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RUMOR: Skyway Gondola Transportation System Between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios to be Constructed

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This one is a bit wacky, but according to recent permits filed by the Walt Disney World, it seems that a Skyway-type gondola transportation system may be installed to transport guests between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (as well as a few resort hotels in between).

If you think Skyway systems are out of date, think again. New York City still utilizes such a system to and from Roosevelt Island and has proposed an additional system for the future, seen here.
If you think Skyway systems are out of date, think again. New York City still utilizes such a system to and from Roosevelt Island and has proposed an additional system for the future, seen here.

If the buildings on the permits are indeed for stations, the system would include stops at Epcot’s International Gateway, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, a shared station at the Pop Century and Art of Animation Resorts, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. See our illustration below:

The rumored route, stops and turns of Walt Disney World's new Skyway system.
The rumored route, stops and turns of Walt Disney World’s new Skyway system.

It’s no secret that Disney will not build a monorail expansion for cost and efficiency reasons, so would they build this instead? The timing seems right with the massive expansion work at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and soon-to-commence at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. The stations and turns are in spaces not currently used by any other structures or infrastructure.

The original Skyway attraction once operated at the Magic Kingdom park from 1971 until 1999. This new system would likely include much larger, enclosed gondolas, however (similar to the New York system pictured at the top of the article). It would be nice to have the Skyway back at Walt Disney World, in name at least. A modern homage to a classic Disney attraction that would now serve a real transportation purpose for many a guest.

The original Magic Kingdom Skyway
The original Magic Kingdom Skyway

We will keep you in the loop as more information on this rumored project becomes available.

Our thanks to the group of Disney World fans who pieced together this information!

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.

81 Comments

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  • Hopefully this is something we can all agree is a terrific idea without the whining and bellyaching that normally goes on in the comment section.

  • I wish there was a way to get from the current Epcot boat landing area to the monorail without going through the park. That would allow those staying near Epcot or Hollywood Studios to get to the TTC and Magic Kingdom without using a bus.

    • I dont see them taking this (if it happens) all the way back to the international gateway, it would make more sense to keep it going straight after CBR directly into the epcot transportation hub in the front of the park

      • There are a couple advantages to stopping at the IG. It would provide access to all the Epcot resorts including the Boardwalk area for people who might want to take advantage of the restaurants there, or people want another transportation option (although round about) to DHS. At will also transfer some of the guest load from the busy front entrance to the usually much less busy IG entrance. If you get to the IG and want to transfer to somewhere else, it’s a short walk to the Yacht/Beach club busses.

  • This is so unexpected, a really innovative idea. One can’t help but wonder if Disney feels envious of Universal’s Hogwart’s Express and has been exploring the possibility of park-to-park novelty transportation ever since that opened. This would make hopping between Epcot and Hollywood Studios much more convenient and appealing– and help Disney sell more of those expensive park-hopper passes. Rate increases at the hotels where the skyway stops will certainly rise as well. I will be very interested to see how this pans out.

  • This is a very expensive system ( towers, expense gondolas, stations and has some limitations.

    1. Limited capacity, the monorail can carry more, faster.

    2. I see strollers and wheel chairs being slow to load.

    3. Slow ……

    We need more details.

    AKK

    • Adding on to the monorail system would be even more expensive than adding a gondola system. While I agree that the capacity is limited vs. a monorail, this system should be looked at as an additional means of transportation. It will not be replacing bus service between these locations, but enhancing the transportation options and removing some pressure from the current systems in place. Plus Disney has no desire to expand the monorail system when this is a more economical option.

      Some gondola systems have gondolas that can be detached at the station to facilitate wheelchair and stroller loading in order to keep the system moving with fewer delays.

      The Roosevelt Island gondolas in New York move at a decent clip, but I don’t think speed is a major factor here. This is an attraction all to itself. And there will always be some people that will say “you’re not getting me in that thing. I’ll take the bus.”

    • Personally I would mind if this was a slow ride. The views of WDW would be so cool from up above. It’s a wonder Disney would even consider this when you consider how much “behind the scenes” warehouses and stuff would be visible to guests, but most of the journey should be very scenic and beautiful. Of course I might not feel the same way if I was trying to get to Hollywood Studios quickly for Brown Derby reservations– but the time still might be comparable to driving if you factor in having to walk to your car, find a new parking spot, and enter the other park. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes.

    • Modern gondola lifts can carry up to 3500 or more people per hour. Can easily handle wheelchairs and the handicap in the stations. Gondolas can carry up to 30 passengers per cabin and be safely carried. Doppelmayr would be the manufacturer

      • Disney doesn’t even run half their monorails to spare paying people to work them anymore, and the ones they have break. 2017 Disney is toooooooooooooooooooo cheap for this to EVER happen. Maybe in Disney Shangai where Disney has very little say.

        • Why does Disney have very little say at Disney Shanghai?

          I’ve always loved the Disney monorail. Going through the Contemporary? Reminds me of being a little girl with my grandfather
          love it

  • It’s the internet folks, this isn’t journalism, who cares where the info came from. It’s a public forum whether here or on their forums. If it was a sanctioned press release then it needs a source. If they didn’t treat Tom the way they did then there wouldn’t be the tension. They don’t like each other, get it through your head. Coming on here and yelling at Tom for not sighting them as source is a waste of time. You know it, I know it. Not everyone reads both sites, the freedom of being able to choose is up to you. If you love them, stay there. You want to bug someone about not sighting sources go check with the Orlando Sentinel.

  • There is already boat transport from DHS to EPCOT. Wouldn’t it be easier, and probably cheaper, just to dig a new canal from EPCOT to CBR, then connect the lake at CBR to Pop?

  • I love this idea! I have had an annual pass for years and would love to have another way to get around the parks and this just sounds like a fantastic win for everyone. On a side note, my hope is that they eventually add Star Wars themed areas to multiple parks with Star Wars themed transportion between these areas…like the Hogwarts Express. I know it’s not likely, but imagine a VR equipped rollercoaster that runs from the Star Wars land in the Studios to a future (I wish) Star Wars land in Epcot where you battle the Empire along the way. Would be a dream come true for me!

  • Cool idea. I put this in category of have to see it to believe it. Huge safety issues, ADA, and it costs money, which Disney doesn’t like to spend.

    • There are not safety issues or ADA compliance concerns when it’s being done in New York and it carries a good number of people.

      • Yes there are, when Disney hasn’t even invested YET in mechanisms to reach people on high points of monorail in emergency and break down. You’re looking at 15-20 minute response if smoke or a fire and the bring a tug to pull it to where the Reedy Creek equipment can buy it. they’re gonna be toast. I don’t think you comprehend how much Disney cuts corners. This is just not going to happen.

  • I cannot believe that no one credited the Swiss for the gondolas. Not really sure how it will fix into the theming of Caribbean Beach and Pop. Universal is the gold standard right now for themining. I wonder if they will cut all or some busses from those resorts if this gets built. Polynesian has no bus to Epcot because of the Monorail station next store at TTC. This has to be cheaper then running buses to get built

    • Two permits filed with the South Florida Water Management District show a series of unusual buildings be proposed for CBR and around DHS. When you look at the shape, orientation and alignment of these buildings they look exactly like what would be needed for a gondola system. This is coupled with rumblings from various “insiders” saying that this is something that Disney has been considering.

  • I have always wished for SkyTran to come to the Orlando area. SkyTran could easily cover this area with a large loop as opposed to turns and dead ends. The SkyTran cars would not have to travel at high speed but a good steady monorail speed. Also having on demand pods waiting for guests instead of the guests waiting for a gondola would seem so much more efficient.

    http://www.skytran.com/

  • An ummanned tram service will be much cheaper than a skyway and monorail. It’s odd to see the skyway make 2 turns with no stops. The station before DHS is another time waster. They should just go direct from Epcot and DHS with no stops.

    • There is already non-bus transportation options from Epcot to DHS, so I think this is more about getting people from CBR directly to both Epcot and DHS since CBR is about to get a big makeover that is likely to include DVC units.

        • There are two buildings at CBR that could be stations. Both have alignment with other structures that appear to be part of this system. Doesn’t make sense to route the system through CBR if there is not going to be a station there.

  • […] WDWNT has what they call a “wacky rumor”, but honestly it’s not that implausible. The new rumor says that Walt Disney World is looking to build a new Skyway Gondola system. In fact there are permits filed for it. The new plans call for a new transportation system using high tension cables and gondolas to transport guests from the resorts to the parks. It could also be used to transport guests from park to park. […]

  • Just shocking. 4 Major websites have cited credit to WDWMAGIC yet you don’t even have the decency to do so. Shows how good of a website this is. All WDWNT does is steal information and claim that it was insider information.
    From The Great Movie Ride rumors to now the gondolas. Just despicable.

    • Such feelings for someone with obvious microphalus, or who contributes for another internet site. What was wdwmagic’s source? Hmmm. This is not a news paper old man. And it is a rumor to begin with, and one which VERY unlikely to happen anyhow. Disney won’t spend extra money for a minimum wage person to open an extra turnstile or two so guests wait longer for the park. Disney doesn’t open half the tables in their over crowded restaurants and cuts chefs so guests wait longer…nobody believes this internet ‘what it’ to be true nor credible. If you’re unhappy with the site, you don’t have to visit it! We like how Tom is honest on this site and not all sunshine and rainbows, nor overly pessimistic.

      • Original source is construction permits filed by Disney into the public record. There have also been a number of sources that have confirmed this is happening, but even if we discount those as rumor, the information in the permits is pretty compelling.

  • Why would Animal Kingdom not be included – that is the toughest park to get too. Each time we visit we wonder when will they extend the monorail to AK.

    • I’m pretty sure that will never happen in our lifetime. The benefit-cost ratio involved wouldn’t make any sense at all. Even to one of the richest corporations on the planet. Bombardier built the Las Vegas monorail (the same Mark Vi that we have at WDW) for $88mil a mile over a decade ago. So to build a monorail from the TTC to Animal Kingdom would run over half a billion dollars.

  • Wow did channel 9 ask any other web sites for an interview NO they went straight to tom .good job.other sites are too uptight.

  • Does this have anything to do with the construction that is currently tanking place behind the Germany Pavilion at Epcot?

  • I was wondering how Disney would push a Caribbean Beach DVC , especially now that it’s been confirmed they’re going to demolish a couple of the Islands and turn them into a Tower similar to Bay Lake tower.
    By putting in the Gondola System, Disney will be able to push this as a high end resort that has access to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

  • I am excited. I can’t wait.. I will be at the parks in September. I hope it’s up and running by then.

    I wish I had seen the original skyway system at MK. Personally, I’d prefer the station be between Epcot and the resorts, but as I am understanding, it will be over near the monorail, correct?
    That would make it possible to go to the monorail without going through the park..

    I don’t know, as someone mentioned, it as an answer to the Hogwarts Express, then it would be more of an attraction and one would require a park hopper to ride it as Universal has enforced.

    That may be extremely attractive to those staying at the resorts being serviced, as it would reduce any lines at the parks.. I don’t know.. I guess we will find out when complete.

    This may be off topic a bit, but wouldn’t it be exciting to have this available between the Animal Kingdom resorts and Animal Kingdom park?

    Could you imagine the views available?