Walt Disney World Skyliner Gondola cabin video, photos, info.

seashoreCM

All around nice guy.
Joined
Aug 25, 2001
The Riviera Station platform is long enough that theoretically gondolas within the station can come to a complete stop for a short time without forcing the incoming gondolas and the cable to stop.

But there are certain permutations of gondola positioning, and number of gondolas along the platform at any given moment that would make full stops more tricky.

A more sophisticated platform transport system (the motors and rubber rollers in the station ceiling) could move each gondola independently of the rest even though they are all single file along the platform. This would make it easier for an occasional gondola to make a full stop.
 

SueM in MN

combining the teacups with a roller coaster
Moderator
Joined
Aug 23, 1999
Unfortunately I’ve been too busy the past couple of weeks to fully keep up with posts on the subject, including the issue over the weekend. But to answer your question about the design of the Riviera station...My understanding is that the gondolas would move through the Riviera station so slowly and that station’s platform is so long that mobility devices could load without a pull-off. Keep in mind, the extra HA loop is unique to WDW and similar gondola systems elsewhere in the world use mainstream loading of mobility devices. However, it sounds as though WDW has been stopping the system for HA loading at Riviera over the past week.
That is my understanding too.
This may be part of the reason why there have been so many reported stops of the Skyliner system. Based on videos I've seen to date, I can't imagine trying to roll into a moving gondola with an ECV or power wheelchair, no matter how slowly the gondola is moving.
the idea of the long station platform makes me think of loading into the accessible ride vehicle at the attractions with continually moving walkways. Buzz Lightyear, Voyage of the Little Mermaid at MK, Nemo at Epcot have long platforms, with Little Mermaid the longest.
As the ride vehicle arrives, the CM has to open the ride vehicle, fold down a ramp, direct the companion to the wheelchair rider to get in, push the wheelchair up the ramp and get it into place, then fold the ramp back up and secure it.
The CMs hardly ever stop the moving walkway, most slow it to about 1/2 speeds, but the best can do it all with barely slowing the walkway.
From videos I’ve seen of other Skyway installation, it looks like that is how they load guests using mobility devices. I imagine that was the intention for the Riviera station.
 

mamabunny

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
I love this!

I wish I knew how to make diagrams like this online.

View attachment 442096





All of the above are free to use, and don't require an account - have fun practicing! 🙂
 
  • toocherie

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    That is my understanding too.

    the idea of the long station platform makes me think of loading into the accessible ride vehicle at the attractions with continually moving walkways. Buzz Lightyear, Voyage of the Little Mermaid at MK, Nemo at Epcot have long platforms, with Little Mermaid the longest.
    As the ride vehicle arrives, the CM has to open the ride vehicle, fold down a ramp, direct the companion to the wheelchair rider to get in, push the wheelchair up the ramp and get it into place, then fold the ramp back up and secure it.
    The CMs hardly ever stop the moving walkway, most slow it to about 1/2 speeds, but the best can do it all with barely slowing the walkway.
    From videos I’ve seen of other Skyway installation, it looks like that is how they load guests using mobility devices. I imagine that was the intention for the Riviera station.
    It kind of reminds me of the situation at Toy Story Mania or Space Mountain. The HA cars get pulled off on another track then "re-inserted" after loading or unloading.
     

    gap2368

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2015
    It kind of reminds me of the situation at Toy Story Mania or Space Mountain. The HA cars get pulled off on another track then "re-inserted" after loading or unloading.
    Disney world space dose not pull cars off Disney land dose ( just for anyone follows along that dose not know )
     

    RaySharpton

    Retired and going to Disney.
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2000
    New Disney Statement Acknowledges Disney Skyliner “Malfunction”; Three Guests Sent to Hospital
    by blogmickey:

    As more details come out about the Disney Skyliner incident on Saturday night, Disney statements continue to adjust. We’re also learning more about the Reedy Creek Fire Department response and any guests treated. Here is the latest.

    At approximately 8pm on Saturday evening, the Disney Skyliner gondola system had what Disney is now calling a “malfunction”. Initial statements provided to us here at BlogMickey.com from Disney stated that “there was no accident”, and that the Disney Skyliner gondola system was experiencing “unexpected downtime”. That statement was provided to us around 11:30pm on Saturday evening, two hours after the initial call for an evacuation went out to the Reedy Creek Fire Department.

    Here is Disney’s latest statement on the incident:

    “We have a team diligently looking into the cause of last night’s malfunction on the Epcot line of the Disney Skyliner. We have been in contact with the guests, many of whom were on the Skyliner for more than three hours until we were able to restart the system. We express our sincere apologies for the inconvenience and continue to work with each guest individually”.


    Photos posted to social media showed that at least five Disney Skyliner gondola cabins were involved in a crash of some sort at the Riviera Resort station leading to the system to be stopped and riders stranded in the air.


    According to Reedy Creek Fire Department, they evacuated only one gondola cabin in the three-hour ordeal. Other evacuations took place closer to the ground using smaller lifts like the one seen in our photo below.


    Eventually, Disney was able to move what appeared to be the malfunctioning gondola into a service spur to allow for the line to move guests slowly back into either the International Gateway station or Riviera Resort station, depending on their direction of travel. We were able to capture photos of the blue Disney Skyliner gondola that was the apparent cause of the malfunction as it sat in the Riviera Resort station on Saturday evening.


    A closer look at the gondola cabin reveals shattered glass from the impact.


    The Reedy Creek Improvement District said that three guests were taken to area hospitals during the incident and that they have all been released.

    A Disney investigation into the incident is ongoing. It’s unclear when the Disney Skyliner gondola system will reopen, or if Disney will make a statement to further clarify what happened that left guests stranded on the week-old system for hours.
    .
     
  • RaySharpton

    Retired and going to Disney.
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2000
    By joelkfla

    The Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles can be any cabins, but they are predesignated at a specific spacing. Switching into and out of the WAV area is automatic; the cm's at the unload & load positions just need to hold in a dispatch button to enable it. A countdown timer on the consoles tells the cm's when the next WAV is expected to arrive. If either cm is not pushing the dispatch button when the timer approaches zero, a chime sounds to remind them to push it.

    The WAVs are designated by a plunger being extended on the hanger. You can see the plunger next to the door opening mechanism. The plunger signals the doors to remain closed thru the regular unload area and also activates the track switch into the WAV area. You can see this in action if you locate the door opening rail at the entrance to the regular unload area, and watch the rail move out of the way when a cabin with plunger extended approaches.

    Since the plunger would have to be positioned by a tech person, I assume the WAVs are assigned at the beginning of the day and do not change during the day. That's when the chocks would be placed in the cabins.

    In the photo, the cabin on the left is a WAV.


    In the 1st video, you can hear the reminder chime sounding as a designated WAV approaches the regular unload area.


    Question about where the wheelchair/mobility scooter chocks are kept.

    They stay with cabins that have been designated WAVs. It looked like they just tossed them under the seat when not in use.
    Question about gondola cables outside and inside the Skyliner Stations.

    The cabins detach from the cable when they enter a station. Inside the stations, they run on an overhead track and are propelled by rotating tires above the track, or chains in some places (like thru the switch in the video.)
    Question about the 90-degree turns in the Riviera Skyliner Station and big turn.

    On the turns, while the cabins are detached, the cable goes around a series of wheels which allows it to cross over itself and make the turn. It's a single cable from Epcot to CBR, powered at CBR.
    Question about what joelkfla thinks the gondolas stop in the air sometimes.

    I
    I don't know. A lot of people are guessing that cm's are stopping the line because Guests are not getting into or out of the cabins quickly enough. Another possibility IMO is that safety sensors are being tripped excessively.
    Well, at least we know it's not because of the handicap loading section unless they are having problems exiting the gondola at their destination.








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    Last edited:

    mamabunny

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 11, 2012
    I wonder if at Riveria only - if there are (for example) three Guests with mobility devices, would they stop the line and then load all 3 at the same time to shorten the length and frequency of stops?

    Or would it matter, since there could be an incoming "WAV" (wheelchair accessible vehicle) at any time that would need to disembark?

    Sorry. My brain just works weird sometimes! LOL
     

    RaySharpton

    Retired and going to Disney.
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2000
    I wonder if at Riveria only - if there are (for example) three Guests with mobility devices, would they stop the line and then load all 3 at the same time to shorten the length and frequency of stops?

    Or would it matter, since there could be an incoming "WAV" (wheelchair accessible vehicle) at any time that would need to disembark?

    Sorry. My brain just works weird sometimes! LOL
    It is a longer loading platform, but those gondolas would have to be empty because guests might have exited at the Disney Riviera Skyliner Station or it was, for some reason, already empty leaving the previous station. An interesting question for a group traveling with multiple mobility scooters.

     

    RaySharpton

    Retired and going to Disney.
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2000
    There has been so much information since the Disney Skyliner has opened up to guests with personal experiences using the Disney Skyliner wheelchair/mobility scooter loading zones. And how things work for loading and unloading for the regular and wheelchair/mobility scooter.

    The following comments were gathered from my previous posts of other guest's experiences in this thread offering their personal observations over time.

    I don't know if these observations are all factual since I haven't read anything officially from Disney.

    I don't know if all my following comments from others will hold in the future, but I enjoyed learning so much from other DIS posters.

    I guess I am just trying to organize all of the information I've learned so far.

    Four of the five Disney Skyliner Gondola Stations have separate loading and unloading queues. A longer regular Disney Skyliner for walkers and strollers. And a smaller, separate queue for wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

    Those stations with separate queue for wheelchairs and mobility scooters are:

    The Disney Caribbean Skyliner Gondola Station (Main hub connecting three stations.
    The Disney EPCOT Skyliner Gondola Station
    The Disney Pop Century Resort, and the Disney Art of Animation Skyliner Gondola Station.
    The Disney Hollywood Studio Skyliner Gondola Station.

    The fifth Skyliner Gondola Station is not an end station like the other four Skyliner Gondola Stations.

    The Disney Riviera Skyliner Gondola Station is a mid-station located between the two end stations called the Disney Caribbean Skyliner Gondola Station and the Disney EPCOT Skyliner Gondola Station.

    The Disney Riviera Skyliner Gondola Station also has a 90-degree Turn Unit. And the Disney Riviera Skyliner Gondola Station has a longer loading station with no separate loading zones.

    The diagram of loading and unloading gondolas by bioreconstruct.

    442606

    ...Work in progress...

    ...I'll try to organize my thoughts later after I finish adding info...

    ...I am just curious about how everything works...

    I found this interesting to me. Sachilles explained why the Disney Riviera Skyliner Station didn't have a separate handicap wheelchair and mobility loading zone like the three other Skyliner Stations.

    Sachilles says the three other Skyliner Stations are a destination or end Skyliner Stations. The Disney Riviera Skyliner Station is located between two end stations of the EPCOT Skyliner Station and the Caribbean Skyliner Station.

    You misunderstand. You can load and unload an ECV there, it's just a different style than the other stations. The other stations have a separate area to load the ecv's. The Riviera Station doesn't have a separate area, but they can load in the general area. That has the potential to delay things, as they may have to slow the line (or stop altogether) some to accomplish it.
    The whole separate line thing is quite rare for a lift system, so many make due just fine with a station like Riviera. It just has a greater potential to slow the system down.
    Its because it's in the middle of a line. It's a mid-station, so you can't really do that. You'd have to cut the line in half and have two end stations meet there. Which would cause people to have to transfer.
    What you end up with is a station where the cabins stay in it longer, which is almost as good. It's made more complex because folks arriving at that station might not get off.
    I like reading all of joelkfla's posts detailing his reliable info on the gondolas.

    https://forums.wdwmagic.com/threads/new-gondola-transportation-disney-skyliner-every-possible-what-if-has-been-discussed.924477/page-1095#post-8904632

    Everything about wheelchair cabin management:
    • Wheelchair cabins are assigned at the beginning of the day, and are identified by setting a plunger near the top of the hanger.
    • The plunger causes the door opening rail to collapse, so the doors stay closed through the main unload platform.
    • The plunger also activates the track switch into the wheelchair unload area. As a flagged cabin approaches the switch, a chain drive activates and pulls the cabin across the switch.
    • Doors open as the cabin enters the wheelchair unload position.
    • Wheelchair cabins are unloaded and loaded simultaneously.
    • The chair is backed out.
    • The control podiums at both unload and load have a countdown timer.
    • Operators at both positions must be holding in a button on the panel when the counter reaches zero for the cabins to advance. If either is not holding in the button when the timer is approaching zero, a reminder chime sounds. (The chime can be heard in the door opener video above.)
    • The cabin advances from unloading to load position, while the cabin in load position moves around to prepare for re-entering the mainstream.
    • Doors remain open between unloading and loading.
    • The load operator briefly inspects the cabin, and then loads the wheelchair in a forward direction, instructing the rest of the party to wait.
    • Seats will never be folded during operation.
    • The wheelchair is instructed to move forward as far as possible. ECV’s are instructed to pull up against a guide rail along the floor.
    • Rubber chocks are placed behind the rear wheels.
    • Then the rest of the party is invited to enter.
    • Both operators release the cabins as described above.
    • Doors close immediately upon leaving the load position.
    • After advancing around the curve, the cabin pauses for a few seconds before re-entering the mainstream.
    • Empty wheelchair cabins will not be available to load at the regular load platform. Doors will remain closed, and the cabins remain empty.
    • Wheelchair entrance to Pop/AoA station is through the exit.
    • You may request an unwrapped cabin for better sightseeing, but the wait may be long.
    • Capacity is 1 wheelchair/ecv plus 6 more but maybe less for very large ecv, as they do not fold the seat.
    • I was told that the Epcot line will be stopped for wheelchair loading at Riviera. In fact, I was going to get off at Riviera on my ecv to look around, but they requested that I not.
    • CBR station has wi-fi, but it's neither Disney-Guest nor any of the resort wi-fi. Instead, they named it Disney Skyliner. You might have to connect to it the first time.
    • The mysterious green and red lights behind the doors are nothing more than a power indicator. Close up, they have the familiar I within a circle. When they're green, lights and sound are powered on. They look like they may actually be a push-button switch, but the cm I talked to didn't know.
    • I was riding on my ECV. The cabins also got a bit uncomfortable in the stations, but I attribute that to the fact that the wheelchair cabins spend a lot more time in the stations, much of it with the doors closed. There's no perceptible airflow when the cabins are moving at load speed.
    • Lines at the CBR station seemed to build throughout the day. As others have said, they were a tangled mess, especially the line for Epcot, which overflowed both the permanent queue and the extension taped out on the floor. It made getting to the restrooms difficult.
    • Wheelchair entrance to the Pop station is through the exit. Weird.
    • CM's said it's perfectly OK to request an unwrapped cabin, even in the wheelchair line. But it may take a while on the wheelchair line, because there maybe only 1 or 2 unwrapped cabins assigned.
    • People on the board were wondering how the spurs to the storage yard connect to the main track at a 90-degree angle. It's simply 2 small radius curve tracks on both sides, with switches and a chain drive.
    • The CBR internal shuttle bus stops at the Skyliner station in both directions, between Trinidad and Jamaica, and on the return from Aruba to Martinique. The number of buses on the route has been increased from 1 to 2, so they're probably running about every 10 minutes.
    • I noticed the walkway from the bus stop to the storage yard didn't have any restrictive signs, so I rolled up and peeked through the fence. Very interesting. A chain drive moves cabins across the top of the yard. Drive tires move them through the switches onto the individual legs -- just the opposite of the switch into the wheelchair platforms. Those boxes are seen above the middle of the legs in the overhead photos shelter another set of drive tires.
    • The Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles can be any cabins, but they are predesignated at a specific spacing. Switching into and out of the WAV area is automatic; the cm's at the unload & load positions just need to hold in a dispatch button to enable it. A countdown timer on the consoles tells the cm's when the next WAV is expected to arrive. If either cm is not pushing the dispatch button when the timer approaches zero, a chime sounds to remind them to push it.
    • The WAVs are designated by a plunger being extended on the hanger. You can see the plunger next to the door opening mechanism. The plunger signals the doors to remain closed through the regular unload area and also activates the track switch into the WAV area. You can see this in action if you locate the door opening rail at the entrance to the regular unload area, and watch the rail move out of the way when a cabin with plunger extended approaches.
    • Since the plunger would have to be positioned by a tech person, I assume the WAVs are assigned at the beginning of the day and do not change during the day. That's when the chocks would be placed in the cabins.
    • You can hear the reminder chime sounding as a designated WAV approaches the regular unload area.
    • Question about where the wheelchair/mobility scooter chocks are kept? They stay with cabins that have been designated WAVs. It looked like they just tossed them under the seat when not in use.
    • Question about gondola cables outside and inside the Skyliner Stations. The cabins detach from the cable when they enter a station. Inside the stations, they run on an overhead track and are propelled by rotating tires above the track or chains in some places.
    • Question about the 90-degree turns in the Riviera Skyliner Station and big turn. On the turns, while the cabins are detached, the cable goes around a series of wheels which allows it to cross over itself and make the turn. It's a single cable from Epcot to CBR, powered at CBR.
    • Question about what joelkfla thinks the gondolas stop in the air sometimes. I don't know. A lot of people are guessing that cm's are stopping the line because Guests are not getting into or out of the cabins quickly enough. Another possibility IMO is that safety sensors are being tripped excessively.
    • The cabins do detach at the BW big turn. The cable goes around a series of bull wheels and crosses over itself to make the turn. I believe the design is for each carrier to always be in contact with one or more tires, a chain, or clamped to the cable at all times. The first and last sets of tires are turning at the same speed as the cable is moving, so the carrier can briefly be in contact with them before detaching and after attaching to the cable.
    Here is the bouncing gondola part of the video. It was leaving the EPCOT Skyliner Station and then made a stop. You can see the gondola across the way bouncing starting at hour 1:02:22 as it approaches the BW/Riviera Turn.


    The photo below shows a larger ScooterBug mobility scooter entering the gondola. This scooter almost looks like the design of the older ECV's that I used to rent from the WDW parks.



    The photo below shows a larger Walker's Mobility ECV entering the gondola.



    .
    Please feel free to correct me if I have posted anything incorrectly.


    .
     
    Last edited:
  • toocherie

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    Disney world space dose not pull cars off Disney land dose ( just for anyone follows along that dose not know )
    Thanks--I've only ridden Space Mtn. at Disneyland so just assumed the WDW was the same.
     

    SueM in MN

    combining the teacups with a roller coaster
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    It kind of reminds me of the situation at Toy Story Mania or Space Mountain. The HA cars get pulled off on another track then "re-inserted" after loading or unloading.
    I was talking about the Riviera station, which has a long loading area and doesn’t have a pull off area for loading mobility devices.

    You are correct that the stations with pull offs would work like Toy Story Mania or Space Mountain at Disneyland
     

    mamabunny

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 11, 2012
    There has been so much information over the past week since the Disney Skyliner has opened up to guests with personal experiences using the Disney Skyliner wheelchair/mobility scooter loading zones. And how things work for loading and unloading for the regular and wheelchair/mobility scooter.

    The following comments were gathered from my previous posts of other guest's experiences using and offering their personal observations over time.

    I don't know if these observations are all factual since I haven't read anything officially from Disney.

    I remember reading a few posts weeks ago either were incorrect or probably guesses until the Disney Skyliner actually opened up to Disney guests instead of just observations from a distance.

    I don't know if all my following comments from others will hold in another few weeks, but I enjoyed learning so much from other DIS posters.

    I guess I am just trying to organize all of the information I've learned so far.

    Three of the four Disney Skyliner Gondola Stations have separate loading and unloading queues. A larger regular Disney Skyliner for walkers and strollers. And a smaller, separate queue for wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

    Those stations are the Disney Caribbean Skyliner Gondola Station (Main hub connecting three stations



    View attachment 442606



    ...Work in progress...

    ...I'll try to organize my thoughts later after I finish adding info...

    ...I am just curious about how everything works...

    I found this interesting to me. Sachilles explained why the Disney Riviera Skyliner Station didn't have a separate handicap wheelchair and mobility loading zone like the three other Skyliner Stations.

    Sachilles says the three other Skyliner Stations are a destination or end Skyliner Stations. The Disney Riviera Skyliner Station is located between two end stations of the EPCOT Skyliner Station and the Caribbean Skyliner Station.






    Please feel free to correct me if I have posted anything incorrectly.

    Thank you, Ray - once again you have answered my questions! 🙂
     

    DisneyOma

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 27, 2015
    I've been looking for any reports about people evacuated that had ECVs and wheelchairs with them, But I haven't found any? Were they really that lucky that no one had a disability requiring a personal mobility device?
     

    joelkfla

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 13, 2001
    I've been looking for any reports about people evacuated that had ECVs and wheelchairs with them, But I haven't found any? Were they really that lucky that no one had a disability requiring a personal mobility device?
    They only evacuated one or a few cabins (reports vary). After 3 hours, they were able to get the line moving (though slowly), and everyone else exited at stations as normal.
     

    seashoreCM

    All around nice guy.
    Joined
    Aug 25, 2001
    The problem is not that the blue gondola stopped or got stuck but rather that the yellow gondolas crashed behind.

    What we have is perhaps a small part (in or near the blue cabin) broke or failed and then the system started to self destruct.

    No one knows whether or not the same problem could occur at a different station so it is not unwise to shut down all of the Skyliner lines until the cause of the yellow gondolas' crashing can be analyzed.
     

    camper06

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 16, 2012
    We were at DHS today. The gondolas were moving but it remains closed to passengers. I spoke to the CMs standing out front near the closed sign, and they said they were testing and were hoping to get it back open next week. We shall see...
     

    toocherie

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    Question: do only certain colored gondolas run on certain lines?
     

    SueM in MN

    combining the teacups with a roller coaster
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    They only evacuated one or a few cabins (reports vary). After 3 hours, they were able to get the line moving (though slowly), and everyone else exited at stations as normal.
    Yes.
    I’ve seem reports of 3 cabins, 6 people (not saying how many cabins) and 6 people from one cabin
    I've been looking for any reports about people evacuated that had ECVs and wheelchairs with them, But I haven't found any? Were they really that lucky that no one had a disability requiring a personal mobility device?
    I haven’t seen any reports that say one way or the other.
    A couple of people were observed being evacuated by stretcher. Most people assumed they were sick or injured.
    It‘s possible they were disabled. I don’t think they would evacuate the person from any height while they were sitting in a wheelchair or ECV. If my daughter needed to be evacuated, I’m quite certain it would be by stretcher.

    Question: do only certain colored gondolas run on certain lines?
    I don’t think so.
    They we’re doing test runs without people during our visit last Spring. We saw them arriving 2 of the runs and saw multiple colors on each.
     


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