New Disney Skyliners closed as gondola incident investigated

It was terrifying knowing we were just dangling in the air, passenger says

A family of four tell us they were stranded for four hours on the new Skyliner ride last night

ORLANDO, Fla. – Many passengers described being stranded for more than three hours aboard the new gondola transportation system at Walt Disney World as a nightmare.

Right now, there are more questions than answers about what went wrong Saturday evening. 

This comes after a few Disney skyliner cable cars got stuck. The gondolas are part of a new transport system that opened last week. It was designed to carry visitors from hotels to theme parks about three stories above the ground. 

Viewers sent News 6 pictures of what appeared to be at least two Disney cars stuck together.

Jennifer Mendoza and her 8-year-old daughter, Alex, were among those stuck for more than three hours when the Disney skyliner cable cars, called gondolas, got stuck.

“It was a little terrifying knowing that we were just dangling in the air," Mendoza said. "“It would have been nice to know a little more information about what was going on.”

Guests are left stranded on Disney's new Skyliner ride.

Another passenger told News 6, “My daughter was very hot. She didn’t feel well at all."

News 6 saw firefighters on scene Saturday night, but it's still not clear if and how many passengers had to be rescued or transported.

Orange County Fire Rescue officials told News 6 on Sunday, "We did respond to their request for mutual aid and were in position last night to assist when the Skyliner went back up and running. We did not transport or evacuate anyone."

News 6 has been calling and emailing Reddy Creek firefighters in an attempt to find out for sure if and how many passengers needed medical attention Saturday.

A family of four tell us they were stranded for four hours on the new Skyliner ride last night

Disney has since closed the new Skyliners as officials work to find out what happened.

In a statement, Disney said, "We have a team diligently looking into the cause of last night'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."

One passenger told News 6 she was given gift cards and Disney passes for her inconvenience.

Disney representatives said they are working with each guest individually regarding the incident's impact on their visit.

Passengers say firefighters are using ladder trucks to rescue them from the stuck gondolas.

News 6 reached out to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Florida Department of Agriculture to see if they’re investigating Saturday's scare at Disney.

Federal workplace safety investigators fined Walt Disney World in 2009 over a monorail accident following the death of a 21-year-old employee.

About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.