Less than one week after opening, Disney’s much-ballyhooed new transportation system had an accident on Saturday night that left some park Guests stranded in the air for as long as three hours.
The Disney Skyliner is closed indefinitely while the company investigates, and Disney issued a formal statement on the situation yesterday.
While many Disney fan sites have been quick to rush to the company’s defense, some safety experts have said that Disney was unprepared for this kind of malfunction, and that three hours was too long for guests to be trapped in a cabin.
“Measures should have been in place for the possibility of a ride or device failure that required an expedited rescue and/or the delivery of water, food, medicine, portable toilets,” Brian Avery, an events, tourism and attractions operational safety expert, told USA TODAY.
“In this instance for example, if a violent thunderstorm had popped up and/or high winds were present, this could have been a serious event,” Avery added.
He goes on to say that Disney will undoubtedly learn from this incident and course correct going forward.
Will the Skyliner accident impact Disney World’s attendance?
The real damage is to the platform’s reputation. Skyliner — connecting four of Disney’s moderate resorts with Disney World’s two least-visited theme parks — is now temporarily closed. There is no indication as to when it will resume operation, and even when it does, the stigma of the accident will linger. Skyliner will always be the mode of transportation that can leave you dangling in a tight gondola cabin for several hours the next time something goes wrong.
There is currently no word on when the Skyliner will resume operations, and no way to tell if the accident will have any kind longterm impact on park attendance or revenue. Resorts like the Riviera were built with the Skyliner in mind, and other resorts on the Skyliner loop — such as Caribbean Beach and the Pop Century — could have seen price hikes as kind of a “convenience fee.”
If nothing else, there’s always the bus or a Lyft.
[Source: USA Today]