15,000 installations in 96 countries. This is not their first rodeo.
Disney will take the information they gather from this incident and will work with Dopplemayr to improve upon the areas that need improvement and will work out the kinks of this new system to get it back up and running as soon as possible with proper safety protocols.
Let’s not make this issue bigger than it is. Yes, it was an unfortunate situation but we trust that Disney will bring the system back stronger and we will be zooming safely through the air again on Walt Disney property soon.
Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.