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  1. #1
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    Exclamation First Look Inside Disney Skyliner

    The Walt Disney World resort gave a first look inside the Disney Skyliner Gondolas today to local Florida media:

    Quote Originally Posted by Gabrielle Russon |Orlando Sentinel

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    ... Soon the Disney Skyliner system of 300 gondolas, opening to the public later this fall, will carry enough Disney-goers to roughly match the capacity of its monorail trains, company officials said.

    “Our vision is, this is the most magical flight on Earth,” said Dean Huspen, a principal architect with Walt Disney Imagineering.

    Disney leaders gave a construction update Tuesday on the gondolas, which are in testing. All but one was covered in plastic, protecting them like a new car. They will gradually be unveiled starting around May to show off the eight bright colors and 22 Disney characters themes.

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    By August, Disney employees could be among the first passengers during the testing process that will run for months around-the-clock.

    Running on more than six miles of cable, the gondolas will travel about 11 mph, giving passengers a bird’s eye view of Walt Disney World Resort’s lakes, roads, woods and into Epcot and Hollywood Studios. The typical ride will last between five to 15 minutes as gondolas fly from 15 feet up to about 60 feet in the air.

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    “They are fabulous views,” said Thomas Mazloum, a Disney senior vice president who oversees transportation and resorts, who said the ride will feel much faster than 11 mph.

    Inside a gondola, twin wooden benches can carry up to 10 people.

    ...

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    “We have specifically designed them with the Florida climate in mind,” Mazloum said, pointing to reflective windows that block out the sunlight and the mesh screens on both sides to bring in a breeze. {INTERCOT Note:Apparent Vents Highlighted in Yellow}

    At the stations, gondolas will pull in, constantly moving, for guests to climb on. Disney will have the capacity to pause the gondolas for people in wheelchairs and those who need extra time to board.
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  4. #2
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    Very cute, but still doubting the "natural ventilation" aspect. In theory it sounds adequate, but in the middle of a humid Florida summer afternoon, I think it will be more than a mite uncomfortable!
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  6. #3
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    I still want to know how they're going to handle a "stall" or evacuation. 60 feet in the air with no ventilation, in a swaying gondola? I'm gonna flip out inside of two minutes! How are they going to get people out of there if needed? Any communication capabilities between operators & gondolas? Or are you just left hanging there with no info on why? While I like the idea, there are still too many "What If's" for me to be comfortable with it. I'll stick with the busses for now. At least if they break down I can get out & walk.
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  8. #4
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    Nothing says comfort like Cross Ventilation and Wooden Bench Seats

    I'm with Brad - the thought of being stuck in the air - in 90 degree heat for 5-10 minutes doesn't sound appealing.

    That said - I'll ride and give it a chance.
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  10. #5
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    Will someone be helping people board the gondolas to ensure they are not over crowded or over weighted?
    I think they are neat but I don't think I will be comfortable riding during the hot months, and I wonder what happens during a stall or breakdown. I will flip out being stuck for a long period of time with no information or parachute
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    I have been thinking the same thing and now I see the wooden benches. I will give it a shot too. I would assume they did a lot of design and testing work on the cross ventilation. Maybe the way it is designed provides a pretty good breeze through the cabin but like others have mentioned, what if it stops? I can't imagine sitting in that thing for more than a minute in the summer if it isn't moving to keep air coming through.

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    Not meaning to be a contrarian here, but how are these all that much different than the monorail when it goes down?

    True, there are A/C units on the monorail cars, but with a power outage, how do they function? When the monorail cars are not in a station, how are people evacuated?

    I understand everyone's concerns, but almost all the concerns with the SkyLiner could also be said for the monorails.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PopPhan View Post
    I understand everyone's concerns, but almost all the concerns with the SkyLiner could also be said for the monorails.
    The monorail system has the tow unit that can come pull the monorail back to a station.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Altair View Post
    The monorail system has the tow unit that can come pull the monorail back to a station.
    And you don't believe they will (or do) have something like that for the SkyLiner gondolas? Gotta believe they are smarter than that....
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  17. #10
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    I for one am looking forward to it. As was mentioned before, you've got to figure that they've tested it for comfort and safety in Florida extremes. Heck, if it works well then maybe it's a gateway for future expansion to perhaps AKL and other WDW resorts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PopPhan View Post
    Not meaning to be a contrarian here, but how are these all that much different than the monorail when it goes down?

    True, there are A/C units on the monorail cars, but with a power outage, how do they function? When the monorail cars are not in a station, how are people evacuated?

    I understand everyone's concerns, but almost all the concerns with the SkyLiner could also be said for the monorails.
    The monorail has concrete below it. I don't want to be stuck dangling in the air for an unknown amount of time with or without air flow. I will try it once to say I did it. That is what I make myself do with things that make me uncomfortable. After that, I'll pass.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cinderelley View Post
    The monorail has concrete below it. I don't want to be stuck dangling in the air for an unknown amount of time with or without air flow. I will try it once to say I did it. That is what I make myself do with things that make me uncomfortable. After that, I'll pass.
    Maybe it is just the engineer in me but I am scratching my head on this comment. Whether you are in a train sitting on a narrow strip of concrete or in a gondola hanging from a large high strength steel cable, what is really the difference? If you opened the doors on either, you are looking at nothing but a 30 to 60 foot drop in most places. You can't step out of either and walk or climb down.

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  21. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by brad192 View Post
    I still want to know how they're going to handle a "stall" or evacuation. 60 feet in the air with no ventilation, in a swaying gondola? I'm gonna flip out inside of two minutes! How are they going to get people out of there if needed? Any communication capabilities between operators & gondolas? Or are you just left hanging there with no info on why? While I like the idea, there are still too many "What If's" for me to be comfortable with it. I'll stick with the busses for now. At least if they break down I can get out & walk.
    I had a long career in the snowsports industry at the on-hill management level. I'm heavily trained in lift evac. and have done it from both ends of the deal in both training and 'for real'. I know how detach lifts work...and how evac works.

    There are certain faults that prevent running the haul rope (high-speed cable that the cabins clamp onto). when that situation happens (and it is when not if).... it is a manual, cabin by cabin evacuation routine. That is slow going work that you can't rush for safety reasons. Multiple teams, going cabin to cabin, lowering people out who strap themselves into a web harness in the cabin, and than have to go "out the door" to be lowered to the ground (and over water... to the boat) on a rope. One of the things that slows it all down is the art of coaxing people who do not want to do it that they HAVE to do it.

    For most people... it is a scary "trust" adventure. (Like the old .... just fall over straight backward and these people you don't know will catch you.)

    One thing that is a driving issue in the case of lift evac is the weather. In the mountains, we are always dealing with the issue of hypothermia and frostbite potentially being a real concern on a particularly cold day. In Florida in the summer... it will be the opposite factor driving the concerns.

    Personally, not a big fan of this method of transport except maybe in January.

    best,

    ..............john

    PS: I'm guessing here for SURE ... but I'd bet that an evac there is going to take at least 2 hours to get that last people out of the last cabin. And that is if all goes pretty smoothly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PopPhan View Post
    And you don't believe they will (or do) have something like that for the SkyLiner gondolas? Gotta believe they are smarter than that....
    Can't be done for certain faults when you can't run the haul rope.

    If the fault is not that type, they can run the cable at slow speed and eventually offload all the cabins.

    Faults where they CAN run the haul rope are the more common issues on detach lifts. Luckily.

    best,

    ............john

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1DisneyNut View Post
    Maybe it is just the engineer in me but I am scratching my head on this comment. Whether you are in a train sitting on a narrow strip of concrete or in a gondola hanging from a large high strength steel cable, what is really the difference? If you opened the doors on either, you are looking at nothing but a 30 to 60 foot drop in most places. You can't step out of either and walk or climb down.
    If the cable for the gondola breaks, I'm just going to free fall with not much around me to break my fall. Yes, I'm afraid of heights.
    “Verged on the threshold of infinity, we see our world as it truly is: small, silent, fragile, alive, a drifting island in the midnight sky. It is our spaceship, our Spaceship Earth.” – Spaceship Earth (pre 1986)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cinderelley View Post
    If the cable for the gondola breaks, I'm just going to free fall with not much around me to break my fall. Yes, I'm afraid of heights.
    The odds of THAT kind of failure are almost non-existent. So if that is a concern..... not an issue.

    best,

    ..............john

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    I was in a gondola in the spring in Colorado once. There were really high winds. They probably shouldn’t have been operating. Our gondola was blowing back and forth to an almost ninety degree angle and once you’re on there’s nothing to really do except continue forward. That’s what I picture when I think of these things. I don’t know if I’d be using them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cinderelley View Post
    If the cable for the gondola breaks, I'm just going to free fall with not much around me to break my fall. Yes, I'm afraid of heights.
    And when the nearly 50 year old concrete cracks and breaks you won’t have much to break your fall either. Point is neither scenario is very likely.
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    I’m probably in the minority here, but how is the “natural” ventilation different than any of the outdoor attraction at Parks. And for that matter how are wooden benches worse than the hard plastic seats on the buses?

    Actually come to think of it most of current attractions at DHS have outdoor queues and it has three outdoor shows (with hard metal benches). You folks are complaining about a 5 to 15 minute ride in the gondola, how many times have you waited longer than that for Fantasmic, Beauty and the Beast or Indiana Jones stunt spectacular. Or up till a few years ago Lights, Motor, Action. All are/were outside with hard metal benches.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy1998 View Post
    I’m probably in the minority here, but how is the “natural” ventilation different than any of the outdoor attraction at Parks. And for that matter how are wooden benches worse than the hard plastic seats on the buses?

    Actually come to think of it most of current attractions at DHS have outdoor queues and it has three outdoor shows (with hard metal benches). You folks are complaining about a 5 to 15 minute ride in the gondola, how many times have you waited longer than that for Fantasmic, Beauty and the Beast or Indiana Jones stunt spectacular. Or up till a few years ago Lights, Motor, Action. All are/were outside with hard metal benches.
    Yes, but all of the scenarios you mention are actually pretty uncomfortable in hot and humid weather (and I've lived in Florida and now Houston-like you-for 30 years, so I know hot and humid weather). Skepticism aside, I will definitely try the Gondolas the next I get to WDW. I always like experiencing new things.
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