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April 24, 2009: Skyway to Fantasyland

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  • April 24, 2009: Skyway to Fantasyland

    After taking off from a small, modern station in Tomorrowland, you're on your way to Fantasyland.

    This may seem like a common, "off the shelf" theme park ride, but that wasn't the case in 1956.

    Please discuss it here.
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

  • #2
    Re: April 24, 2009: Skyway to Fantasyland

    I was looking at the photos and I was thinking "Wow! look at all those trees on the other side of the berm!" Good article.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: April 24, 2009: Skyway to Fantasyland

      Barbossa beat me to the punch: I can't get over that Disneyland still had a "green belt" as late as the early 1960s. The large numbers painted on the San Diego Zoo system made me smile: I guess they were serious about arresting people who used the animals as target practice.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: April 24, 2009: Skyway to Fantasyland

        Walt was right, it is transportation of the future. Just a few years ago, a skyway was installed in downtown Portland, Oregon. Portland Aerial Tram Home Page

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: April 24, 2009: Skyway to Fantasyland

          I miss the Skyway and the PeopleMover. It was really nice to take a relaxing ride, and the views were fun.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: April 24, 2009: Skyway to Fantasyland

            The skyway was a simple and fun ride. I have great memories. I have not ridden one since it closed.
            Jiminy Cricket Fan
            .................................

            Love Disneyland and Walt Disney World!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: April 24, 2009: Skyway to Fantasyland

              $300 thousand, huh? I think I got enough equity built up in my house to cover that. Let's rebuild the SkyWay!

              And where do they get off spending $2 million on a section of the park. Bob Iger probably drives cars that are worth more than that. It takes like $100 million just to do the same thing for one ride today.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: April 24, 2009: Skyway to Fantasyland

                Excellent article! I also love the photos that show outside the berm, as well as areas that had not yet been developed. I too miss the Skyway. I have ridden the one in San Diego Zoo; it was nice.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: April 24, 2009: Skyway to Fantasyland

                  I miss the Skyway at WDW. I try and ride that mode of transportation any time I get around the world. The best ones were in Switzerland.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: April 24, 2009: Skyway to Fantasyland

                    Nice article as always. A couple of comments - the first picture shows what looks like construction of the Autopia to the left, I thought Autopia was one of the opening day rides, unless this is just an expansion. Also I remember the Skyway and other rides like it for the slight sense of danger - danger from kids overhead spitting or dropping things from the sky buckets. I wonder if this is one of the reasons most of these rides were taken out. I do miss them and the fun they were. It was kind of cheesy though how the Matterhorn had these big holes in it, I guess you can't have everything. I haven't been to Santa Cruz Boardwalk lately, but I remember them having a sky ride too.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: April 24, 2009: Skyway to Fantasyland

                      Originally posted by Disneykin Kid View Post
                      Nice article as always. A couple of comments - the first picture shows what looks like construction of the Autopia to the left, I thought Autopia was one of the opening day rides, unless this is just an expansion. Also I remember the Skyway and other rides like it for the slight sense of danger - danger from kids overhead spitting or dropping things from the sky buckets. I wonder if this is one of the reasons most of these rides were taken out. I do miss them and the fun they were. It was kind of cheesy though how the Matterhorn had these big holes in it, I guess you can't have everything. I haven't been to Santa Cruz Boardwalk lately, but I remember them having a sky ride too.
                      For many years, Disneyland had two totally separate Autopia's, though the tracks were intertwined in the middle. Tomorrowland Autopia was obviously under construction (or reconstruction, not sure...) in that photo, and Fantasyland Autopia loaded directly north of the Matterhorn. They had to redo the tracks several times as the guide rail in the middle was added, then expanded. And they both had very simple welded steel shade roofs, "no expense spared"...

                      Note the big expanse of open land on the other side of Harbor Blvd., the trees screening the brand new I-5, and the gas station.

                      --<< Bruce >>--
                      There's No Place Like 127.0.0.1

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: April 24, 2009: Skyway to Fantasyland

                        I miss them
                        Soaring like an EAGLE !

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: April 24, 2009: Skyway to Fantasyland

                          Cedar Point (Sandusky, OH) still has its sky ride operating, and a webcam to prove it (http://www.cedarpoint.com/public/fun...cam.cfm?chip=6, although the pictures will be more interesting on May 16 after Ohio has thawed sufficiently to open the park).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: April 24, 2009: Skyway to Fantasyland

                            Originally posted by Disneykin Kid View Post
                            It was kind of cheesy though how the Matterhorn had these big holes in it...
                            Walt explained the holes were there because it was a Swiss mountain. Get it? So you're right, it was kind of cheesy.

                            The Skyway should return.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: April 24, 2009: Skyway to Fantasyland

                              The Skyway is needed in Tomorrowland. The Peoplemover as well. The Rocket Jets need to be up on top of that, what do you call it? gantry?These three elements, along with the Monorail gave Tomorrowland the look and feel of the future. The world in motion. Now it's just plain dead. No Skyway, no Peoplemover, no Rockets or Astro Orbitors high in the sky.
                              Is that what the future or tomorrow holds? Everybody walking.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Re: April 24, 2009: Skyway to Fantasyland

                                the skyway....im guessing it was ok they took it off...but it just makes me wonder....y are they not using the fantasyland station???

                                they could make that into the new princess fantasy fair...and maybe bring a good show back to the fantasyland teather?
                                When stars are born...They possess a gift or two,
                                one of those is, they have the power to make a wish come true!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Re: April 24, 2009: Skyway to Fantasyland

                                  Originally posted by D.E.1955 View Post
                                  the skyway....im guessing it was ok they took it off...but it just makes me wonder....y are they not using the fantasyland station???

                                  they could make that into the new princess fantasy fair...and maybe bring a good show back to the fantasyland teather?
                                  I can explain it in one law - the Americans with Disabilities Act.

                                  They could put something interesting up in that abandoned Swiss Chalet of a Skyway Station - but then they would need a way to get wheelchairs and ECV's up there. Some sort of an elevator, or a stair lift, or a reeeeeeeeeeally long ramp winding through the trees that would take up half the hill.

                                  An elevator would be the most practical solution - but you just added roughly a quarter-million dollars to the construction and renovation costs. So unless you have something Really Big in mind for that Chateau that's an instant deal-breaker.

                                  --<< Bruce >>--
                                  There's No Place Like 127.0.0.1

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Re: April 24, 2009: Skyway to Fantasyland

                                    the ada law is a joke.there are similar vonroll type 101s that are direct ancestors of the disneyland skyway.it was a excuse to remove the ride...for instance,the san diego zoo and especially the 1961 vonroll at cedar point still run to this day.cedar point you need to walk up steps.there vonroll skyride still runs to this day!!!!!!why not disneyland???san diego zoo transports over 3 million people a year on there 1969 vr 101 vonroll skyride..a.d.a... b.s.!should have never removed the skyway at disneyland..the stress cracks in the matterhorn,could have been fixed! i have a yahoo groups page with nothing but skyway info. disneylandskyway : Home of the VonRoll VR 101
                                    i have the entire operation manual from the skyway,a actual vonroll vr101 grip that is the same as the disneyland skyway.a working model of the skyway in my backyard..im your skyway sourse...even the maintance manual that goes to the vr101 skyrides..strait from vonroll..
                                    :crybye:long live the 1st vonroll type 101.the disneyland skyway.rest in peace old friend.love ya skyway! bring back the skyway!http://groups.yahoo.com/group/disneylandskyway/ My Facebook Skyway group http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/...d=115004863923

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Re: April 24, 2009: Skyway to Fantasyland

                                      Originally posted by vonrollskyway1 View Post
                                      the ada law is a joke.there are similar vonroll type 101s that are direct ancestors of the disneyland skyway.it was a excuse to remove the ride...
                                      A few comments:

                                      Bruce Bergman was discussing how the ADA would be an issue if Disney ever decided to use the Fantasyland station of the Skyway for an entirely new purpose. Bruce Bergman is correct.

                                      Even if the ADA were repealed tomorrow, I think it's safe to say that Disney would want to make any new restaurant, shop, exhibit, or meet-and-greet accessible to all guests.

                                      Regarding the Skyway ride and the ADA...

                                      Disney never claimed that they removed the Skyway from Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom due to the ADA. As I recall, the reason given was something along the lines of "decreased popularity." In other words, Disney did not use the ADA as an "excuse to remove the ride."

                                      People on the Internet speculated about the ADA. But, ultimately, the Skyway closures were due to financial reasons, not legal reasons. Disney management at the time did not want to spend the money to operate, maintain, and periodically overhaul the attraction.
                                      Last edited by Werner Weiss; 07-19-2009, 10:51 PM.
                                      Werner Weiss
                                      Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Re: April 24, 2009: Skyway to Fantasyland

                                        If you got hold of someone who really knew and kept pressing Disney till you got a real answer, they most likely removed the Skyway from all the stateside Disney parks for two financial reasons.

                                        One was the operation and maintenance costs of the ride system, since it was labor intensive for the throughput they got - it took three CM's minimum at each end. (Four to five when you figure in extra CM's to cover breaks and lunches.)

                                        And someone mentioned that there were cracks found in the steel of the main tower hidden inside the Matterhorn, and while it could have been repaired the costs alone would have provided a good excuse by itself.

                                        But the other financial reason was liability exposure. Disney is self-insured for the "small" stuff (for very liberal applications of the term "small" of course) - but no doubt carrying a Lloyds (or eq.) blanket liability policy with a 10 million dollar or higher deductible.

                                        Disney took a long look at the ride, and at the Disneyland incident where a Guest managed to climb out of the bucket and fall to the ground (luckily landing in a tree uninjured) and the CM that got killed at the Skyway in Florida, and they could see a pattern.

                                        People getting hurt or killed en masse on that ride would have taken a huge hunk out of their financials they might not recover from for decades, if ever. There are many 'Single Point of Failure' ways things could go bad on that old design VonRoll cableway - including a cable break or a main sheave failure, or people actively inducing a failure like rocking the cars into striking a tower and/or so violently they derail the cable from the tower sheaves or knock themselves and the bucket off the wire... Let's just leave it at "a paranoid person with mechanical knowledge of how that ride system works would be well within their rights to be afraid to ride it."

                                        In retrospect, it was a fine ride for the 1950's when people behaved in public, and Disney was absolutely scrupulous on their maintenance. Not so good for the 1990's and beyond, where they try to shave the maintenance budgets, and the Guests' personal responsibility seems to be an endangered species.

                                        Why work for a living when you can stage a slip and fall, sue the business for big bucks, and retire on the proceeds. 99.9% of us don't think like that of course, but it only takes one who does...

                                        Disney could have modified the Skyway to a modern multiple-cable system to make failure a far more remote chance, like the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (et al) - but that would cost Big Bucks, and could make the system impractical to operate.

                                        And now that it's been closed for so long, the ADA rules kick in if they wanted to reopen it. Or put something else new up there at either end, as I said before.

                                        --<< Bruce >>--
                                        There's No Place Like 127.0.0.1

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