Air gondolas join Disney World’s transit system
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Walt Disney World recently introduced its newest way to get around the Florida resort: an aerial cable car system that whisks visitors from hotels to theme parks three stories above the ground while going 11 mph.
The Disney Skyliner cable cars opened to visitors last week and are the latest addition to one of the largest private transportation systems in the U.S. The almost 300 enclosed cable cars 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-size city — can be on Disney World property, which is the physical size of San Francisco. Disney transportation workers need to move them efficiently from parks to hotels to Disney World’s shopping and restaurant districts with as little friction as possible.
“There are a lot of benefits to being in the air,” said Alison Armor, vice president of transportation at Disney World. “People are off the roadways. They’re moving very smoothly and very seamlessly.”
In a given year, Disney World visitors take 100 million rides on its entire transit system, said Thomas Mazloum, a Disney senior vice president.
With the Skyliner air gondolas, visitors get neon-colored cars painted with the images of almost two dozen Disney characters taking them on the three lines to five stations where 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 an hour.