News New Gondola Transportation - Disney Skyliner - Every Possible What If ....? Has Been Discussed.

Phroobar

Well-Known Member
They need to build the gondola system at Disneyland. It could go from Fantasyland to Tomorrowland. They could put some holes in the Matterhorn so the gondola can go through.

Even better make the gondolas look like Star Speeders and have them leave Tomorrowland for Star Wars land.
 

NoTime42

New Member
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Wouldn't an Epcot monorail line expansion have to go outside the Contemporary and BLT on the Bay Lake side?
 

Disney-Trains

Well-Known Member
Why would they re reroute the monorail to bypass security? The plan last I heard was to screen all guests prior to boarding monorails and ferries. Sounds like that's the plan for the gondolas too.

As I mentioned earier... Disneyland just recently expanded the secure "bubble" to include both parks and all of downtown Disney. I'm pretty sure that's where we are headed in Florida, it's just going to take a lot more planning and infrustructure to accomplish it.
 

marni1971

WDW History nut
Premium Member
I have been thinking about the monorail more and would not be surprised if they built a spur to Tomorrowland on the Epcot line..
The monorail will not be extended in WDW.

Bold statement I know, but from recent conversations this won't change unless there is a wholesale change of management from Transportation all the way to Burbank.
 
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Kamikaze

Well-Known Member
The monorail will not be extended in WDW.

Bold statement I know, but from recent conversations this won't change unless there is a wholesale change of management from Transportation all the way to Burbank.
I don't have access to the information that you do, but this is the only logical conclusion. The costs are prohibitive. I would think even with wholesale management changes, the new management would see it the same way.
 

mwf5555

Active Member
Sometimes I think WDWMagic's tagline should be "WDWMagic... Monorail News, Rumors, Info and Forum"

Anyway, I know everyone's getting whipped into a fervor over this, but has anyone thought about how this thing is going to look sticking up behind France?

Please excuse my 2 minute photoshop hack job.

no worse than the swan and dolphin...
 

Nubs70

Well-Known Member
I've been skiing a bunch of times in the Poconos in PA does that qualify me as part of the ski crowd or do I need to go to a "real" mountain;)

I do think they will need to keep a large open floor space on the gondolas for wheelchairs, strollers and ECVs which is something that ski resorts never have to deal with. It will probably lower the overall capacity a little. From the examples I have seen the gondolas should be moving slow enough at load/unload to easily accommodate strollers and experienced wheelchair users. Where there may be an issue is guests who have rented an ECV and are not as familiar with operating it. I've seen bus drivers pull people's scooters on to the bus because they can't get it to work. I assume that if that happens they will need to stop the whole line like when someone falls getting off of a simple ski lift. It could slow things down some.
You need to go to a real mountain. Not to qualify yourself but to see how damn beautiful it is and how small and insignificant we all are in the grand scheme of creation.

Real mountains have a 3000-5000ft vertical. It takes 3-4 lifts to get from base to summit.
 

jt04

Well-Known Member
Why would they re reroute the monorail to bypass security? The plan last I heard was to screen all guests prior to boarding monorails and ferries. Sounds like that's the plan for the gondolas too.

As I mentioned earier... Disneyland just recently expanded the secure "bubble" to include both parks and all of downtown Disney. I'm pretty sure that's where we are headed in Florida, it's just going to take a lot more planning and infrustructure to accomplish it.
For the same reason the new inter-park busses were added. Easier to park hop and less security screenings required.

They need to build the gondola system at Disneyland. It could go from Fantasyland to Tomorrowland. They could put some holes in the Matterhorn so the gondola can go through.

Even better make the gondolas look like Star Speeders and have them leave Tomorrowland for Star Wars land.
Nice

Wouldn't an Epcot monorail line expansion have to go outside the Contemporary and BLT on the Bay Lake side?
Not if they wanted to use a new hotel. Which could act as a support structure similar to the Contemporary.

Why would they re reroute the monorail to bypass security? The plan last I heard was to screen all guests prior to boarding monorails and ferries. Sounds like that's the plan for the gondolas too.

As I mentioned earier... Disneyland just recently expanded the secure "bubble" to include both parks and all of downtown Disney. I'm pretty sure that's where we are headed in Florida, it's just going to take a lot more planning and infrustructure to accomplish it.
A quick internal portal from DL to DCA would be amazing. Tunnel?

The monorail will not be extended in WDW.

Bold statement I know, but from recent conversations this won't change unless there is a wholesale change of management from Transportation all the way to Burbank.
I sincerely believe it would save money over the long haul. Great quality addition that would only encourage more visits too. Not just savings on overhead.

And I keep thinking about that odd extra support they installed near the TTC several years ago.
 

Flalex72

Well-Known Member
I've read all 70 pages in this thread so far, and think we can move the discussion forwards a bit with some more background information on ropeways and cable propelled transport. A bit about myself: I'm an avid skier, I've worked at a ski hill in Ontario for 7 years now and have researched CPT for urban settings. I'm curretly studying engineering, with an interest in transportation. Though I've never operated a detachable ropeway, I have used detachable chairlifts, chondolas and gondolas many times. I've also participated in the WDW ICP.

Some terminology to start:
"Ropeway" is a catch-all term to describe systems where the carrier, be it a chair or gondola type, is suspended from a cable.
"Cable Propelled Transport" includes ropeways, as well as ground-supported systems pulled by a wire rope, such as the SF cable cars or the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay Tram.
"Detachable" means that the carriers detach from the cable in stations or other locations. Without being detachable, systems are limited to the speed people can load. On skis, this is about 2.3 m/s continususly, but on foot it is much slower. The other solution is to stop or slow the rope when the carriers are in the station. Some systems manage this by having only 1 or 2 carriers on the line in a switchback, and some do this by having 2 or 4 clusters of smaller cabins on the line, a "pulse" style gondola.

Based on all of the speculation so far, it seems to be safe to assume that this will be a detachable, enclosed, gondola-type ropeway. They provide the maximum flexibility, and are the most common type of enclosed CPT in North America. There are two major manufacturers of ropeways on the planet, Doppelmayr and Leitner / Poma. The chance of this system being supplied by a a company other than one of these two is pretty much nil, but if you're looking at plans, look out for Leitner-Poma of America, CTEC, Skytrac, CWA, Garaventa or Sigma, all subsidiaries or past names related to these two companies. Both companies have built many ropeways in North America, including urban installations; Leitner-Poma rehabilitated the Roosevelt Island Tram and Doppelmayr built the Portland Aerial Tram.

Cable transport is popular because it is simple, cheap, capable and flexible. Long systems can be built cheaply because there is minimal ground impact, only a few towers, and wire rope is inexpensive. The expensive components are gathered in the terminals where they are easy to maintain and monitor. In Florida, though the ground is flat, a system that requires only a few foundations is a major upside when each foundation requires careful engineering.

The simplest system that fits what we know so far is a detachable monocable gondola. In a detachable monocable gondola, carriers holding 4-12 people are hung from a single cable like you would think of a traditional ski lift. These systems are common, flexible, simple and the least expensive possibility. In a detachable monocable gondola, a loop of wire rope rotates between two large bullwheels, one in each terminal. The gondolas are hug from a special grip that clamps onto the haul rope with a spring. As the carrier enters the terminal, wheels on the side of the grip are caught by a track that carries the weight of the carrier through the terminal. An arm on the grip is then pushed up or down by a ramp, opening the clamp and releasing the grip from the rope. A series of rubber tires catches the top of the grip, gradually slow the carrier down down to a safe loading speed and carries it through the terminal. Generally, a small section of tires is computer controlled, and can operate faster or slower as needed to keep all of the carriers on the line evenly spaced. Once on the other side, more tires accelerate the carrier back to line speed, the grip opens and clamps down onto the rope again. A series of sensors is used to ensure this happens successfully, and if there are any issues, the system stops automatically. As the carriers attach and detatch, there is usually shudder and noise, but this can be mitigated to some extent.

If all of this seems confusing, this video shows a detachable chairlift, identical to a detachable monocable gondola, entering and exiting a terminal.

The majority of new monocable gondolas are designed to hold eight people, usually in two inward-facing benches. This design easily accommodates a wheelchair or scooter in the centre of the cabin, though not all seats may be usable if the cabin is small. As most ski resort gondolas rarely load wheelchairs, the ropeway is usually stopped while loading or unloading takes place, though this is only for a few seconds. At WDW, I could see a system more like that shown in Doppelmayr's Combined Lift brochure where some carriers are diverted onto a second track and loaded there, like we see at TSMM, being more accommodating.

Some important things to consider when thinking about ropeways: the individual rope can really only turn outside corners. In most systems, this means a 180 degree turn at each end of the route, though some systems have been built in a triangle shape. The rope cannot turn inside corners as any wheels rotating on a vertical axis to turn the cable would interfere with the grips holding the carriers. The indoor chairlift in Dubai solves this issue with a complex automated system that lines up a gap in the wheel with the carrier's grip, but I can't see that being replicated here. If a very slight bend in the route is needed, about 5 degrees or less, this can be accomplished by slightly tilting the sheaves that support the cable as it travels over a tower.

The solution to handling corners in a detachable system is to have the carriers enter a terminal and detach from the haul rope. The carriers can then be rolled through the corner on the small grip wheels, and reattached to the haul rope on the other side. That haul rope may be the same one the carrier was just attached to, or it may be a completely separate loop of rope. For flexibility, when this corner is also used to load or unload, the loops are often separate allowing them to be operated independently. For this reason, the discussion of "lines" is somewhat inaccurate. We should be considering what routes will be operated continuously, and what routes will require a transfer.

An upgrade from the detachable monocable gondola is the detachable bicable gondola. There are two variations of this system, but they are both uncommon and unlikely to be installed here. The first variation has one heavy wire rope that does not move. The carrier hangs from this rope on sheaves or pulleys. a smaller wire rope below this is connected to the grip and pulls the carrier along. This allows the carriers to be slightly bigger and have a greater wind resistance, but the improvements over a monocable aren't going to make a big enough difference to justify it here. The other bicable system, a funitel, has two moving cables spread apart a couple of metres. Two grips on each carrier suspend it between each cable. This system has a high wind resistance and a greater capacity, around 24 people. It also allows for some really cool terminals, like this one on the Funitel Galzigbahn:
The downside to funitels is that the intermediate towers are more complex, while the upside is that the distance from the bottom of the cabin to the top of the grip is minimal, so towers can be lower.

The 3S design has become a lot more common lately, because of its greater capability. The Whistler Blackcomb Peak2Peak that has been mentioned frequently is of this type. Two fixed wire ropes about 1m apart support the cabin, while a third cable in the middle moved and propels the cabin along. These cabins are larger, around 30 people. These systems are often used where difficult terrain is encountered and long spans are required. I know there have been some people who think this will be the system Disney chooses, however I have my doubts. These systems are more expensive, especially the terminals. With multiple corners and terminals, this would have a large cost impact. They are also generally taller, to allow for longer spans and taller carriers, which would cause more visual pollution. The larger carriers are also more difficult to separate onto different tracks within the stations.

Examining the plans, we may deduce something about the ropeway from the shapes of the buildings. The station at DHS has a long wide rectangle and a long narrow rectangle. The narrow portion is likely the section where the carriers will accelerate and decelerate. The wide portion would be the loading area, and could be long to accommodate multiple tracks or an enclosed waiting area. I would think that loading and loading would take place on ground level at this station as it is the terminus.

At CBR south, the large building is likely the maintenance and drive station. Ropeways only need each loop to be driven from one end, and though the motors aren't loud, it makes sense to centralize them away from from hotels. The carriers also need a place to be stored and maintained, and this takes a large space. Carrier storage and maintenance is possibly a level above or below the operating level. If this is the drive station, it is likely that three loops will be driven separately from this location, allowing for one of the to be closed independently of the others. Although transfers are possible, another simple possibility is that carriers move continuously from POP to CBR North, stopping at this station to allow transfers to the DHS leg. In this case, I would guess that the two routes would be on different levels to simplify transfers. The third case here is that cabins could be routed through this station from any one leg to another, either with a stop in the middle or with some cabins not stopping and stopping cabins moving down to a lower level where boarding and alighting takes place.

CBR North is an interesting design. It makes sense to locate a station here, however the building is much wider and shorter than the other corner. All gondolas require space if they are to accelerate as they enter and exit the terminal, as well as space to load and unload. I'm not sure how this building is big enough to permit adequate acceleration and deceleration as well as loading space. It almost feels like we're missing something here. Even if there isn't loading here, carriers would still need to decelerate significantly due to the angle of the corner. Either way, if we assume loading and unloading will take place here I would think that this will take place on the second level with ramps or elevators up to the platform on each side. It could also have a bypass for carriers not stopping there. I would guess that there are no drive motors at this station. Depending on how things are laid out, carriers could continue through the station or turn around and go back the way they came, which might be useful when EPCOT and DHS close at different times and loading is uneven.

With no drives at the CBR North Station, the BW parking lot structure will likely drive the two loops of cable that connect it. Unlike CBR North, this structure looks long enough for carriers to accelerate, but doesn't seem to make sense as a station.

I hope that with some more information about the features of gondolas this discussion will continue better informed. Let me know if you have any questions.
 

Flalex72

Well-Known Member
Another maintenance thing to consider:

Monorails have multiple drive motors and even more moving parts/brake systems in addition to suspension and the door hardware. Then there's the electrical lines which need cleaning and maintenance. Tons of upkeep be car, per train, per line. Gondolas usually have 2 or 3 traction/drive motors and accompanying suspension/tension systems and that's it. Everything (except for air conditioning) on the cars and the doors are usually manual or at least not motor driven. Of course there are upkeep and maintenance costs and parts will fail on both systems and I'm not expert on either one of these systems, but one has to assume that upkeep for gondolas is a fraction of the cost of the monorail.

Monorail has a door problem: let it sit on the platform and clog up the line for 20 minutes while they wait for maintenance to fix it. Then if they can't, wait another 10-15 minutes for them to pull the train form service.
Gondola has a door problem: move to maintenance spur in about 15 seconds, go back to normal operation.
Monorail has a drive motor problem: shut down the line, get out the tug, drag the train through multiple track switches back to the roundhouse. Takes an hour or more and usually results in multiple lines being down.
Gondola has a drive motor problem: turn on the back up motor and continue operation.
Monorail loses power for a sustained period: evacuate, news helicopters, hours of headaches.
Gondola loses power: Redundant generator takes over and everyone's off in 15 minutes.

It's not always that cut and dry, but you can see the difference pretty easily.
Gondolas are very flexible from a breakdown concern as you mention. A cabin with a minor issue might not even be removed immediately, it is possible for operators to flag cabins so an alarm sounds when the cabin enters a terminal. The staff then know not to load that cabin and it continues around and around until it is a good time to remove it from circulation.

How they configure the interior of the gondolas is up to Disney. The more seats, the less people. But I'm pretty sure that this is the manufacturer and model.
The good news is that most smaller gondolas are designed so every passenger gets a seat, as they are often small enough to make standing uncomfortable. Even larger, 30 passenger gondolas often have enough space for everyone to sit.

It is no easier to open the door of the gondola then it would be to open the door of a monorail. The pilot on board a monorail in no way can prevent a guest from trying to open one of the 28 doors on a monorail that the cast member cannot see. This is prevented by electronic and mechanical systems that would exist on the gondola the same as they exist on the monorail.

This is not just a rumor
Gondola doors are very difficult to open from inside, and just about impossible if you didn't come prepared to do so. Even if someone manages to do this, there's not much that can be done about it. Two way audio might be installed in the cabin, but the only option is to keep the system running until the cabin reaches a terminal.

So you guys are pretty sure about the gondolas then? It just seem like overkill for one resort, and is not real "next-gen". It would have the same problem as a monorail or track based system in that you can't expand on it very easily, but Disney has these trackless ride systems now for things like Toy Story Spin and Google has their driver-less cars. Some type of "Driver-less Bus" or "Driver-less Tram" would get the job done, all it would need is it's own private road way, and wouldn't need to be elevated except for the occasional bridge over the existing roads. this "L shaped" structure to me looks like a place were 2 separate road way would connect, one "express" way just between the Studios and Epcot's Intentional gateway and then a secondary spur off to the Caribbean Beach Resort, and potentially the Port Orleans, Old Key West, ans Saratoga Springs resorts as well
Gondolas are much cheaper and easier to build than something that requires a road or structure. Tower bases are small and can be built quickly, and the cables between them are nothing compared to the cost of asphalt or concrete. Gondolas are also novel for many guests, especially with smaller children, and they do feel a bit like flying. Finally, gondolas are easily expanded upon or renovated and upgraded over time.

Sorry if I have missed this, but typically how long does it take to build a gondola? I know we're talking Disney speed here... but what's anyone's best guess? 2020? Sooner?
They can be built during a skiing off season, so in theory, 6-7 months.
Permits for the buildings say construction lasts until 2019.
For a system of this size, most construction would be off-site. You would want the permits to be signed now, so construction of the components can begin. They'll be stockpiled until things are ready to continue, and then it would take less than a year to install the entire thing.

Monorail is made out of fiberglass and there have been monorails struck with lightning without suffering major issues, so I don't think its a fair comparison. The skyway was shutdown during severe weather, but it was totally open to the elements. I really doubt Disney lawyers will even entertain running this during bad weather. Lastly the monorail A/C can't keep up because of poor design and/or maintenance, I have little faith that whatever system they do install accross the many gondolas that are installed will work well when it's 95 hot and humid in a glass enclosed bubble.
A/C is my largest concern. It's difficult to get power to a gondola beyond a small battery and solar panel to run some LED lights any maybe an emergency comm system. Most heaters is gondolas are propane or somehow recharged quickly in the stations. A/C is very power hungry and likely beyond what batteries could handle. There could be interesting solutions, or it could be as simple as making the stations super cold and trying to ensure the cabins start the trip as cool as possible as each leg will only take a minute or two.

Roosevelt Island Tramway is amazing engineering considering the size of the vehicles and it has been running since the 70s with only two issues in that time. It doesn't run constantly all day but it does during rush hour.
With the exception of some supports being re-used, the Roosevelt Island tram was completely replaced in 2010.
 

GoofGoof

Premium Member
You need to go to a real mountain. Not to qualify yourself but to see how damn beautiful it is and how small and insignificant we all are in the grand scheme of creation.

Real mountains have a 3000-5000ft vertical. It takes 3-4 lifts to get from base to summit.
I've been to a few of the larger mountains in New England but never out west. They are like half that size. We were looking at doing a trip out to Whistler but it never came together.
 

WDW95

Active Member
Why not create more water connections? I get that originally moderates were designed not to have "special" transportation but if they're going more upscale, it wouldn't be that hard to add some canals connecting. From DHS, there could be a new River along Buena Vista Drive to CBR. A new international gateway can be built by Italy and CBR can connect there. Even a canal could be built which extends to POR and even OKW. Coronado Springs can get a waterway connecting to DAK.

They just have to use higher speed boats and better capacity. The boats already on property travel further than these proposed routes. Think of the route from Disney Springs to POR and from Fort Wilderness to MK.

I can't imagine building new canals to be too expensive, no?
 

flynnibus

Premium Member
I can't imagine building new canals to be too expensive, no?
Boats are slow to load and dispatch. They also have a lot of liability in terms of being free moving vehicles and need to move around other vehicles. They also shutdown in weather.

Canals also form barriers that are expensive to cross. You can't really make them a whole lot faster because of wake/erosion issues.

But I think the capacity and slow load/unload is what kills the boats. The steady quick turnaround of the gondolas is what will make them customer favorites.
 

Gabe1

Ivory Tower Squabble EST 2011. WINDMILL SURVIVOR
Premium Member
Why not create more water connections? I get that originally moderates were designed not to have "special" transportation but if they're going more upscale, it wouldn't be that hard to add some canals connecting. From DHS, there could be a new River along Buena Vista Drive to CBR. A new international gateway can be built by Italy and CBR can connect there. Even a canal could be built which extends to POR and even OKW. Coronado Springs can get a waterway connecting to DAK.

They just have to use higher speed boats and better capacity. The boats already on property travel further than these proposed routes. Think of the route from Disney Springs to POR and from Fort Wilderness to MK.

I can't imagine building new canals to be too expensive, no?
Expense I cannot speak to. I stay at the Portofino at Universal. Never Ever had the problems with boats to the park like I've had problems with buses to the parks or painfully long waits for a boat. I love the float down to Springs from POR but in the fall, even in the slowest of season you can wait upto an hour to board the ferry between the two sister resorts. Just not adequate boats for the amount of guests. Even when Portofino in off hours passes Hard Rock and picks up guests there the boats run quickly and timely. Their boats don't lay in wait and they have adequate boats running unlike trying to being transported from Epcot to the Studios or worse from the 2 Port Orleans Resorts to Springs. Never have I experienced the long lines and multiple boat waits going to the parks or returning to our resort. Disney's boats to the Poly and the Grand Flo are charming but difficult to load and tiny capacity. They take forever and a day to depart the dock at the MK and seem to linger much to long at the resorts unnecessarily.
 
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