Disney Skyliner (Gondola Transportation System) Read Post 1 Now Open!

STLstone

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 8, 2016
Here is an article on using ultracapacitors (via Maxwell Tech) @48V to power A/C on gondolas. Granted this is not in a Florida environment, but it does show that high-rate charging can happen at the stations during operation. Capacitors have superior cycle life as compared to conventional battery designs, but are typically more costly.

That article is far from conclusive on how this would function. High charging rate, would be accompanied by faster-than-a-battery discharging rate. There's a reason capacitors aren't used in place of batteries everywhere.

When following one of the links in the article, it states that these are used on gondolas that make a "5 minute trip."

Googling further, I discovered something surprising. That gondola system had an outage that lasted 40 minutes about a month after it opened.


In the above article, a passenger that had ridden on a normal, 5-minute trip, had this to say: "“When we got on there it took only about five minutes and it was very hot so I can’t imagine what it was like up there for more than half and hour.”

So, it's debatable that this Emirates gondola line is a quality example of air conditioning working on a gondola.

Whether or not air conditioning is technologically possible, I was opposed to it because of this exact scenario that occurred at Disney. Here's why:

1) There is just no real engineering answer to practically air condition a gondola for 3+ hours in Florida. The London AC gondola system that is being held up as the example of this can't even cool one for 5 minutes - in London.

2) An AC gondola stuck in the air for 3 hours would be way more uncomfortable than a gondola designed for passive cooling - because the AC will quit long before 3 hours. A gondola that is designed for AC would not also be equipped with the same amount of rider-controlled passive cooling because it would defeat the AC when people opened the windows. So, window use by the riders would be severely limited, by design. Even emergency windows would not be designed to cool as well as an entire cabin that was designed with passive cooling.

A passively cooled gondola is not as comfortable as sitting in air conditioning. It's just not. But it is the only practical type of gondola to use for comfort and even safety. This breakdown really proves that because no one has ever proposed an AC solution that lasts for 3 hours.
 

ST1TCH

Eagerly anticipating our next trip to the World
Joined
Apr 12, 2007
I find it pretty funny that several in here seem to think they're more knowledgeable about how this should be done than Disney and Doppelmayr. Trust me, the folks at Doppelmayr know what they're doing and Disney trusts their extreme breadth and depth of knowledge on this product. The only thing I can fault Disney on was the lack of communication to those affected and trying to deny the incident. Bottom line, either the one gondola malfunctioned and wouldn't move or some other system that was supposed to tell it to move malfunctioned. I'm certain they are double and triple checking all of these things and are training all personnel on how to immediately stop the line in case they see this starting to happen again as well as adding safeguards that would stop it automatically. This isn't their first rodeo. They likely already have the solutions in place, they already know what caused the incident, and are testing all lines and all possibilities before opening again.

As for the constant claims about the heat and how it's going to become a death oven if it sits in the Orlando summer for more than 10 minutes. Give it a rest. You've been refuted by those with first hand experience and even bloggers who took temperature gauges on the ride with them. This is not an enclosed car sitting on the ground against concrete that radiates heat. This is a vehicle designed with windows and wrapping that repels heat, the windows are open to allow air to move through, and you're elevated above the ground which reduces the heat radiating from the ground and you have potential for some breeze at higher altitude.

As for the 911 calls and the challenge at finding the right car, something doesn't add up. As others have mentioned, they were on the phone with the people who needed the medical emergency. How hard is it to talk to them and determine where they're at? "We're between the Mickey car and the Wall-E one"...."I can see your fire truck it's right below us"....etc. Also, what frustrates me about other people also flooding 911, and this isn't just about this particular event. You hear stories all the time about people who call 911 for stupid stuff and they're never emergencies. You know that 90% of the calls made to 911 during this event were not people who had emergencies. I'm not sure that even if Disney were being completely honest and transparent through the communication system to everyone, there's still individuals who are going to call 911 because they think they're entitled to it.
 

HadesFan

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jul 19, 2019
There is a lot of speculation about what the temperature would be like on a hot day. Seems like the easiest thing to do is put some temperature sensors in some of the cars, then stop it on a super hot day for 3 hours. I would imagine that the cars have been tested this way already, they do it for automobiles.
 
  • Lewisc

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 23, 2000
    Remember, in a car temperatures can climb to well over 100 degrees in the matter of minutes, even with Windows cracked, the Gondolas are the same thing when stopped. Disney dodged a bullet here by having them stop at night and not during the day.
    Actually many people did report them becoming hot when stopped and if they were stopped for three hours during the day, they would reach well over 100 degrees.
    Which is it? The Gondolas will get very hot in a matter of minutes or will it take over 3 hours?
    Fake Facts? According to whom? It’s October, not May. Right now the temperature may not climb too high, however it will in the summer. It’s simple science. Lastly, I believe the OP referenced car temperatures and how quickly the temperature can increase. Perhaps take another look.
    The Fake Facts poster said the gondolas would heat up the same as a car. The poster seems to have changed the time frame from minutes to hours. Properly vented, with the right windows, the gondolas shouldn't get much warmer then the outside air. A car with closed, or all but closed windows, will get much warmer then the outside air.

    A comparison between a car with closed windows and Disney's Skylinner is nothing but fake facts. One is a death trap the other could become uncomfortable.

    I'll agree, somewhat, with PP. I think Disney and posters have, greatly?, over-estimated the real capacity. Guests with strollers (even folded) and ECV will load slower. Probably will make it harder to load the gondolas to capacity.
     

    Lewisc

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 23, 2000
    Also law enforcement and rescue has no access to your GPS location from your phone. That would be an invasion of privacy unless they got a warrant or you gave permission somehow.




    I actually talked with my boss about this. He was at WDW last week staying at Art of Animation I think. He used the gondolas a lot and left the day after the incident. From his perspective they do get hotter when stopped but not hotter than if you were standing on the ground. He was delayed in them for 10 minutes or so a couple times and said because they are so high and they are vented from the top to bottom they are not bad. Also the fact you are over the tree lines for the most part gives you a better chance at getting breezes. He said it was significantly better than standing on the ground in the parks where you don't get any breeze. He remembered how hot it was waiting for characters so he said these weren't near as bad.
    I'm pretty sure the default answers when we install, and use, my Disney Experience, gives Disney permission to use our location data. I'm pretty sure 911 has access to our GPS location data. Isn't the setting on some phones something like block location from everything but 911. Current phones don't let us block GPS location from 911.

    Disney might be able to use magic bands to locate guests.

    That said there are easier ways to locate a gondola.

    The fake facts posters say a stopped gondola will be hot as an oven in minutes. People who have ridden the gondolas have a different opinion.
     

    TwoMisfits

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 21, 2002
    Also forgotten about summer in July...water. When you are in the theme parks, you are taking in VAST sums of water as you roll around the park in the heat (as well as jumping in and out of air conditioning). And moms with little ones are being even more careful about not overdoing it in those conditions with their kids.

    In the gondola, now that we know emergency boxes are broken into, and glow sticks and waters tend to be swiped, there could be gondolas in direct sun for hours on a summer day with no water...that's a recipe for disaster no matter if it feels/is 100 or 120 in those things...people CAN'T be kept in enclosed boxes in summer sun for 3.5 hours with little water, no matter what degree the thermometer hits...
     

    sachilles

    DVC coming to this space soon
    Joined
    Jan 7, 2013
    Its been covered countless times. Sure it will be warm in the gondolas, but they will not be death ovens.

    I'm a ginger. I have fair skin, I really don't enjoy the sun and high temps. I've had skin cancer. Needless to say I'm pretty sensitive to heat and sun issues.
    I will sit in a stopped gondola on the gondola line for 3 hours in the mid day, mid summer heat. I would sooner do that than stand in the sun for an hour watching the mariachi band at the mexican pavilion.....and I love that band.
     
  • Jax1023

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 30, 2008
    Its been covered countless times. Sure it will be warm in the gondolas, but they will not be death ovens.

    I'm a ginger. I have fair skin, I really don't enjoy the sun and high temps. I've had skin cancer. Needless to say I'm pretty sensitive to heat and sun issues.
    I will sit in a stopped gondola on the gondola line for 3 hours in the mid day, mid summer heat. I would sooner do that than stand in the sun for an hour watching the mariachi band at the mexican pavilion.....and I love that band.
    I have small children and I’d take them too. I’m not concerned about dying of dehydration in a few hours. And we usually have water bottles with us when it’s hot.

    Although I do think the broken into emergency kits are a problem that Disney should deal with somehow.
     

    Anthony Vito

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 16, 2017
    For all of the many, may posts in which people talk about the summer when temperatures “are well over 100˚” - if talking about actual just temperature (OSUZorba and others went into detail beyond my knowledge about the differences), but for actual temperature, it should be noted that it does not get well over 100˚ in Orlando. In fact, there have only been 4 years in the past 50 years in which the hottest temperatures have reached or exceed 100˚ - 3 years in which the hottest was 100˚ and one which was 101˚. I always find that to be a common misperception among people about FL. Many would be surprised to know that Miami has only hit 100˚ once in over 100 years. As said, obviously the humidity makes it feel very different and makes it more uncomfortable, but those are two different things. As pointed out, what it feels like when standing in the sun on hot concrete is also going to be very different than what it feels like when strictly dealing with the air temperature and accompanying humidity (which can also vary greatly further away from the ground).
     
  • Lumpy1106

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 2, 2010
    remember, they need to put the number inside the vehicle as well. Not just on the outside. Otherwise how would you know which car to tell emergency workers you're in?
    And...
    You'd need a way to tell someone...like calling them on a cell phone...that has GPS capabilities. Unless...you don't want to be found??

    Trying to MacGyver my way through the items in the emergency kit that would have made finding the gondola car in question easier:
    Maybe you could light the notebook on fire to send a smoke signal. Oh, no ignition source. Well, that seems wise actually.
    You could write a message on the notebook page and plaster it against the window. Oh, nothing to write with and the windows are shaded so you wouldn't be able to see it very well.
    The light stick! Yeah...that, seems, well...kinda useless unless you want the inside of the cabin to be kinda glowy. But again, with the shaded windows, and everyone else is going to break their light sticks too.
    .
    .
    .
    Yeah, I got nothin'.
     

    Jorjabelle

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 24, 2019
    Any reports of testing or activity today?

    We will be there the end of October and I’m still looking forward to trying it out. With the added precaution of using the Skyliner restrooms beforehand.

    I’m still betting it will open at some point during our stay.
     

    Krandor

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 26, 2014
    Any reports of testing or activity today?

    We will be there the end of October and I’m still looking forward to trying it out. With the added precaution of using the Skyliner restrooms beforehand.

    I’m still betting it will open at some point during our stay.
    Even without this incident using the restrooms would always be a good idea. I've gotten on the bus and then realized I had to go once or twice... not fun. So I normally always hit the restroom before heading out to buses. This would be no different.
     

    Spaceguy55

    Heigh Ho..Heigh Ho.....
    Joined
    Oct 18, 2014
    It's been reported that there is a exhaust fan in the ceiling, similar to a bathroom exhaust fan ...I would guess it's thermostatically controlled to activate at a certain temperature.
    During the week it was open I didn't see any reports of this being true.....
    On the Dis show a couple weeks ago Ryno mentioned something like that and that it could run for up to 3 hours...it may be there but during the stops the gondola's did not reach the temperature needed to activate it.
     

    fla4fun

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 12, 2006
    In the gondola, now that we know emergency boxes are broken into, and glow sticks and waters tend to be swiped, there could be gondolas in direct sun for hours on a summer day with no water...that's a recipe for disaster no matter if it feels/is 100 or 120 in those things...people CAN'T be kept in enclosed boxes in summer sun for 3.5 hours with little water, no matter what degree the thermometer hits...
    I have always been in the habit of buying a bottle of water before heading to the bus stop (or bringing one from my room in the morning) and I plan to continue that habit with the gondola. I don’t know that I would want to drink water that’s been flying around in the Florida heat for months, and those packets looked smaller than a bottle would be (although that could be due to camera angles). I feel it’s my responsibility to make sure I stay hydrated and visit bathroom facilities before heading for transportation, whatever that transportation may be.

    I do think Disney will look into ways to make the emergency kits more difficult to tamper with. They should have realized that in this day and age people will help themselves to anything that’s not nailed down. I wonder how many kits have shown up on eBay . . .
     

    mshanson3121

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 16, 2015
    Yes, sure. But that’s true of any outdoor space. Like standing in the magic kingdom waiting for a parade.

    The coating on these reflect heat, so it’s not like a car. Sure it’s gonna be hot. But it basically gonna be like being outside in the shade. Not significantly hotter
    Regardless, when it's 90-100+ degrees, even if the car doesn't heat up above that, if the car just maintains the same temp as the outside air, being trapped in those temperatures *is* going to cause health issues for some.

    And before anyone gives me the word I can't say on here about "well if you can't handle the heat, don't come to Florida in summer" - let's please use common sense and remember there is a huge difference between being trapped in a 100 degree box for 3+ hours, and being on the ground where you are going on air conditioned rides, waiting in often air conditioned queues, and can pop into an air conditioned restaurant or store any time you need to cool off, get a nice ice cold drink or snack etc... HUGE difference. Very few Disney guests are actually spending 3 solid hours in the heat without AC breaks via rides, queues or shops.
     
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