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'Don't leave us hanging -- literally:' Disney guests want to know why gondolas stalled

Walt Disney World says team diligently looking into Skyliner 'malfunction'

WALT DISNEY WORLD, Fla. – Passengers stuck on Walt Disney World's new Skyliner ride said they still felt stranded Monday, with no answers as to why they were stuck on the gondolas for nearly four hours Saturday night. 

"Don't just leave us hanging -- literally hanging," Jim Johnston told News 6 on Monday while he was back at work in West Palm Beach. 

[RELATED: New Disney Skyliners closed as gondola incident investigatedFirefighter: Disney gondola rescues show staffing issues as parks grow]

The annual passholder said he and his wife had just left Epcot around 8 p.m. when, about 60 seconds into the ride on the Skyliner, it stopped. He said Disney employees were coming on the PA system every 15 minutes or so, saying there was a temporary delay. 

"Thirty minutes turned into an hour. An hour turned into two hours," Johnston said. 

After about an hour and a half, he said, fire rescue crews showed up and raised a ladder to rescue people in the gondola in front of him. 

"They go up and take out people two at a time. They are still not telling us anything," Johnston said. 

He said he felt like passengers left with no answers had no choice but to panic. 

"There was a 7-year-old girl on my gondola who -- her father did a good job at keeping her calm -- but that kid was almost hyperventilating," he said. "Then, they are kids, and they have to go to the bathroom, so they got to pee in the puke bags and it leaks all over the floor. It was disgusting."

Johnston said there was also only one bottle of water inside the emergency kits inside the gondola. 

"Did I mention that? One bottle of water," Johnston added. "I just want to know that when this type of stuff happens, they got a better plan, because they weren't prepared for this at all." 

[MORE: 'That was a nightmare': Disney guest describes gondola mishapDisney World's new gondolas come to halt, strand passengers for hours]

News 6 asked Walt Disney World communications staff several questions relating to the incident, including what happened and what changes or improvements will be made. 

A Disney spokesperson Monday released the same statement the company sent out Sunday night. 

"We have a team diligently looking into the cause of Saturday’s malfunction on the Epcot line of the Disney Skyliner. We have been in contact with the guests, many of whom were on the Skyliner for more than three hours until we were able to restart the system. We express our sincere apologies for the inconvenience and continue to work with each guest individually," the spokesperson said.


About the Author:

Nadeen Yanes

Nadeen Yanes joined News 6 as a general assignment reporter in 2016. She grew up in Leesburg and graduated from the University of Florida. Nadeen has won three Associated Press Awards for her reporting on the Pulse Nightclub shooting, the trial of the Pulse gunman's wife and the capture of an accused cop killer, Markeith Loyd.

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