Disney Releases Statement Regarding Disney Skyliner Closure

Yesterday Disney finally issued a statement regarding the “malfunction” that occurred last week on October 5th.

In the statement Disney states….

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. We again offer our deepest apologies to the guests impacted by the malfunction that resulted in extended operating delays on Oct. 5.

Beginning today (October 15), 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.
Similar to ski lift systems, Disney Skyliner may slow or come to some stops during the ride, particularly when we need to accommodate guests who require additional time to load their cabin. We want to assure you that the comfort of every guest is important to us.

As a reminder, Disney Skyliner connects Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios to four Disney resort hotels: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort (and the forthcoming Disney’s Riviera Resort, a Disney Vacation Club resort set to open Dec. 16, 2019).

We greatly appreciate your ongoing patience and understanding, and we look forward to welcoming you back aboard Disney Skyliner.

Without saying so, it sounds like it to me that they’re blaming this on “Cast Member Error” related to either training or their loading/unloading procedure….or both.

While it’s great to finally see some sort of an official statement, the fact that it took ten days from the date of the incident to get anything other than a brief statement indicating that there was a “malfunction” I find alarming and bad guest relations.

It’s quite apparent to me, at least, that whatever testing they conducted, and more specifically the “soft opening” with actual guests was inadequate.  Let’s hope Disney has learned their lesson from this.  I understand that accidents happen, but it’s how a company handles the communication with customers, or in Disney’s case guests, is crucial.  I don’t think anyone can commend Disney on how this was “handled.”

Disney Skyliner Remains Closed

The Disney Skyliner remains closed after a collision of a few of the gondolas in the Riviera Resort station Saturday night. Reedy Creek Emergency services used scissor lifts to evacuate stranded guests.  Some guests were posting on Twitter that they had been stranded up to three hours.

Other than a single statement Disney, they’ve been pretty mum on what happened and when the Skyliner will resume operation.

In a statement Disney stated,

“One of the three Disney Skyliner routes experienced an unexpected downtime Saturday evening. As a result, the Skyliner will be closed while we look into the details surrounding this downtime. We apologize for this situation, and we are working with each guest individually regarding impacts to their visit with us.”

According to reports, Cast Members at the Epcot station have said that they expect the Skyliner to be closed through at least Tuesday, although no decision on a reopening date has yet been made at this time.

Disney is suggesting that guests use other modes of transport, including the walkway, Friendship boats and busses.

There are things about this all that are bothering me about all of this.

While I appreciate that Disney is investigating this and trying to figure out what happened and insuring that it’s fixed and doesn’t happen again, Disney’s statement comes off…at least to me…that this isn’t as big of a deal as it really appears to be…almost like, “No Biggie.” Disney terms this collision as a “malfunction” and nothing more.

It needs to be stated that I have not ridden the Skyliner yet.  I’ve only seen the videos of people riding it.  So I have no first-hand experience with it.

Whether this was Cast Member error or a serious malfunction of the system, what bothers me most about this is that they Disney Skyliner system had not been running “live” even a week when they happened.  Yes…less than a week!  Nothing is failure proof….but how does something like this happen this soon into its implementation.

Now comes up the topic of testing.  Unless something broke….how was this not picked up during the months of testing?

Disney also assured guests that in the event of a problem that they had procedures in place to evacuate guests in a timely manner.  I’m sorry…but nearly three hours is not “in a timely manner,”  it just isn’t.

While a lot of the Disney fandom is still excited about the Disney Skyliner, Disney is going to have to do some fancy spinning and public relations in order to assure guests, especially guests who were hesitant to begin with that the system is safe and in the event that something happens that they won’t be stranded for hours.

 

Crescent Lake Friendship Boats Shut Down Until Further Notice

WDWMagic is reporting that the Friendship Boat service on Crescent Lake has been suspended until further notice.

Operating between Epcot, the Epcot area resort hotels, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Friendship Boats are a popular choice for guests staying at the Epcot area resort hotels.

Disney has not yet indicated the reason behind the suspension of Friendship Boat service.

Bus service continues to be available, along with walkways for those guests wishing to walk.

Walt Disney World Ending Express Transportation Service

Walt Disney World will be discontinuing it’s Express Transportation service later this month, with the final day of service set for August 23rd.

The final day to purchase the Express Transportation option will be August 16th, with the multi-day version remaining usable through the final day of service of August 23rd.

Introduced in December 2016, the Express Transportation cost $15 per person for a single day, and picked guests up directly inside the parks, then by making use of backstage areas, reached the destination faster than using the regular bus service.

Multi-day variants were later added, along with Annual Passholder offerings.

It appears that the service was not being used by enough guests, with the majority continuing to make use of the standard park transfer options.

New Transportation Options Coming to Walt Disney World

A brand new transportation system is coming to the Walt Disney World Resort to add even more magic to your future vacation experiences.

Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts announced at D23 Expo 2017 that the Disney Skyliner will soon give guests a bird’s-eye view of Walt Disney World Resort.

The transportation system will connect Disney’s Art of Animation, Pop Century and Caribbean Beach resorts and other locations with Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot. And many of the gondolas with Disney Skyliner will feature favorite Disney characters.

Another new transportation service featuring vehicles themed to the one-and-only Minnie Mouse was also announced during the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts presentation at D23 Expo 2017.

“Since we’re all about exceeding guest expectations and making every aspect of your vacation uniquely Disney, we’re creating a new point-to-point transportation service in a way that only Disney can do,” Bob said.

The Minnie vehicles will take you everywhere you want to go at the Walt Disney World Resort, and you’ll ride in Minnie’s classic style.

 

Express Transportation Summer Pass Now Available for WDW Annual Passholders

The all-new Express Transportation Summer Pass is now exclusively available for Walt Disney World Annual Passholders for $59.  The pass will offer the Express Transportation service between theme parks through August 10th.

The Summer Pass will give a significant discount over regular pricing of $19 for a single day ticket, or $29 for a 7 day multi-day ticket.

Applicable annual passes must be valid for admission to all 4 Walt Disney World theme parks on all applicable dates between June 5th and August 10th. The Summer Pass is non-transferable.

Express Transportation service:

  • departs approximately every 30 minutes.
  • is available each day from 10:00 AM until park closing.
  • travels directly between each of the theme parks—with no other stops along the way.
  • lets you off inside the main gate, so you’re in the middle of fun from the moment you arrive!
  • gives you unlimited transfers between all 4 theme parks—for as long as your Express Transportation ticket is valid.

Check-In Locations

  • Magic Kingdom park: near the exit of Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Epcot: the east side of Spaceship Earth
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios: the courtyard in front of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom park: near the entrance to Dawa Bar

Where to Buy Express Transportation Tickets

  • All 4 theme park ticket windows and Guest Relations
  • Disney Springs ticket window
  • Disney Resort hotel concierge locations
  • Walt Disney World Swan Hotel and Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel ticket desks
  • Kiosks at Express Transportation check-in locations

Walt Disney World to Introduce Express Transportation Ticket Option

Express Bus Transportation will be coming to Walt Disney World in a few days, enabling quicker transfers between its theme parks, for a price.

The option will cost $15 per person for a single day.  Express Bus Transportation will pick guests up directly inside the parks, then by making use of backstage areas, will reach the destination faster than using the regular bus service.

Guests will be able to add the service when purchasing Park Hopper tickets, or upgrading at a later date via guest relations. In addition to the $15 per day option, there is also the ability to add multi-day service for $24 per person.

Express Transportation will begin on December 7th, and will operate from 10 AM to park close, departing every 30 minutes.

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort to Discontinue Bus Service to Disney Springs

There will be a number of changes to the bus service for Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort beginning August 29th.

Bus service to Disney Springs is being discontinued, with guests being able to choose to take the Sassagoula River Cruise water taxi from the boat dock, or take the walkway from Congress Park.

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort will also have a new internal bus service.  Starting next week, a dedicated bus will run internally, stopping at the eight bus stops approximately every 20 minutes.

A new route will also run directly from the Congress Park stop to the Typhoon Lagoon water park.

 

Walt Disney World to Start Limited Direct Bus Service from Theme Parks to Disney Springs

For guests that want to get from the Walt Disney theme parks to Disney Springs, it’s about to get a bit easier.

Beginning on August 28th Disney Transportation will be providing a new direct bus service from all of the theme parks to Disney Springs.  The direct service will only run from 4 PM to 11 PM (or until 2 hours after park closing) daily.

The new bus service will be one-way only.  This means that in order to return to any of the theme parks will require that guests it will need to first go to a Walt Disney Resort hotel, then transfer to a bus that goes to a theme park.

Walt Disney World to Test Direct Bus Service from Magic Kingdom to Hoop-Dee-Doo & Mickey’s Backyard BBQ

Disney Buses

Disney will begin testing a new bus route that will bring  direct service from the Magic Kingdom to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground-Settlement Depot.

This four week test route will begin April 20th and will operate daily from 4pm to 11:30pm, making it ideal for those guests who will be attending either Hoop-Dee-Doo or Mickey’s Backyard BBQ at Fort Wilderness.