A week after its grand opening, the Disney Skyliner suffered its first major malfunction, leaving guests stuck inside gondolas for nearly three hours Saturday night.
According to multiple reports from park guests and Disney fan blogs, the problem originated at the Riviera Resort station. An empty Skyliner cabin bumped into another empty gondola just before 8 p.m. Saturday. Video from the scene showed broken glass at the station.
— Ada (@Ada58974405) October 6, 2019
Disney’s initial statement said there was “no accident” and described the problem as “unexpected downtime.” The line connecting Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort to Epcot’s International Gateway was stopped completely.
This left guests stuck inside gondolas high above the ground. One family who spoke to The Orlando Sentinel said they heard little beyond an automated message reporting that the gondolas were experiencing a delay. Real-time information, the family said, came from social media.
Stranded guests were told to open the Skyliner emergency kits, which include water, a notebook and waste disposal bags. Emergency evacuations were performed in some cases, requiring a cherry picker-like crane.
— GoodeDisneyDays (@BellePixi) October 6, 2019
All guests had been evacuated sometime shortly after 11 p.m., and were offered compensation in the form of $100 gift cards and free park tickets.
Later in the evening, Disney updated its initial statement. According to BlogMickey.com, the new statement acknowledged there was an accident, saying that “an empty car was delayed, a second empty car bumped it. No guests were involved.”
The Skyliner system was not running Sunday morning as an investigation was conducted. BlogMickey.com reported the National Transportation Safety Board is not involved with the inquiry.
The accident drew plenty of attention on Twitter Saturday night — including from fan accounts and YouTubers criticizing media for covering the story and stranded guests for complaining about the long delay.
RE: Disney Skyliner accident at the Rivera station.
I will not be “on the scene” as many have asked, as I feel it’s best to let the evacuation teams and emergency services carry out operations, WITHOUT having a bunch of bloggers in the way.
— DSNY Newscast (@DSNYNewscast) October 6, 2019
All of you people bitching because you were stuck on the #disneyskyliner need to chill down. S*** happens. No one was hurt and life moves on. Dis was more than generous with their compensation. Your kids will live. Use this to teach them that the world’s not nerf, deal with it. pic.twitter.com/35ke3IgFqX
— Jackie Moon (@Endoair) October 6, 2019
People are being awfully dramatic about the #disneyskyliner issue last night. Was it ideal? Prob not. But it’s a risk on ANY ride. No one was hurt, they had a rescue plan, it was late so sun wasn’t cooking you. Far from traumatizing in my opinion. I’ll still ride, just pee 1st.🤷🏼♀️
— Paige (@pward1203) October 6, 2019
Disney did not respond to a request for comment from Orlando Rising on the Skyliner’s status and why its initial statement said there was “no accident.”