Rides at Florida’s Walt Disney World get you dizzy. They get you woozy. They get you screaming. But a new ride just gets you there. And that might make it one of the most popular attractions. The Lake Buena Vista resort on Friday introduced its newest way to get around. An aerial cable car system riding three stories above the ground whisks visitors from hotels to theme parks.
Disney Skyliner cable cars opened to visitors on Sunday as the latest addition to one of the largest private transportation systems in the U.S. Almost 300 enclosed cable cars now join 423 buses, 61 mini-vans (appropriately named Minnie Vans), 30 parking lot trams, 29 watercraft, and 12 monorail trains.
In any given 24 hours, 350,000 people (the population of a medium-sized city) are on Disney World property, which has about the land area of San Francisco, California. The challenge for Disney is to move those visitors quickly and easily from parks to hotels to shopping and restaurant areas.
“There are a lot of benefits to being in the air,” says Alison Armor, vice president of transportation at Disney World. “People are off the roadways. They're moving very smoothly and very seamlessly.”
Each year on average, Disney World visitors take 100 million rides on its entire transportation system, says Thomas Mazloum, a Disney senior vice president. With the Skyliner air gondolas, visitors are treated to neon-colored cars painted with the images of almost two dozen Disney characters. The sky pods move riders at 11 mph along three lines to five stations. From there they can access nine resorts and two parks.
Disney World has four theme parks and more than two dozen resorts. No more than 10 people are allowed in each cable car. A car will arrive every 10 seconds, allowing the cabins to handle about 3,000 people per hour.
When it comes to a Disney vacation, half the challenge is getting there. The other half of the challenge is getting around. Maybe Gondolas will make it a slightly smaller world for foot-sore visitors.
(Gondolas move to various locations at Walt Disney World on the Disney Skyliner aerial tram, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. AP Photo/John Raoux)