Disney World Skyliner Riders Stranded For Hours After Malfunction: 'Just A Nightmare'

New plans for improvement to Epcot

For quite some time now, Disney had been focusing on a new way to transport parkgoers at Walt Disney World. The new service, called the Skyliner gondola ride, currently has five stops taking riders from theme parks to certain resorts. The lift only opened on September 29, but this week it dealt with a huge disruption on one of the lines, leaving guests stranded for hours.

Yes, hours. Over the weekend, Tweets started breaking from people who were on the Skyliner Gondola service showing they were in a state of being stuck on the ride. At one point, they were even asked to open emergency kits.

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Ultimately, some people were emergency evacuated from the Skyline gondola and rappelling was mentioned, while the Twitter user above also mentioned the ride was touch and go so that some people were able to get on and off the ride the normal way.

Images from the scenes indicated that some of the Skyliner gondola’s were seen “smashed up” and some reports allege a blue Skyliner gondola was the culprit of the problem.

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Disney did tell local Orlando news personality Greg Angel that there was “no accident” and that the downtime was being listed as “unexpected downtime.” It seems no one was injured at the very least when whatever happened with the Skyliner line occurred. The affected line was the one running from Epcot to Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort. It will connect to the new Riviera Resort expected to be opening in December.

A rider who was stuck with his disabled mother on the gondola for hours in the Floriday heat said the situation was “just a nightmare,” reflecting in comments to the Orlando Sentinel that his mother even threw up during their time stranded in the air on Saturday evening. Another mother mentioned her four-year-old son had to borrow one of his 20-month-old sibling's diapers, but also joked the bigger problem was her teen son's phone dying.

Meanwhile, the brand new Skyliner gondola ride has already been closed by Walt Disney World while the parks figure out what happened with the affected gondola line. The ride has not reopened, and now Disney has released a statement that it will remain closed while Disney “looks at the details” surrounding the downtime.

Rides have downtime due to myriad issues all the time. However, given the ride has only been open for a week and there was significant downtime leading to an evacuation, it does not bode well for people’s faith in Disney’s new transportation service, which was expected to be a major improvement over existing transportation, including the monorail. The Skyliner gondola system is just one of several other major upgrades Walt Disney World is in the middle of making to its various theme parks.

It’s something Universal Studios’ new Hagrid ride recently had to face when it saws major downtimes early in its run. The coaster ultimately had to cut hours to make things work.

Ultimately, most of us have some sort of recurring nightmare in their lives. My husband’s biggest nightmare is hitting an animal with his car. (Clearly, the man’s never lived in a rural area.) Mine just so happens to be stranded someplace for multiple hours with no bathroom in site. To all of those who suffered this fate at Disney World this week, I salute you.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.