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


Dec 12, 2018
First time weighing in on this on the boards.

Admittedly, my initial reaction to this was, “welp, never doing that again”. But then after the dust settled, so to speak, I realize that I only had that attitude because I narrowly missed being stuck on it myself, having ridden on the Epcot line maybe an hour or so before this happened.

But then again, I have to think of all kinds of times I’ve been in near misses like this with modes of transportation. The I-85 bridge collapse didn’t stop me from using the expressway to get around town. A track fire that happened on MARTA one time didn’t stop me from using it to go to work on occasion. And heck, incidents with monorails haven’t stopped me from using it when I’m at WDW. So, why should a one-time (and hopefully isolated) incident on the Skyliner stop me from using it again? Especially as someone who typically stays at The Pop for my solo trips.

I feel as long as Disney Transport takes this situation seriously as a teachable moment as to how to handle this situation if and when it happens again better in the future, I personally wouldn’t be too concerned about using it.
  • hertamaniac

    Dis Veteran
    Feb 9, 2017
    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.
    The case study in London is using a capacitor bank with low voltage (48V). There may have been a budget/technology constraint on that system that led to some guests experiencing a failure (whether it is constant or intermittent, I don’t know). Capacitors tend to have issues with leakage current and that could be the issue among many other possibilities. If I recall, that system came online about 7 years ago; that’s an eternity in the battery technology roadmap world. Similar to Moore’s Law, battery technology is a very, very rapid game of increasing the performances across the board (energy density/power density/operational limits/cycle life/temperature range/etc.).

    As far as practically, now that you defined it, I would agree that those parameters you listed above are a small portion of what goes into a battery design. So perhaps a question of practical has to be weighed against guest comfort/safety in an emergency scenario. I know that our involvement with the U.S. military had 3 top mandates for our battery. In no particular order we were told, "safety, safety and then safety".

    It’s not the just the cost that would be involved in the WDW gondola study, but the timeline. I’ll stand by my previous statement that this system would not be online at this time if the vendors were to do a true study of conditioned air, as an emergency backup, to the system. The development timeline can be tediously long to a novel cell design (ours took ~6 years before going somewhat public). So then the question I would have is Disney looking to be a technology pioneer in energy storage in a gondola system? Somehow I think the shareholders and executives might be looking at a more rapid deployment, lower cost and less risk.

    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?

    That is a little bit of a loaded question (I’m sure that wasn’t your intent). I/we created a design parameter matrix, provided to the end user(s), to bookend the project requirements. As I said previously, the definition of air conditioning would have to be agreed upon (are we talking emergency high-flow fans or a compressor driven approach). A portion of design requirements that drive a study would be things like rated capacity, temperature limits (nominal/peak), voltage range, heat rejection, duty cycle, peak amperage input, maximum volume, maximum weight, location and CG effects, and many, many more. Also, the sizing of the fans/compressor would need to studied by, I think, subject matter experts not in energy storage (I’m thinking the gondola System Managers).

    Just so I’m clear, my previous post does not propose that a constant conditioning of air (or A/C) would be practical. I think the passive vents, based on guest feedback, are sufficient for normal operation. I am asking about an emergency backup system that could have a study and perhaps be deployed based on what I know about energy storage. I don’t know if it’s possible for a gondola to have the window vents and then have a check-valve/flap system activated for when the emergency system turns on. I look to the gondola manufacturer to see if this is possible.

    It is possible the weight of our battery pack would reduce the rider capacity. A study would need to be done on the maximum weight of the current system and the lines. Would a new design (Gondola 2.0) allow for an emergency conditioned air to last XX duration and have the same rider capacity? Maybe if WDW expands the gondola system, they might have a newer design.

    Food for thought:
    What if each gondola (perhaps in future iterations) are taken offline at night to a charging station/center and then deployed on the system after the energy storage has reached full? Could that energy storage pack be sufficient for a full day’s operation in emergency mode standby? This would be very costly and the logistics would be extremely challenging.
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    Captain Dan

    Aventureland Radio 1
    May 9, 2019
    Craig was clearly defending gondola systems and not the Skyliner. He was stern on Disney and said it was a big problem during that show. He is aggravated, as am I, then I've the past 14 months people have continually said dumb things about these ropeway gondola systems. Disney uses the exact same system as Telluride and it's awesome. There are 21 such systems in the US alone. If you have never experienced one, that's ok, but you all know we are in the internet right now, right? You can Google Gondola is US, and Gondola Air Conditioning and Gondola Release and Gondola Handicapped Accessible and there have been multiple articles published about the specific D-Line cars.and haven't any of you been to Gatlinburg? My word, there's nothing new about this. Detachable Gondola systems have been in operation for more than 50 years! So please forgive Craig if his frustration over this topic has caused him to seem unsympathetic. The accident is bad. However, we don't know much about what happened. I haven't heard reports yet, but with the system ferrying guests again today I hope there are representatives on hand from the manufacturer to provide on going training of the Midwest and Northeast sophmore millenials that are charged with operating this Dysfunctional Death Buckets in the Skies over Disney!


    Mar 22, 2019
    Disney uses the exact same system as Telluride and it's awesome.
    THANK YOU for mentioning the Telluride gondola! I have been on it many times and absolutely love it. It's such a pleasant, peaceful way to travel...of course, that one is up in the mountains, but the concept is the same. I've come around on this issue and will 100% ride the Skyliner when I am at WDW in a couple weeks. I'll probably bring an extra bottle of water with me and hit the restroom beforehand, but I'll definitely check it out! :)


    DIS Veteran
    Aug 16, 2016
    Pete mentioned on FB he had a pretty negative experience last night on the gondolas, getting stuck and rerouted.
    It’s hard to tell if he is really annoyed or not, because he was still in enough humor to make a Pretty Woman joke?
    So maybe he taking a “fool me twice, shame on me” approach?
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