PHOTOS: Disney Gives First Look at Skyliner Gondola Interior, Passive Ventilation Technology

We’ve watched the Skyliner gondolas zooming over parking lots and even over Hourglass Lake just this morning, but the Orlando Sentinel got to take a special inside look at the gondola interiors and has since shared a number of details about the new transportation method coming to Walt Disney World. Thomas Mazloum, a Disney senior vice president who oversees transportation and resorts, said the gondolas would be “absolutely comfortable” as they were specifically designed with the Florida climate in mind. Take a look!

All images courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel‘s inside look video on the Disney Skyliner gondolas.

The gondola fleet will include a total of 300 gondolas that will offer sweeping views of the property. A typical ride on the Skyliner system is set to take between five to 15 minutes, depending on your destination.

Inside, mesh panels on both sides let in a breeze as the gondolas travel at 11 mph. Reflective windows block out sunlight.

Inside, twin wooden benches can carry up to 10 passengers per gondola, including modified gondolas for passengers in wheelchairs. Gondola stations will have passengers constantly loading, but much like an omnimover attraction, Cast Members in charge of loading can pause or slow down the gondola line to allow for extra boarding time as needed.

The gondolas are set to open in the Fall, but will be unveiled come May, and will feature 22 character designs.

Now that you’ve seen the interior (and it does look rather shaded and nice) are you feeling better about the lack of A/C, or still not convinced? Sound off in the comments!

For more information on booking your next trip with our official travel agent sponsor, the Vacationeer, visit wdwnt.travel.

  1. An 11 mph breeze should work nicely to keep guests comfortable in the gondolas. My guess it will get chilly in them at night in the winter, though.

      1. I would hope they close the window vents during the winter.
        Also, FL humidity – in Winter – doesn’t make it warmer when it is cold outside. It makes it colder.

    1. I dont think there’s a logical way to add AC to them. I’ve rode in many gondolas at ski resorts, its just a cable system moving along a track, there’s no place for permanent wiring for electric. Even solar panels wouldn’t be strong enough to run an A/C. I’m sure if there was a logical way, Disney would have made it happen.

  2. Not convinced at all. While moving I am sure it is fine. If you are stranded in one for hours due to some failure of the system or station it will be extremely not ok

    1. There are two backup generators. The first can run it at 90-95% of full speed and keep the system up and running, The second one runs at about 40% of full speed and would be used strictly to clear the line.

      If both backups fail, in addition to regular power, the haul rope can be manually operated to clear the line.

  3. I wonder if the gondolas were what made them make 31″ the max stroller size? My double was 32″ wide and fit everywhere at Disney that we needed it to go

    1. Your stroller is now to large for the new rules. “As of May 1, 2019, a new stroller policy takes effect at all Disney parks, including Disney World. All strollers at Disney World must be no larger than 31 inches wide and 52 inches long.”

    2. Doubt it. Strollers are a bigger issue in the parks than anything and with a huge surge in crowds they wanted to get ahead of it now.

    3. I find it odd that Tom referenced the rule then had it pointed out to him multiple times…

      I thought it was an interesting thought.

  4. Still should have put some kind of cooling feature. The air circulation is great but when its 100 degree air its still super hot.

      1. Technically speaking it pretty much never gets above 95 in Orlando. Typically the hottest months average 92 with vicious dew points. It feels like its 100 but it never actually gets that high. I mean you are going to be outside and hot to begin with anyway. Provided they are moving along with the shade it will easily be cooler in the gondolas than if you were outside walking in the parks. Now, if they stop…

  5. I think they underestimate how much pause and stop that will be needed. Little tykes or older folks like myself. Just look at the buses for an example often they have one or two scooters and a dozen strollers….then us older folks (like myself) just don’t sprint up and move so fast. (as much as we would like too). There will be a lot of long pauses and they will get hot.

    1. When they are in the station they have the doors open and move at a slow speed. If you look at videos from other systems around the world most people have plenty of time to board them. Unlike other systems though they have added a secondary load area where they can pull off a gondola for those that need extra time to load like a wheelchair or a scooter.

  6. Don’t understand why they are allowing wheelchairs on this.. that will slow this down even more.

    1. They have a separate line for disabled people like they have at Toy Story Mania where the vehicle gets loaded then joins the mainline.

    2. Yeah, why don’t they keep all sick and disabled people out of Disney World entirely, just for you 🙄

    3. Because if they didn’t they’d still have to run busses, otherwise get sued under ADA.

    4. that’s an awful statement stefanie. I don’t know you, but chances are I can load onto this gondola faster than you. Im not slow and I use a wheelchair. Please think about the PEOPLE in wheelchairs before you say something like that.

  7. Not sold on these gondolas. Florida in July/Aug./Sept. is brutal. 90* – 98% humidity, 10 people, their bags and crying kids, visitors who don’t use personal hygiene products, not a good picture especially without A/C. I live in Miami and you won’t catch me on these.

    1. And don’t forget the Orlando super thunderstorms. Not well thought out in my South Floridian opinion. I’m with you only ride in the spring.

      1. LOL….Delia, thank goodness you are here to tell Disney they haven’t thought something out! Sheesh, can you loan me a million?

    2. I live in WPB & I’m thinking it will feel like idling along in rush hour traffic at 11 mph with my car windows rolled down…and that’s not comfortable at all (& the windows are tinted, it helps but not that much). Add that to sitting side-by-side with hot/sweaty visitors. I’ll pass & leave room for those in love with these things.

    3. Yes yes yes. This!!! Lived in South Florida all my life. Do not see how this is going to work with no A/C!

  8. Hot, humid air at 11mph does not sound comfortable. What about the times when they may be stopped!

    1. They wont he stopped in the air. There is a method to slow down when loading and unloading if needed. It will be fine.

        1. There are backup generators. I don’t know what Disney went with, but many systems of this type have 2 backup systems: one can support normal operations at full speed, and an entirely separate one to run at slow speed just to evacuate.

    2. Actually any breeze feels amazing when it is hot and humid out. People are sweating already, so when any breeze comes along it will provide a cooling effect. Add to that the reflective glass providing shade. If you are in the shade in Florida with a breeze you are pretty comfortable.

  9. I’m not here to add any value to the discussion. I’m just here to hate and complain about something I’ve never ridden.

    1. Disney: The newest Disney attraction is just Bob Iger taking your wallet and punching you in the throat

      This genius: Bah! All of these plebs complaining about something they’ve never ridden! They don’t know if it will be good or bad! They should just not voice their opinions like I don’t voice mine ever!

    2. Lol. Right? I’m willing to try them first before judgement. The lack of A/C was a concern but perhaps a slow, hot, humid 11mph breeze might prove me wrong. Stay tuned…. :)

  10. IMO, Disney has made yet another poor decision choosing this system… In terms of comfort and efficiency it will not get the job done… For the sake of moving large amounts of people all over WDW an elevated train system was the way to go… An El can be expanded upon fairly easily and would have been a wonderful homage to Walt Disney himself who loved trains!!!

    1. Paolo, Disney has made another poor decision? Earth to Paolo, Earth to Paolo, come in Paolo…..You must work at Universal.

    1. I thought the same thing. Only mesh windows? This will be the wettest ride in the parks…lol.

      1. That’s why they say it won’t be hot🌞! They are counting on the🌨🌩 rain.🤣 But what about December and January coldddd 🌬❄nights?

        1. I’d guess it’d be no cooler than riding the boats from MK to the resorts (which we’ve done several times in January and BRRRR!!!) BUT we’re from MN, so even a cold night at Disney is better than being at home! :-)

    2. Almost all the time it rains here there’s lightening and thunder, which is almost every day in the summer and I wouldn’t want to be in one of these during one of our storms here. These gondolas were a bad decision. They should have extended the monorail system. I don’t know where they think there’ll be an 11mph breeze in July and August. It’s stagnant 90+ degrees until the afternoon rains.

      1. the gondola moves at an average 11mph, hence the ‘breeze’ as air passes through the compartment – the actual physics will vary as the speed varies, the compartment will have deflection and is not a straight passage and takes no account of any actual breeze….

      2. First, the intense, daily summer thunderstorms here typically last only 10-20 minutes. Longer sustained rains are typically not accompanied by lightning the entire time. Second, lightning is well monitored. Just like at a waterpark, they can get everyone off the slides and out of the pools well before lightning strikes. These gondola trips are only a few minutes long, so likewise they know exactly when they have to stop boarding the last gondolas so people are off the line before they need to stop service. Nobody is going to get stranded on one of these things in a thunderstorm. Finally, the 11-mph breeze is generated by the movement of the gondolas which is directed inside the the cabin.

    3. London is full of rain and doesn’t affect us. Though we do not have the lightening storms that Fla gets

    4. Rain won’t be a problem, high winds will be. As an avid snowboarder, I’ve been on many gondolas, and they often shut them down when its very windy.

    5. If it’s JUST rain, yeah, no worries. When the wind kicks up to a certain MPH, I’m sure they’d close it down (I’d say 30mph?). If there’s lightning, yeah, they’d close it down.
      Most storms in FL are rain, rain, rain, WIND, LIGHTNING, WIND, rain, rain, rain… they won’t be down long.

  11. Withholding final judgment until I’ve had a chance to ride, but my initial thoughts are hot and humid air blowing at me even at 11mph is not fun and what about when they stop and the air stops moving? AND they will stop with all the wheelchairs, strollers, ecv’s…. If they say 15 minutes ride, best count on 30

    1. It would be helpful if you did some research before commenting. The system comes to a complete crawl while in the station, giving nearly everyone time to board – even those with mobility issues. This negates any reason for it to be stopped. Further, for those in wheelchairs or needing that extra time, there is a separate loading platform where the gondolas are removed from the line entirely (much like Toy Story Mania).

      Also, you do realize Disney had an operating gondola system in Florida for 25 years, right? Nobody asked for A/C then. Also, do you ask for A/C on the People Mover or Tomorrowland Speedway? Those go about the same speed and nobody is pining for A/C.

  12. I think a lot of people made up their minds long ago that they hate the Skyliner, and they refuse to alter their initial opinion. Most of their concerns are unfounded. Hong Kong’s summers are far worse than Florida’s and yet the lack of A/C isn’t a problem on it’s cable car.

    1. Agreed. I’ve been on the one in Hong Kong in June which is actually worse than Florida’s June. Was it hot? Yep. No hotter than waiting in line to get on it and no hotter than when I got off and walked another 5 hours. It’s Florida people, it’s hot. Why have another 300 ozone depleting vehicles added to the mix? Just walk in 90% humidity for a few miles if you’re scared to ride these.

  13. I do not believe that 11mph will do much to provide cooling ventilation. I can roll my car window down going down the interstate in the summer time in the south and it is NOT refreshing one bit. I can only imagine how bad these will be come summer. At least these may make the Monorails smell pretty good.

    1. Due respect, your window open on the side of the car does not allow for ventilation directly into the vehicle, given the direction of travel. Do you ask for A/C on the Tomorrowland Speedway or the People Mover? Also, you do realize Disney had an operating gondola system for 25 years, right?

      1. You do realize that everything you just mentioned is open air. None of them have a enclosed canopy on it like the new gondolas will.

    1. I love this kind of transportation and the line will be short due to all those people who are against it.

    1. I’m thinking – hoping – that it will be more of a personal thing… like Steve’s Family gets to ride in Gondola #1. Bob’s Family in #2. Susie’s Family in #3. Not Bob+Susie+Steve ALL in one Gondola.
      Maybe if Bob and Susie’s family are 4 total people, they might share a gondola, but I don’t see a “Shove ’em in there!” scenario playing out.

  14. For those saying g it needs AC, every time it leads unloads any coolness would be gone, by the time it cooled u would be getting out. It would need to have closed windows so no ventilation

      1. Monorail is something like 100 times more expensive per linear foot than a gondola system.

        The Skyliner capacity is equal to a full monorail leaving every five minutes.

  15. AC would be incredibly wasteful and inefficient here. How would they be powered? And the cabins would have to be air sealed – Does that sound better in a breakdown? Plus doors will open fully at every stop letting the cold out. I expect they will move VERY slowly at stations so boarding should not be an issue. And modern lifts usually have three speeds – fast (normal), medium, and slow, which would accommodate pretty much any person boarding. Look up Vail Gondola One on YouTube to see pretty much exactly what this system will operate like, with 10 person cabins.

  16. I have to wonder about lightning, I don’t see any lightning rods. That area is the lightning capital of the United States.

  17. If you’ve ever been to Orlando in the summer months you know that ride will be a hot one! Between the heat and the humidity, that will prove to be an adventure in itself. Hope the view is worth the suffering, LOL 🤪

  18. Not to thrilled… to many body’s in a small space for no ac for hot times and heater for colder months

    1. Too many bodies is Disney world. Bring your personal fan/mister if you’re worried about overheating. Personally, I can’t wait to
      try the gondolas.

      1. Dianne likin’ the bodies. My only concern is that the ride is high enough to avoid the flying cockroaches and potential Boa attacks.

  19. All of these somewhat negative comments about size or no A/C. But not one comment about the fact that they also go over water. Um, no thank you.

      1. Easy. The bottom of the gondola opens and everyone drops out into the critter infested swamp.

  20. I like the idea of the skyliner but to all the people that think it will be fine that these car don’t have any ac try something when you’re driving to Disney world. Turn off your ac in your car and roll down all the windows in your car and see how cool you are.

    1. The windows on your car are on the sides, so they do not provide “flow-thru” ventilation as these are designed to provide.

  21. I love how people complain about how hot they think these will be. No one will ever be forced to use them. Just use a another Form of transportation, if you’re not convinced. Problem solved..

  22. Why do seats face each other, rather than the outside. Either passengers have to twist or attempt to look over other passengers heads

    1. More people can fit that way. The gondola would have to be bigger to have 2 benches in the middle of the area. Or, just one bench, but lose 50% capacity. PLUS you wouldn’t be able to really get strollers/wheelchairs in there. I think this is pretty typical of other gondola systems.

  23. Ok, totally different thought…that bench looks hella uncomfortable.

    But color me interested and nostalgic for the old skyway at DLR.

  24. I know it says it accommodates wheelchairs but I wonder if it also accommodates the electric motorized scooter/wheelchairs. I can’t remember what they’re called.

    1. Yes, anything within ADA guidelines should fit. Maybe not the gigantic ones that look like motorcycles.

  25. All I can say the chances these actually hold 10 people the bulk of the time will be next to nil.I can’t see these operating at more than 50% capacity per cab. They don’t look especially roomy, one “City Mini” stroller and it’ll engulf the bulk of the cabin space.

    1. Yup! Wait 30 minutes in the sun for a bus. Takes forever to load and unload and the stops are farther than the station. Wait for that bus and I’ll be in Epcot with my margarita!

  26. Can’t wait to try them! All these people complaining that they won’t ride them will make for wonderfully short lines! I wonder how many have actually researched other places where they are used? My favorite thing though is that all these armchair quarterbacks are the experts, not Disney. That Disney “clearly” didn’t put any time or energy into planning this with top engineers and designers. That they didn’t think of all these things that people are bringing up. 🤦🏽‍♀️

  27. I’m very excited to try it! I actually think it will be much more efficient than the buses as the load time will probably be faster with the scooters and wheelchairs having their own separate queue line. I’m also feeling that the air flow won’t be too bad although the whole body odor thing of some guests in the summer could be an issue. Time will tell but I’m pretty excited about the whole thing! I loved the Skyway in Tomorrowland and was sad when they shut down so this will be a pretty cool replacement!

  28. Hopefully there are provisions to add air or heat in the future or this will turn into one of their biggest flops

  29. Hoping the system is full up and running before our next trip in November. Staying at the Little Mermaid rooms at AoA, which will be right next to the loading station, according to the plans.

  30. It will probably be fine with the breeze until it breaks down and you’re the one stuck there in August with no Breeze🤬

  31. I have read a ton of negative comments on here but basically the reality is this……Disney is not going to put a gun to your head to ride this and if you don’t want to, take the bus. I am 55 and go with 6 people, one my mother-in-law is 84 and she cant wait to get her scooter on this thing.

    Patience people, it is vacation!

  32. I am the COO of a start-up, Airbornway Corp., that has solved the heat and air conditioning problem. We can supply electric power to the gondolas (not battery power. It is an add-on. The new system would not have to be reconstructed. Disney is aware of us and has decided to wait and see before taking any further action. I think this is wise. Our technology is available if and when Disney chooses to add climate control to the gondolas.
    Until our technology was invented, supplying electric power to gondolas and tramways anywhere in the world was only available in battery form.

  33. Best that I can tell, Disney is using the same system used for the Sentosa Cable Car in Singapore, with similar if not identical cabins. Singapore is on average hotter and much wetter than Orlando, but the lack of air conditioning doesn’t seem to be a big deal and a quick read of some reviews of the system showed very few complaints about the lack of AC.

    The biggest complaint I read is that the cabins get stuffy if the vents are closed; in Singapore, because it rains much more, they’ll sometimes close all the vents so the people inside don’t get too wet. That may be an issue on complete washout days in WDW, but the normal passing afternoon shower (or thunderstorm during which the system will most likely be shut down) means they may just leave the vents open and if people get a little wet it’s no big deal.

    And for anyone saying being up 60 ft in the air in a cross-ventilated cable car cabin with specially reflected windows is the same as being in your car with the windows open, please think through your thoughts critically before you write something so foolish.

  34. For all of the people complaining about the heat, clearly you’ve visited Disney during the worst possible time of the year. Choice was all yours. I live in Florida and we have annual passes, yet we only use them during 2 out of 4 seasons due to the heat. Also, if you don’t like Disney’s business model and what they offer, then you don’t have to support them. Again, the choice is all yours. Based on their success, I think it’s pretty bold to say that they’ve made a bad decision. Considering they are ultimately accountable for their decisions, I think it’s best to let them decide what works for them. Finally, if you’re going to Disney, please go to have fun and not to complain. They cannot possibly please everyone on every level, and unfortunately none of us are more special than the rest.

  35. The comments on here remind me of the ratings I read for the Fast And Furious ride at Universal. A friend was interested and I go team reviews and see all these 5 star and one start reviews. I wonder how such a difference in opinion happened. Read the reviews the 5 star we’re all from BEFORE the ride was open. The 1 stars were after people rode it.

    We don’t even know WHO can ride the gondolas. It goes from Epcot and Hollywood Studios to 3 resorts. Has Disney said if it for anybody or just guests of those resorts. Do you get off at the hub to go to Epcot and Hollywood or do they go in a loop. We will know reality in about 5 months I guess.

  36. I have actually been wondering about a logistical issue that I can’t figure out. If you are at the Animation/Pop Century station, and want to go to DHS, do you have to ride it all the way to Epcot and then back (assuming the whole system is one big loop)? If not, how will the gondola “transfer” to the right cable/direction based on your destination?

    Also, at the early morning rush, wont everyone at Animation/Pop Century station fill up each empty gondola so that when it passes Caribbean Beach and then Riviera stations to Epcot there is no opportunity to load?

  37. There are a lot decaffeinated brands on the market that are just as tasty as the real thing. All these commenters need to try some. It will be fine, people.

  38. Anyone on here that is saying they won’t be riding in these is full of it. You know you’re going to try them the first chance you get. As far as the A/C goes, I think the windows will be fine. My main concern would be getting stuck in a gondola for who knows how long if something breaks down. Hopefully there are speakers setup along the line to communicate to guests in those situations.

  39. I only wish the benches were back to back in the middle of the car so everyone was facing out and could enjoy the beautiful views. I’m sure there is a reason they are not like this but just my 2 cents. Only time will tell on the temperature but with pockets as deep as Disney I highly doubt they would do something dumb.

  40. the people worried about alligators are killing me. i assume those people have never ridden in any disney world boat ride then? no splash mountain, no jungle cruise, no ferry boat, no friendship taxis? do they not expect these to be tested thoroughly? do they ever hear about these ever falling off the cables anywhere else they exist in the world?

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