Nine days after a malfunction left guests stranded for hours on the Disney Skyliner, the gondola system is resuming operations with some changes to its schedule.
The announcement came with little fanfare, as Disney posted an update with modified hours on its website:
Beginning today, Guests may travel aboard Disney Skyliner from 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. However, system updates later this week will result in the following modified operating hours for Oct. 16-18:
- Oct. 16: The Disney Hollywood Studios line will be closed while the other two lines will be available from 1 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
- Oct. 17-18: All lines will be open from 1 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Signs outside the reopened Skyliner stations now warn guests that delays may occur: “Similar to other gondola systems around the world, flights aboard the Disney Skyliner may occasionally be interrupted with stops and delays.”
The Skyliner opened on Sept. 29, connecting guests of four Disney resorts with Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. On Oct. 5, an accident caused the line between Epcot and Disney’s Riviera Resort to shut down, leaving some guests stuck in gondolas for nearly three hours. While no guests were injured, three were taken to the hospital, according to a report from Spectrum News 13. Guests were given compensation in the form of $100 Disney gift cards and free park tickets.
The Skyliner was tested throughout the week after the accident but remained closed to guests until Monday morning. Disney has not explained what caused the malfunction. The company has reportedly pushed back when members of the press have referred to the event as an “accident,” despite photos showing an empty cabin bumped into another at the Riviera Resort station with broken glass on the ground.
When Orlando Rising asked for more information — including an explanation of the “system updates” taking place this week — Disney responded with a link to a Disney Parks Blog post.
“Following a complete review with the manufacturer, we’ve made adjustments to our processes and training, and we are improving how we communicate with guests during their flight with Disney Skyliner,” wrote Disney Parks editorial content director Thomas Smith. “We again offer our deepest apologies to the guests impacted by the malfunction that resulted in extended operating delays on Oct. 5.”
The union representing firefighters at Walt Disney World said the accident illustrated why their department needs additional personnel to cover the expanding resort.
“If anything else would have been going on [at Disney] at that moment, it could have been catastrophic,” union secretary Ryan O’Reilly told The Orlando Sentinel.