Someone evidently forgot to sprinkle the necessary amount of pixie dust on Walt Disney World’s new Skyliner Gondola System as it’s now closed indefinitely after a multi-hour breakdown Saturday Night. Guests were left dangling in mid-air after the Skyliner route traveling between Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and Epcot “experienced unexpected downtime,” according to a statement release by Disney.
The Gondola system is comprised of almost 300 cabins that travel at about 11 mph and reach heights of up to 60 feet above the ground. After only being opened one week, guests reported the ride coming to a complete stop sometime between 8 and 9pm on Saturday Night.
While Disney has not issued an official statement as to why the system failed, multiple social media outlets have pictures documenting a blue gondola cabin being crashed into by several yellow cabins after not attaching correctly to the cable dispatch system. Shattered glass can be seen on the ground along with the impact of the collision on the cabins that crashed into each other. Reportedly, no one was hurt in the collision that caused the line to ultimately shut down.
One rider, Chris Edenfield, reported to the Orlando Sentinel that he and his disabled mother were trapped in a gondola cabin for over three hours. He said his mother became sick, throwing up inside the cabin because of her nerves. Fortunately, he was able to give her water from the emergency kit kept in each gondola. Edenfield and his mother weren’t evacuated from their cabin until around 11:30pm. He said Disney gave them each two all day park passes and a $100 gift card to compensate for the incident.
The Reedy Creek Fire Department (Walt Disney World’s very own fire station) voiced concerns about the new Skyliner system and the lack of staff currently employed at the station. While the park has continued to expand at breakneck speed, staffing has not proportionately increased to handle all the new attractions. Union president, Sean Pierce said this would have been a very different scenario if this incident had taken place at 4pm with cabins filled to capacity.
Neighboring fire departments, Osceola County and Orange County, were called in for backup but ultimately not needed. After using fire trucks equipped with ladders to evacuate six guests, the system was able to be restarted and the remaining guests stayed in their cabins and returned to the station.
For our upcoming trip in a few months we had already planned on waiting to see if all the kinks had been worked out on the Skyliner system before we gave it a go. Well, needless to say this has pushed our “give it a try date” back much, Much, MUCH further. We understand that things like this happen all the time (like last week when passengers had to climb on top of the monorail to be evacuated after a malfunction) but that still doesn’t make us want to ride the new gondola system any sooner.
How about you? After this incident are you still running to hop on the Skyliner as soon as it soars again or will you stay firmly planted on the ground? We’d love to hear what you think, so let us know in the comments below!
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