5 responses

  1. Jane
    October 9, 2019

    Thanks Dave! Those are all good points. At the moment I’m thinking that I wouldn’t want to take my kids on the Skyliner, but that if it’s been operating well for awhile at that point I might go by myself, at night when it’s off time and we wouldn’t be missing anything if I got stuck. However the more I read the more I think it just won’t be available.


  2. Jane
    October 7, 2019

    Hi Dave, any guess about when the skyliner will come back online? At the moment we’re kind of too scared to ride it even if it does….but this was something I really wanted to do. Our visit starts Nov 25.


    • Dave
      October 9, 2019

      Hey Jane, so the honest answer of course is I don’t know.

      It seems for what has been reported that there were three different problems slowing down the evacuation—which is intended to be a simple slow return of all cars to a station where folks can get off

      • A medical emergency in one of the cars was called in, which required for prudence a direct evacuation via the fire department, and absurdly with no visible car numbers it took them a while to pinpoint exactly which gondola car to directly evacuate
      • Unblocking the Riviera station where the collision occurred, and assuring that the system was in appropriate operating condition before they could restart the movement of the cars
      • General communications and problem solving, both among WDW/Doppelmayr/Reedy Creek fire department staff, and between WDW and the stranded folks.

      How quickly it returns is largely a function of why the initial collision and subsequent problems happened, and how reliably fixable they are.

      E.g. if an automated system had a component failure, then you replace it, inspect every other equivalent of it, and add increased scrutiny of the component to the maintenance checklist.

      If, however, it was human error that caused or contributed to the initial problem, then you have to determine how much re-training of what sort is required, and even to what extent you might be able to reduce the decision making load (or pace of required action) that cast members face, through adding new fail-safe systems.

      To put this last point a different way, you need to determine how much you are willing to bet on allowing possible human error in the system vs automating that potential error away…which is both a basic operational safety issue and also a liability issue.

      One obvious needed change is adding visible numbers to the bottoms of the cars. I’ve seen in discussion forums the claim that this might take months. Frankly, that could be done overnight if WDW was willing to throw enough labor at it…it’s the designed-in potential for human error that is the major issue…

      Personally, I would ride the gondola in a heartbeat as soon as it reopens. But I would make sure to go potty first, have a charged cell phone and a bottle of water, and make a note of my car number…


  3. Bill Bo B
    August 7, 2019

    If the Skyliner recoups $60m in 2020 alone, it could do very well over the next 5 years. Curious what the total Skyliner investment cost Disney initially, maybe $150m? I have no clue.


    • Dave
      August 8, 2019

      Bill, I don’t know either. Note that my $60 million is the revenue number, from which Disney would have to offset operating costs, maintenance, back-up buses, depreciation, etc.


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