This week's episode - comments disabled, no discussion?

Teleclashter

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Oct 20, 2009
So here’s my question - so in this case you would say that riding the gondola is putting someone in harm’s way? You are pretty much confirming that people should have concerns about riding after this incident.

I think the argument that people should be prepared/expect this kind of downtime is a tough one. People on their once in a lifetime trip who just spent thousands of dollars aren’t thinking “hey, this gondola could get stuck for 3 hours, I might have to pee in a bag in front of complete strangers, I could get heat stroke up there,” etc. They see it as a neat way to get from here to there. They haven’t been studying the logistics of gondolas like people in the Disney blogger/vlogger/social communities have. Many probably don’t even know there isn’t AC.

It seems like a lot of locals are downplaying it. Sure, when you have an AP and go to WDW whenever you want, maybe getting stuck in there for 3 hours is less of an issue? What if you were on your way to your only evening at Epcot ... ever?

With 2 little kids, yes, I am now hesitant to ride given how the situation was handled (very little & poor communication), how hot the gondolas can get etc. I was hesitant in the first place, and this situation confirmed my concerns.

I feel awful for everyone who was stuck up there.
Any transportation system, ride, etc... can put anyone in harms way. Everyone should be concerned with everything they do from crossing a street to getting on a gondola. I’m not saying your brain needs to jump to everything is going to kill me, but you also have to weigh options.

For me, the gondolas aren’t extremely high off the ground to make me nervous, but I realize they are high enough that it could also make evacs an issue when an accident like the one that happened happens. The heat, thirst, bathroom issues are something I feel like I could personally deal with in an emergency. I know not everyone can and those are the ones that should think a little extra before riding. I know vacation brain doesn’t allow this all the time, and people travel to WDW because they like the idea of the bubble and being safe, but in my opinion it’s still a valuable argument to think more. I know a lot won’t listen, because of what you said, but I still want people to think more. I can’t tell you how many times I had to sit with medical services and a family at Forbidden Journey for families that would drag on an older family member who couldn’t handle the adverse effects of the ride. After seeing that for so long it made me realize that not enough people think about their whole families and any consequences and that’s a shame.
 

Teleclashter

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Oct 20, 2009
I’m sure he wouldn’t let her. But that’s not my point. If she had been on there (or your wife, or your grandmother, or another member of the team, etc) you wouldn’t be on here and on twitter saying you have no empathy for those stuck on there.
Then I should rephrase. I have empathy And sympathy for those who were stuck and it triggered medical issues. No one deserves that. But knowing a person on there wouldn’t automatically change my entire outlook and I’m just being honest and forthcoming. It might make you lose respect for me or like me less and I understand that, but it helps to show where my thought process comes from which is far less emotionally than probably 98 percent of the people out there.
 

hertamaniac

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 9, 2017
You can say whatever you want here. Doppelmayr is a world leader in gondola systems. I’d imagine they know a lot about energy storage systems or at least what is compatible with their systems.
There are some battery designs/architecture that aren't well known or even released for public knowledge. Our design is/was one of many designs that a vendor wouldn't have visibility to. Only what we showcased (which I did nationally and publicly for nearly a decade) would give the user(s) a snapshot into a design. It is important to note that we had many different battery designs depending on the application requirements. We would only release the specifications to the public for designs that were adequate for global release (often these designs were 2+ iterations old as to not allow our competitors to reverse engineer our designs).

So, there is a good possibility that Doppelmayr/Disney have limited visibility to potential battery cell designs that could be investigated for some sort of conditioned air for the gondolas. I get the sense that neither of these vendors are experts in energy storage, much like we wouldn't be experts in gondola design.

I don't think the gondola system is either passive venting or A/C. The way I see it, the conditioned air would only be activated when the gondola system is stationary for XX period of time. The challenge is finding a battery design that can achieve a high rate charge for the limited dwell time in the station(s) and have adequate energy to supply an emergency conditioned air. So while capacitors can charge rapidly, they have a lower amount of energy as compared to say, Li-ion. Li-ion has high energy, but is still charge rate limited compared to capacitors and some NiMH designs (like ours). The counter to our design was weight, but that’s why I scoped and targeted less weight sensitive applications.

Our cell design was a worldwide leader in accepting high charge rates with a moderate amount of energy. We couldn’t compete against Li-ion in terms of energy, but were superior in charge rate. We also couldn’t charge as fast as a capacitor, but offered much more energy. Most importantly, our design had ultra-low resistance and could evacuate heat build-up rapidly. It seemed to us that choosing the right cell architecture and chemistry (with low resistivity) allows for some unique applications. So, even with the intense heat that Florida experiences, this design lends itself to pulse powered applications (which were covertly involved in).

And while some posters commented about capacitors would have to be discharged rapidly, our design could charge rapidly (like in a gondola station) and discharge at a rate that the application(s) require.

I could go on and on, but I think it is important to note that a true study of emergency conditioning the air in a gondola at WDW would require a long test plan and be costly. As such, I feel confident the current gondola system would not be anywhere near online had the project gone down that path.
 
  • Spartan86

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 15, 2017
    @hertamaniac : interesting energy/battery information. As I think about a battery/capacitor system on each cabin with enough oooph to power an air conditioner compressor and related fans etc, I wonder if the fire risk (battery failure, thermal runaway) analysis greatly skews the decision along with the considerable additional cost? Of course, in any cabin you will also have 2-10 cell phones with batteries that could cook off, so even without an energy dense setup above your head there is some potential risk.
     

    hertamaniac

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 9, 2017
    @hertamaniac : interesting energy/battery information. As I think about a battery/capacitor system on each cabin with enough oooph to power an air conditioner compressor and related fans etc, I wonder if the fire risk (battery failure, thermal runaway) analysis greatly skews the decision along with the considerable additional cost? Of course, in any cabin you will also have 2-10 cell phones with batteries that could cook off, so even without an energy dense setup above your head there is some potential risk.
    Good comments!

    Thermal runaway is a real concern and I feel confident that risk would weigh heavily on a design/chemistry. I can tell you that I tested in our labs Li-ion pouch cells to failure vs. our vented NiMH design. The result of this test was catastrophic for the Li cells, whereas ours failed (that was the intent), but did not experience a thermal runaway or an explosion.

    You mention cell phones and you're absolutely correct. I see folks at my gym carry them into our sauna and I just cringe at what could happen. Naturally, the odds are very, very low, but an exothermic reaction is volatile.

    Nowhere does it say that the energy pack has to be above your head right? What's to say that a design couldn't have the charging bus below the gondola? The energy pack can be oriented so that the airflow of the moving gondola could go through passive heat sinks to keep the temperatures down. Again, it's only when the system is stopped for XX duration would the emergency conditioning of the air take effect. Sizing the battery in Ah would have to be sufficient for the duration required. But, there is nothing to say you couldn't use the capacitor bank to start a compressor (like well control boxes) and then have the energy draw from the battery pack.

    Lastly, conditioning the air doesn't necessarily mean it has to be like our cars. What if the system had higher CFM blowers (e.g. squirrel cage) that meet or exceed the airflow when the system is in normal operation? I think the general guest feedback is that the airflow is sufficient (movement at ~10 MPH?). So a definition of air conditioning would need to be clarified.
     
  • teruterubouzu

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2007
    Maybe the battery and AC conversations should move to a dedicated thread in Transportation.

    The thing that is weirdest to me about the skyliner is how defensive a lot of Disney fans are about it. It's as though it's a personal affront when people are skeptical about it as a transportation option at WDW. I don't get it at all.
     

    Look_Alive

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 17, 2018
    Lots of discussion about the heat, and rightly so. I distinctly remember someone on the team (Ryno, maybe?) mention in a show during early previews of the Gondola that there were “emergency air conditioners that can cool each gondola for up to 3 hours.” Or something very close to that.

    Is that not the case? ARE there “emergency” air conditioners in each gondola, and they just didn’t go off? Or was that incorrect info?
     

    Brianstl

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2019
    If you can’t handle the outside temperature for an extended period of time, you should have never considered riding Skyliner and you shouldn’t go to the parks. It really that simple.
     

    Navychica

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 18, 2012
    There are lots of comments consisting of “if you can’t do xyz, you shouldn’t be in a gondola”. I’m quite positive that Disney didn’t build a transportation system that excludes a huge portion of their target population. Let’s think of people who would have issues if left dangling in a box for four hours:
    • Children under the age of five
    • Pregnant women
    • Breastfeeding women traveling without their infant
    • The elderly
    • Women between the ages of 13 and 50 traveling at that time of the month
    • Anyone with mild anxiety/claustrophobia who figured they’d be fine for a 20 minute ride
    • Diabetics
    • Anyone with bladder disorders
    • Some people with colon issues

    I’m a huge fan of the potential of the Skyliner- it’s why I booked CBR for my trip next month. I’m not sure why people are so up-in-arms at others who are rightfully saying Disney definitely needs to look at their evacuation procedures, especially about communication during an extended stoppage, and may need to do more testing on the line. This is not a thrill ride- this is a transportation system that has been marketed towards virtually all guests.
     
  • Brianstl

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2019
    There are lots of comments consisting of “if you can’t do xyz, you shouldn’t be in a gondola”. I’m quite positive that Disney didn’t build a transportation system that excludes a huge portion of their target population. Let’s think of people who would have issues if left dangling in a box for four hours:
    • Children under the age of five
    • Pregnant women
    • Breastfeeding women traveling without their infant
    • The elderly
    • Women between the ages of 13 and 50 traveling at that time of the month
    • Anyone with mild anxiety/claustrophobia who figured they’d be fine for a 20 minute ride
    • Diabetics
    • Anyone with bladder disorders
    • Some people with colon issues

    I’m a huge fan of the potential of the Skyliner- it’s why I booked CBR for my trip next month. I’m not sure why people are so up-in-arms at others who are rightfully saying Disney definitely needs to look at their evacuation procedures, especially about communication during an extended stoppage, and may need to do more testing on the line. This is not a thrill ride- this is a transportation system that has been marketed towards virtually all guests.
    Skyliner was never meant for everyone and Disney knew Skyliner wasn’t for everyone. That is one of the reasons it was never meant to replace bus service. It is an additional transportation option meant to slow the rising cost and rising stress placed on Disney’s bus operations, but it was never intended to replace bus service. Bus service was always going to be needed for many of the groups of people you listed and for many situations where Skyliner can’t operate.
     

    Cdub100

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 9, 2019
    Skyliner was never meant for everyone and Disney knew Skyliner wasn’t for everyone. That is one of the reasons it was never meant to replace bus service. It is an additional transportation option meant to slow the rising cost and rising stress placed on Disney’s bus operations, but it was never intended to replace bus service. Bus service was always going to be needed for many of the groups of people you listed and for many situations where Skyliner can’t operate.
    Which is why Navychica said virtually all guest. The fact that the skyliner gondola can be pulled aside for wheel chair access proves that it's pretty much for everyone.

    I think the skyliner is still down which is great news for everyone. That means Disney is treating this VERY seriously and not rushing to opening it ASAP. They will do everything to get it right, hopefully.
     

    Disneylover99

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 17, 2012
    Skyliner was never meant for everyone and Disney knew Skyliner wasn’t for everyone. That is one of the reasons it was never meant to replace bus service. It is an additional transportation option meant to slow the rising cost and rising stress placed on Disney’s bus operations, but it was never intended to replace bus service. Bus service was always going to be needed for many of the groups of people you listed and for many situations where Skyliner can’t operate.
    I’ve seen reports that bus arrival times at Pop Century were not listed during the first week of gondola operations. Instead it said, transportation available via gondola, under HS and Epcot wait times.

    It sounds like they’re trying to wean people off buses to me. Many people would not even realize that bus transportation was still an option.
     

    disneysteve

    DIS meet junkie
    Joined
    Sep 29, 2002
    It sounds like they’re trying to wean people off buses to me.
    Absolutely. The Skyliner is certainly intended to reduce bus usage. It will never eliminate buses on those routes but when the Skyliner is fully operational, it has far greater guest capacity than buses ever will. It also reduces traffic having fewer buses on the roads. And the Skyliner runs essentially in straight lines from point to point making it a shorter ride. It's a very efficient way to get around.
     

    disneysteve

    DIS meet junkie
    Joined
    Sep 29, 2002
    I don't get what all the hubbub is all about. There was an accident, and lol@Disney for messing it up. Eh.
    Well, any time anything bad happens at (or even near) Disney World, it's big news, but honestly I think this was a bigger deal because it happened in the first official week of operation. Had this system been up and running for a couple of years when this occurred, it would have garnered less attention.
     

    TheMaxRebo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2008
    Well, any time anything bad happens at (or even near) Disney World, it's big news, but honestly I think this was a bigger deal because it happened in the first official week of operation. Had this system been up and running for a couple of years when this occurred, it would have garnered less attention.
    definitely a key aspect - I mean, since the Skyliner incident there was another incident with the Monorails and no one is really talking about that and people are still riding the monorail now

    Another key part I think is there was a group of people that were against the Skyliner from the start and this incident gives them ammunition to say "see, I told you! I was right and Disney was wrong"
     

    Disneylover99

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 17, 2012
    Absolutely. The Skyliner is certainly intended to reduce bus usage. It will never eliminate buses on those routes but when the Skyliner is fully operational, it has far greater guest capacity than buses ever will. It also reduces traffic having fewer buses on the roads. And the Skyliner runs essentially in straight lines from point to point making it a shorter ride. It's a very efficient way to get around.
    I don’t like that they’re weaning people off in a misleading way though. If you checked the app or bus monitor during the first week of operation, it would appear that there are no buses at all picking people up at gondola resorts. They should at least let people know that buses are available, but may come less frequently.
     

    STLstone

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2016
    There are some battery designs/architecture that aren't well known or even released for public knowledge. Our design is/was one of many designs that a vendor wouldn't have visibility to. Only what we showcased (which I did nationally and publicly for nearly a decade) would give the user(s) a snapshot into a design. It is important to note that we had many different battery designs depending on the application requirements. We would only release the specifications to the public for designs that were adequate for global release (often these designs were 2+ iterations old as to not allow our competitors to reverse engineer our designs).

    So, there is a good possibility that Doppelmayr/Disney have limited visibility to potential battery cell designs that could be investigated for some sort of conditioned air for the gondolas. I get the sense that neither of these vendors are experts in energy storage, much like we wouldn't be experts in gondola design.

    I don't think the gondola system is either passive venting or A/C. The way I see it, the conditioned air would only be activated when the gondola system is stationary for XX period of time. The challenge is finding a battery design that can achieve a high rate charge for the limited dwell time in the station(s) and have adequate energy to supply an emergency conditioned air. So while capacitors can charge rapidly, they have a lower amount of energy as compared to say, Li-ion. Li-ion has high energy, but is still charge rate limited compared to capacitors and some NiMH designs (like ours). The counter to our design was weight, but that’s why I scoped and targeted less weight sensitive applications.

    Our cell design was a worldwide leader in accepting high charge rates with a moderate amount of energy. We couldn’t compete against Li-ion in terms of energy, but were superior in charge rate. We also couldn’t charge as fast as a capacitor, but offered much more energy. Most importantly, our design had ultra-low resistance and could evacuate heat build-up rapidly. It seemed to us that choosing the right cell architecture and chemistry (with low resistivity) allows for some unique applications. So, even with the intense heat that Florida experiences, this design lends itself to pulse powered applications (which were covertly involved in).

    And while some posters commented about capacitors would have to be discharged rapidly, our design could charge rapidly (like in a gondola station) and discharge at a rate that the application(s) require.

    I could go on and on, but I think it is important to note that a true study of emergency conditioning the air in a gondola at WDW would require a long test plan and be costly. As such, I feel confident the current gondola system would not be anywhere near online had the project gone down that path.
    My premise is that, whether or not these are possible, they are not *practical*. The one example people have cited in London, does not provide a comfortable climate - based on actual users' opinion.

    "Practical" would take in to account several factors, like size, weight, reliability and cost.

    It doesn't seem like we're arguing about cost. Any addition of proprietary battery technology and air conditioners to hundreds of gondolas, plus the charging gear addition to 6 stations (3 at CBR, 1 DHS, 1 Epcot, 1 Riviera) would likely be a significant cost increase for the project.

    Would your battery, that you've described, be able to fit somewhere on the gondola and run the air conditioning for 3+ hours? Would it reduce the number of riders based on its weight?

    The design of the passive cooling, including the vents in the floor, would not work in a "practical" way with air conditioning. If you made these vents a user selection, they would not be as air tight when closed and they would invariably be left open. That's just what people do.

    Also, these gondolas spend a large portion of their round trips with the doors wide open. This would lower the effectiveness of any air conditioner.

    Furthermore, my argument against AC was in response to the people(not you) who claim there was a simple choice between AC and no AC - and that Disney just decided not to slap an air conditioner on these out of pure greed.

    If I was stuck in one of these after the AC quit working, I would prefer one that was 100% designed for passive cooling.
     

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