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Disney gondolas reopen to guests after stranding passengers

Skyliner had been closed since incident on Oct. 5

ORLANDO, Fla. – Disney World’s new Skyliner gondolas are back open to park guests after being closed for more than a week when guests were left stranded for hours late into the night on Oct. 5. 

The gondola transportation system reopened at 8 a.m. Monday and will stay open until 10:30 p.m. 

Disney officials said on its blog the Skyliner system would undergo further updates later this week, forcing the system to operate under a modified scheduled from Oct. 16-18. 

On Oct. 16, the Hollywood Studios line will be closed but the other lines will run from 1 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. On Oct. 17-18, all Skyliner systems will run from 1 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. 

A Disney official said, "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."

Passengers stranded on the Disney gondola system took to social media as the incident unfolded around 8 p.m. on Oct. 5. 

Guests’ posts on social media said that some of the capsules crashed into each other, but Disney insisted that the cars did not collide.

Firefighters were called to the Orlando-area theme park, and several guests posted to social media, saying rescues were underway. One photo showed a ladder reaching from a fire truck with a platform extended at the top.

Reedy Creek firefighters said its crews had to rescue at least six guests from at least one car on the gondola system.

Some guests said they were stuck inside their cars but were able to get off on their own after some time. It's unclear how many total cars were affected.

Video from Sky 6 showed the Skyliner cars started moving again around 11 p.m.

Disney officials never specifically said what happened. The theme park's statement read, "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 Skyliner air gondolas opened to visitors just a week prior to the incident on Sept. 29.

The new attraction whisks visitors from hotels to theme parks three stories above the ground while going 11 mph. No more than 10 people are allowed in each cable car.

Disney warned guests on its blog and with a sign in front of the attraction that at times the gondolas "may slow or come to a stop during the ride, particularly when we need to accommodate guests who require additional time to load their cabin."


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