Skyliner nerd thread: Anything about how the skyliner functions.

Friendly Frog

DIS veteran with a mouse on her back.
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
Thought I would start this thread for skyliner talk that is not just about schedules.


For example, my understanding is that mobility scooters will not just be loaded on the next car. Only certain cars will be used (and they will be pulled off the line of course to load.) I also read that the number of cars that will allow scooters, will be decided the day before.


1.) Is it a special car, or just any car that they tag on the outside the day of operation?

2.) If things are backed up on the "special" cars, how quickly can they add new additional ones?

3.) What about car spacing? I am assuming that you can only put cars on the line a certain distance from each other? If so, then does that mean that a "scooter car" would have to wait for a gap or opening slot for it to move on the line rather than just entering the line as soon as the car is ready?
 

seashoreCM

All around nice guy.
Joined
Aug 25, 2001
A lever is preset on top of the car (any car) so it activates the overhead switching to go into the handicapped loop.

Handicapped cars are (should be) spaced more or less evenly, like every tenth car.

The spacing could be reduced to accommodate more wheelchairs and strollers (resetting the overhead levers at the beginning of the day) so, say, every eighth car is for handicapped instead of every tenth car,

But there is a limit. If handicapped cars are too close together then it is more likely that more cars enter the handicapped loop and clog that up when it takes unexpectedly long for a car to reload and exit the handicapped loop.

In the station, the non-handicapped cars can be bumper to bumper some of the time and a gap after every nine of them is not distinguishable.

The computerized part of the system signals the dispatcher at the handicapped loop that it is time to release the next car in time to insert them into the sequence 10 (or whatever number of )cars apart. If handicapped cars are released irregularly or if someone creates another handicapped car at random by flipping the lever on top, then some may end up too close together. This can cause problems at the handicapped loop at the other end of the line.

Another part of the computerized system dispatches the cars waiting bumper to bumper out of the station and onto the cable at the proper spacing for cars in general but not necessarily the proper spacing for handicapped cars.. There is probably some tolerance after which further timing irregularities result in a stoppage of the cable.
 
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joelkfla

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 13, 2001
Thought I would start this thread for skyliner talk that is not just about schedules.


For example, my understanding is that mobility scooters will not just be loaded on the next car. Only certain cars will be used (and they will be pulled off the line of course to load.) I also read that the number of cars that will allow scooters, will be decided the day before.


1.) Is it a special car, or just any car that they tag on the outside the day of operation?

2.) If things are backed up on the "special" cars, how quickly can they add new additional ones?

3.) What about car spacing? I am assuming that you can only put cars on the line a certain distance from each other? If so, then does that mean that a "scooter car" would have to wait for a gap or opening slot for it to move on the line rather than just entering the line as soon as the car is ready?
The Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles are designated prior to daily operation, by setting a plunger on the hanger. On the Epcot line, they also have a Mickey sticker on the door to make it easier for cm's at Riviera to identify them.

The WAV's are spaced to arrive at the stations 2 minutes apart when the cable is running at full speed. When one arrives, it is switched into the WAV boarding area, and one that was in the boarding area goes online to occupy the space freed up. It's always one off, one on at the same time, so no spacing adjustment is needed. For that reason, I don't think they adjust the number of WAV's during operation.

Operators at both the unload and load positions must give clearance that the WAV's are ready to advance. They have a countdown timer until arrival of the next WAV, and a reminder chime sounds a certain number of seconds before dispatch. If either operator does not give clearance, the entire system will stop.

There are 3 positions on the WAV loop: Unload, Load, and Stage for re-entry (I made up that last one; I don't know what they officially call it.) During a load cycle, one WAV is positioned at Unload, and another at Load. When the next WAV enters the station, the ones at Load and Unload advance simultaneously to Staging and Load. The arriving WAV is switched into the WAV loop and stops at Unload. A few seconds later, the WAV at Staging goes online to fill the gap that had been occupied by the arriving WAV.
 

Friendly Frog

DIS veteran with a mouse on her back.
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
Thanks! I love the details.

So the round trip time for a regular car is 24 minutes ( Pop to CB) and 36 minutes for a WAV car?

That would mean that if the WAV car line is a walk on/ no wait, it would be a minimum of 8 minutes (two stations x 2 minutes each) added to the normal travel time to get from the values to a park?
BUT,
the kicker is that unlike a continuously loading line, I would think that the need to wait a full two minutes for the next group to load would cause the WAV line to experience long waits very quickly, even when not very many people are in line?

For example lets say that you are 9th in line at both the park and the transfer station on your way to your home to your value resort. 9th in line would be an almost immediate walk on for the normal cars. However for the WAV line, that would be an additional 40 minute wait, correct?

Are strollers also using these same cars?
😲
 
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joelkfla

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 13, 2001
Thanks! I love the details.

So the round trip time for a regular car is 24 minutes ( Pop to CB) and 36 minutes for a WAV car?

That would mean that if the WAV car line is a walk on/ no wait, it would be a minimum of 8 minutes (two stations x 2 minutes each) added to the normal travel time to get from the values to a park?
BUT,
the kicker is that unlike a continuously loading line, I would think that the need to wait a full two minutes for the next group to load would cause the WAV line to experience long waits very quickly, even when not very many people are in line?
2 minutes is the time between dispatches. If you board a cabin as soon as it arrives at the load position, it should be on the main line in slightly less than 2 minutes. When it arrives at the other end, the cabins in the WAV loop will have already advanced, and the arriving cabin will proceed immediately to the Unload position. But there is an extra minute or 2 as the WAV cabin glides past the regular Unload platform to reach the WAV loop switch. So end-to-end, a trip might be about 3-4 minutes longer than boarding and unloading at the regular platforms.

As for wait times, the longest I've waited has been about 15 minutes, with 6 parties ahead of me and a couple of line stops happening. That was in the evening at Epcot. But I don't stay at Disney resorts, and I haven't ridden Skyliner at park opening or closing, so I don't know how bad the waits for a WAV can get.
For example lets say that you are 9th in line at both the park and the transfer station on your way to your home to your value resort. 9th in line would be an almost immediate walk on for the normal cars. However for the WAV line, that would be an additional 40 minute wait, correct?
No, if the cables are running at full speed with no stops, it would be a 16 minute wait at each station, for a total of 32 minutes.

It's just part of using a wheelchair or ecv at Disney. Contrary to popular belief, ecv users often have to wait longer to use Disney transportation and some attractions.
Are strollers also using these same cars?
😲
Only if they're designated as wheelchairs.
 
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Friendly Frog

DIS veteran with a mouse on her back.
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
16 minutes would be till loaded, but I think you forgot the additional 2 minutes it takes each WAV for your car once loaded, to advance on to the line? multiplied by two stations, that would total of an additional wait of 40 minutes from line position 9 till the car is placed back in normal travel.
 

Friendly Frog

DIS veteran with a mouse on her back.
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
Next will be trying to fine the line position number where waiting on a bus that comes once an hour might still be faster than the skyliner line. :-) Another factor to consider is, that before, the wheelchair line was based on the number of guests at that resort. Now at the values it is will be the number of guests at the two resorts put into one line, and when you get to the CB transfer station, it will be the number of guests from 3 hotels all in the one line, with those arriving at the station getting placed in line behind the CB guests already inque. I will give this more thought later tonight.
 
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  • seashoreCM

    All around nice guy.
    Joined
    Aug 25, 2001
    Has anyone collected (by standing and watching) a variety of times to unload a WAV car and times to board a WAV and able to report here on some near worst cases?

    The complaint was made on another thread that guests in wheelchairs had to ride sideways and could not reach the emergency button. If the guest repositioned the wheelchair to face forward then unloading would take longer.

    (OT) Several years ago I collected timings for estimating ride capacity on a variety of rides including Peter Pan and Toy Story Mania although I do not have the numbers sitting in front of me now as I type.
     
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    joelkfla

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 13, 2001
    16 minutes would be till loaded, but I think you forgot the additional 2 minutes it takes each WAV for your car once loaded, to advance on to the line? multiplied by two stations, that would total of an additional wait of 40 minutes from line position 9 till the car is placed back in normal travel.
    You're splitting hairs, but it's not 2 minutes after loading; it's 2 minutes after the entry of the previous WAV cabin onto the main line. (The WAV's only pause for a few seconds in the Staging position after leaving the Load position.) That's load time, not wait time. The load time on a bus would be much longer.
     

    joelkfla

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 13, 2001
    Has anyone collected (by standing and watching) a variety of times to unload a WAV car and times to board a WAV and able to report here on some near worst cases?
    The time spent at each of the Unload and Load positions is fixed (I think around 100 seconds), so it doesn't matter how long it takes to complete loading or unloading, unless it exceeds the fixed amount and causes a line stop. I have not seen a line stop due to a WAV not being ready while I've been in the queue. Altogether, I've probably boarded a couple of dozen times on my ecv, with time in the queue ranging from 0 to around 15 minutes.
    The complaint was made on another thread that guests in wheelchairs had to ride sideways and could not reach the emergency button. If the guest repositioned the wheelchair to face forward then unloading would take longer.
    There may not be enough room for a regular wheelchair to rotate. Maybe a sports or transfer chair could. But I believe that Disney requires chairs to enter forwards and stay that way, so that chocks can be placed behind the rear wheels.
     

    ZJ5/9D47

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 24, 2018
    Next will be trying to fine the line position number where waiting on a bus that comes once an hour might still be faster than the skyliner line. :-) Another factor to consider is, that before, the wheelchair line was based on the number of guests at that resort. Now at the values it is will be the number of guests at the two resorts put into one line, and when you get to the CB transfer station, it will be the number of guests from 3 hotels all in the one line, with those arriving at the station getting placed in line behind the CB guests already inque. I will give this more thought later tonight.
    The Skyliner WAV gondolas arrive every 2 minutes consistently. It takes that long to load an ECV into a bus and another 2 minutes to unload.

    Disney busses can only hold 2 ECVs/wheelchairs/red tag strollers/service dogs in strollers and come every 15 to 40 minutes. The problem with the busses is that if three show up at one time, somebody is waiting up to 40 minutes for the next bus. There is also the added transportation time at CBR because wheelchairs have to load at Martinique or the Main Hall if they want a good chance of getting on the bus because it almost always fills by the second or third stop and even the first at times. When I stayed at CBR during the low season, there was almost always a wait for a second or third bus because of the wheelchair/ECV queue. Also at CBR it isn't just loading chairs but those still on the bus returning and waiting for their stop, reducing capacity further.

    I stayed at AOA over Christmas and NYE and while I took the Skyliner mostly at off hours, there was at most one group ahead of me. About 45 minutes post fireworks at EPCOT, there was nobody in line for a WAV gondola.

    Disney now also isn't running ADA busses all the time and at AOA only about 1 of every 3 were accessible at certain times of the day. It is cheaper for Disney to outsource part of the bussing than run accessible Disney busses. It really stinks to be left behind while everyone else boards the bus, the the next bus fill up and leave the queue empty except for you, and then finally an accessible bus pull up and getting to go back to the hotel along with guests who had only arrived a few minutes earlier.
     
  • DisneyLifePapioNe

    Registered
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2017
    It really stinks sometimes when the busses load up a couple of carts and they were the last ones in line and everyone that had been waiting for 20 minutes in front of them gets bypassed by the additional 10-15 guests traveling with the 2 folks in the carts that take up 6 spots alone.

    Then the tank sized strollers is another joke all it’s own.
     

    Friendly Frog

    DIS veteran with a mouse on her back.
    Joined
    Jul 31, 2005
    Oh I know the limits of the bus system for sure, (especially dealing with those who do not understand needing to utilize limited space to prevent a back log. haha)

    Happily, I have not expereinced the off peak problems that you have, Joelkfla. I would tend to agree that those with mobility transportation, who use the skyliner during slow times of the day, will it will likely be a better all around experience.

    My concern is that during park openings, closings or possibly even at mid-day during high crowd times, ( or even an lightening event delay) it may be going from the frying pan into the fire for those with mobility devices. We have already established that just waiting 9 places back will be at the 30+ minute mark just on wait time, not including transportation time. Now a system that was once running three buses each half hour or usually much more at park closing is throwing all of those people from three hotels into one line, that can only move 9 scooters every half hour. I can see potential for some ugly backup wait times unless Disney runs the buses at park closing and opening * on the same schedule * just like they did before the skyliner, AND some of the guests with ECV's use the bus system duing those peak times.

    Of couse Disney could opt to be more reactive then proactive and call out additional buses only when the ecv back up happens, but with a capacity of 2-4 Ecv's max per bus, you are not going to get a backed up ECV line cleared very quickly like you can with ambulatory guests.

    Hope for the best case, but try to plan for the worse. :-)
     
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    seashoreCM

    All around nice guy.
    Joined
    Aug 25, 2001
    … that can only move 9 scooters every half hour. …
    (administrative as opposed to technical) If all of the family members accompanying one scooter user cannot fit in a car, are the remaining family members required to go to the main boarding entrance or required to go standby?
     
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    cranbiz

    Former transporter to the magic
    Joined
    May 4, 2004
    Disney now also isn't running ADA busses all the time and at AOA only about 1 of every 3 were accessible at certain times of the day. It is cheaper for Disney to outsource part of the bussing than run accessible Disney busses. It really stinks to be left behind while everyone else boards the bus, the the next bus fill up and leave the queue empty except for you, and then finally an accessible bus pull up and getting to go back to the hotel along with guests who had only arrived a few minutes earlier.
    No, it's not cheaper. If Disney was outsourcing the resort to park bus, it was due to the demand exceeded the availability of the Disney fleet and not to save money. Not all of the motor coaches contracted are accessible while the entire Disney owned fleet is. Those that are, (most of the Mears fleet are) take an extended amount of time to load a chair/ECV. The contracted buses are real motor coaches and not transit buses.
     

    Friendly Frog

    DIS veteran with a mouse on her back.
    Joined
    Jul 31, 2005
    I used the skyliner during my trip in Feb. My experience was a good one. I did not use it at park opening, but did use it at park closing. ( Hope they start opening it earlier in the mornings.) Using a scooter, I found the skyliner to be a much better experience than lpading on a bus.

    The lines at park closing bus or skyliner will mean a wait just due to the number of people. I only used it once at park closing. I was very near the skyliner entrance at Epcot when the fireworks ended. I did not see many people that day on scooters, and I went directly to the ECV line entrance. That line had no one outside of it at all. The regular line had already built up to the outside. Once inside the building, I had two scooters ahead of me. Take note though, with the constant movement of the regular line, and 10 regular cars leaving the station for every one ECV car that leaves, both lines had about the same load wait. So don't worry when you see the long line regular line and a short ECV line, that regular line noves 10X faster!

    On one trip, I did experience two short delays and a slow down on the line. I can see the possibility of it getting pretty warm if stopped for any length of time, especially inside of the station. It was getting a little stuffy in the station area on the day I was delayed, (and it was not a hot day) so I will suggest to have water with you in the warmer months, just in case.

    One other item to just mention, the towers and the outside of the cars are not lit at night, so even though you have light inside of your car, outside it was so dark that from inside of the wrapped car, I could hardly see the towers or other cars on the line till they were near me. Riding alone, and it being so quiet, this caught me a bit off guard how isolated it felt. Most people would probably not even notice, and the next night ride was better once I knew what to expect.

    All in all, I found the skyliner to be a great experience and much better for loading a scooter than the bus. Two thumbs up :thumbsup2:thumbsup2
     
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    Jennyf

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 4, 2020
    Is there any chance Disney will add fans to the gondolas for the summer months? Everyone who has experienced a delay has noted how warm and stuffy they got even in cool weather and a fan seems like a simple/cheaper fix for that.

    We are staying at the Riv at the end of August so I am anxious to see how the summer months go on Skyliner in terms of heat.
     

    gatour

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 14, 2002
    Is there any chance Disney will add fans to the gondolas for the summer months? Everyone who has experienced a delay has noted how warm and stuffy they got even in cool weather and a fan seems like a simple/cheaper fix for that.

    We are staying at the Riv at the end of August so I am anxious to see how the summer months go on Skyliner in terms of heat.
    The issue with fans is that they require power. The only way to provide power is batteries. The batteries will need to recharged. The only way to do that is to pull the cabins off the line overnight, and plug in a charging cable.

    From my understanding, the cabins remain on the cable overnight. They are only removed due to weather concerns, although I am guessing they also have spares, so they can remove a few for maintenance.

    Then there is the issue of weight. Batteries have weight. The entire system (distance between pylons, size of cable, etc) was designed with maximum weight parameters. Adding batteries will affect this dynamic.

    Could it be done, yes. Is it feasible/cost effective maybe not.

    From my understanding except for
     

    joelkfla

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 13, 2001
    The issue with fans is that they require power. The only way to provide power is batteries. The batteries will need to recharged. The only way to do that is to pull the cabins off the line overnight, and plug in a charging cable.

    From my understanding, the cabins remain on the cable overnight. They are only removed due to weather concerns, although I am guessing they also have spares, so they can remove a few for maintenance.

    Then there is the issue of weight. Batteries have weight. The entire system (distance between pylons, size of cable, etc) was designed with maximum weight parameters. Adding batteries will affect this dynamic.

    Could it be done, yes. Is it feasible/cost effective maybe not.

    From my understanding except for
    There are already batteries on board, which are charged as the cabins move thru a station. They power the interior LED lights.

    I don't know whether they would have the capacity to power a fan large enough to make a difference. Theoretically, a switch could be installed to turn off the lights and power a fan instead during daylight hours,
     

    Friendly Frog

    DIS veteran with a mouse on her back.
    Joined
    Jul 31, 2005
    Hopefully they will not have any reason to need fans in the future. :shamrock:
    If it does become an issue, perhaps the addition of a solar powered fan would be possible?
     

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