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New Aerial Gondola Transport System


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  • New Aerial Gondola Transport System

    A couple days ago I uncovered some interesting information in a new DHS related permit. Using this, and information from a permit I found about the Caribbean Beach expansion, myself and some other over at WDWMagic started to connect the dots and discovered what appears to be a new aerial gondola transportation system coming to WDW. Since posting this information, I have gotten corroboration of this from a number of sources and the story has been picked up by a couple Orlando area news sites. Based on everything I know at this point, it looks like this is actually going to happen. I would not have believed it if I had not seen the evidence in the permit documents for myself. Here is the evidence from the permits:

    First is this new structure that is coming to CBR which will be right next to what is likely to be a new DVC guest building.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	upload_2017-2-14_12-25-5.png Views:	1 Size:	9.1 KB ID:	8492822

    Next was this structure that is going to be built at the edge of the Boardwalk parking lot across from DHS. This is not a huge building and it has a shape that fits with what would be needed to turn a aerial tram system.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	upload_2017-2-14_12-26-6.png Views:	1 Size:	24.8 KB ID:	8492820

    There is also a new building planned right near the DHS bus drop off. This building is oriented directly east/west and lines up exactly with a east/west gravel access road between Victory Way and the DHS parking lot shown in the permits and another large building that will be built on the empty expansion plot at CBR. Connecting the dots we end up with this:
    Click image for larger version  Name:	upload_2017-2-13_18-1-3.png Views:	1 Size:	309.5 KB ID:	8492821

    It appears the system will run from CBR to both DHS and the Epcot International Gateway. It's not shown here, but there is evidence there might also be a line from the building in the lower right at CBR to Art of Animation and Pop Century which is just south of there. It is sill not clear if the other two structures in the middle of the line will just be turns or if they will be stations. We are probably looking at enclosed gondola cars that can carry more then 4 people that might also be air-conditioned.

  • #2
    There was an article that I read about this yesterday. I think I found it on google news, so it wasn't just on some random rumor blog. I hope they can eventually build this out to include more resorts and parks. Linking Hollywood Studios and the Epcot Gateway is neat, but isn't super necessary because you can already get there via boat. Transit planning at WDW must be tough because to connect all of the resorts and parks you need to build lines everywhere. I'd be hard to have an efficient loop.


    • #3
      I applaud your detective work, and I think this makes total sense and should be a great addition to transportation at these resorts.

      I read through many of the comments on the post at WDWMagic, and as someone who actually used to operate a gondola at a ski resort I don't think many of the concerns people are having about a gondola are very valid.

      For capacity, this shouldn't be a issue at all. This is not going to be a main mode of transportation like the monorail, which is the heaviest used mode of transport to and from MK. It looks like this will mostly be used for people at the nearby hotels or people going to and from Epcot and HS that want to use an alternative to the Friendship boats. Many ski resorts (while most don't have anywhere near the daily attendance of a Disney theme park) the gondola is the main, and sometimes pretty much the absolute only way of getting on the mountain. This system wont be anywhere close to the old Skyway, newer gondolas are way more efficient. I would expect each cabin to hold at least 8 people (possibly 10) and have a level floor, by that I mean people with strollers or wheelchairs should be able to roll right in. They also wont have to be manually pushed around like the old Skyway was. We don't know the true layout yet, but one thing that can get tricky during peak hours is having multiple stations. At the first station they might have to load every other cabin in order to have empty cabins available at a 2nd station where people on the gondola already aren't likely to get off.

      A gondola system that is likely to be pretty similar in complexity is the gondola a Breckenridge in Colorado. It actually has 4 load and unload stations on the same line. I added a link to it on Google Maps.

      Another concern people are having is air conditioned cabins. While I think its unlikely that they will have air conditioning, it certainly would be possible. Cabins usually have many windows and vents that can be opened, and with the breeze created by the movement of the cabin itself, I wouldn't think it shouldn't be any less uncomfortable in the cabin than the temperature outside. I have however been on gondolas with heated seats, WiFi and onboard lighting so air conditioning could be done in the same way. Each cabin would have a battery that gets recharged when it passes through the stations, in a similar way that the ride vehicles get recharged between ride cycles on the Luigi's Roadsters ride at DCA. Each cabin would then also have a small AC unit. The reason I think they might not have it is because of maintenance of probably 200+ AC units, but I guess its really not any harder than maintaining AC units in thousands of hotel rooms.

      The other concern is weather. While I do think they would have to close it if there is any lightning. It should be able to operate in normal rain and relatively high winds. Remember, these systems are most commonly used in the snow, which has way more adverse weather conditions. If they have to, they will be able to remove all the cabins from the line when there is a hurricane or a storm coming that might force them to close it.
      Last edited by SLUSHIE; 02-16-2017, 10:24 AM.


      • #4
        Another thing I see people complaining about is Mobility scooters or wheelchairs.

        The cabins should be big enough for someone in a wheelchair or scooter to just roll in. It would basically be up to Disney's operation policy or at the request of the guest as to whether or not the lift actually needs to be slowed or stopped for a few seconds to load them.

        Someone on the other forum invented their own concept of having a separate holding area for cabins where people with strollers, wheelchairs etc. could load at their leisure and then the cabin would then somehow join the main line, but in reality this isn't all that feasible. The cabins are all automatically spaced, and in order for them to rejoin the main line, there has to be space for them. So unless they waited for the same hole they came from to come all the way around, they would have to force their way back in, which would cause the lift to have to slow or stop anyways.

        Loading people in mobility scooters should be way easier than loading them onto some of the actual rides like Small World or or Jungle Cruise, or even a Bus.
        Last edited by SLUSHIE; 02-16-2017, 12:52 PM.


        • #5
          Thank you so much for sharing! This would be really great. Disney World, travel to theme parks by land, air and, sea!
          Theme Park Brews - Where theme parks are just half the fun!


          • #6
            Great detective work. Thanks for sharing this is a really interesting post. Here in London they built a cable car to some of the Olympic venues so they can certainly be used to move large crowds of people


            • #7
              This will be absolutely fantabulous!! Way to move people around, Disney!!