Walt Disney World’s Skyliner gondola system reopens today with modified hours following a week of downtime. This follows last weekend’s malfunction that caused cabins to smash into one another at the Riviera Resort station, resulting in aerial evacuations after some guests had been stranded for three hours.
We spotted the Skyliner testing all lines numerous times from Thursday through Saturday, but nothing particularly noteworthy. It was more or less how pre-opening testing went, with the cabins cycling for a few minutes and then stopping for a few minutes. As we noted in our Walt Disney World News & Rumor Round-up, ‘Resort Skyliner’ buses were operating in lieu of the actual gondolas, with signs up about the indefinite closure.
Prior to today, Walt Disney World hadn’t released any statements about the Skyliner since last Sunday; it was pretty much radio silence regarding the Skyliner for a week. The Skyliner has quietly opened today with a small notice on DisneyWorld.com about the reduced operating hours along with a new statement, both of which are below…
If we had to guess (and this is exactly that–a totally uninformed guess), the lack of subsequent communications could result from Walt Disney World, Doppelmayr, and other stakeholders in the construction and installation process (general contractor, subcontractors, etc.) playing the blame game over legal liability and culpability for the incident.
If Disney is confident that this incident was not caused by Cast Member error or improper operations of the Skyliner, but rather an installation or manufacturing error, that’s something that’ll be handled via litigation. Unfortunately, that doesn’t undo or correct the initial statements from Walt Disney World, which were handled poorly. The bungled communications efforts and follow-up messaging (or lack thereof) have probably amplified the problem, rather than minimized it.
Above is what you’ll see if you head to DisneyWorld.com to find out more about the Skyliner.
Below is the My Disney Experience pop-up message that appears in the app.
Here’s Walt Disney World’s statement:
“We know many of you have been looking for an update on Disney Skyliner and are glad to share that it has reopened to guests today. Following a complete review with the manufacturer, we’ve made adjustments to our processes and training, and we are improving how we communicate with guests during their flight with Disney Skyliner.
We again offer our deepest apologies to the guests impacted by the malfunction that resulted in extended operating delays on Oct. 5.”
“Similar to ski lift systems, Disney Skyliner may slow or come to some stops during the ride, particularly when we need to accommodate guests who require additional time to load their cabin. We want to assure you that the comfort of every guest is important to us.
As a reminder, Disney Skyliner connects Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios to four Disney resort hotels: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort (and the forthcoming Disney’s Riviera Resort, a Disney Vacation Club resort set to open Dec. 16, 2019).
We greatly appreciate your ongoing patience and understanding, and we look forward to welcoming you back aboard Disney Skyliner.”
Beginning today and continuing tomorrow, all Walt Disney World Skyliner stations will from 8 am until 10:30 pm. Unspecified system updates later this week will result in modified operating hours for October 16-18, 2019:
October 16, 2019: The Disney’s Hollywood Studios line will be closed completely while the other two Skyliner routes will operate with shortened hours of 1 pm until 10:30 pm.
October 17-18, 2019: All lines will have a delayed opening, operating from 1 pm until 10:30 pm.
As previously noted, our personal experiences with the Skyliner have been positive. We cover initial impressions in our Skyliner Gondola Review: Walt Disney World’s Most Magical Flight on Earth article, and subsequently used the gondolas for Extra, Extra Magic Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot’s rope drop. We plan on doing the same again this coming week, and intend upon incorporating the Skyliner into a blog post about park opening at those parks.
Moreover, we have zero hesitations about riding the Skyliner going forward. We’ll be heading over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot later today, taking a few rides on the Skyliner to see how smoothly operations are going. We’ll update you at that time with more photos, commentary, etc. from Walt Disney World’s new aerial transportation system!
What do you think of the Skyliner reopening? Are you satisfied with how Walt Disney World has handled this situation and communicated the nature of the closure with guests? Will you ride the Skyliner going forward? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!