The Skyway was a gondola lift attraction at Disneyland, at the Magic Kingdom, and at Tokyo Disneyland. Since all versions of this attraction took riders back and forth between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, the route from Tomorrowland was called Skyway to Fantasyland, and the route from Fantasyland was called Skyway to Tomorrowland.[1]

The Skyway passing through the Matterhorn Bobsleds, 1962
AreaFantasyland, Tomorrowland
Soft opening dateJune 10, 1956
Opening dateJune 23, 1956
Closing dateNovember 9, 1994
Magic Kingdom
AreaFantasyland, Tomorrowland
Opening dateOctober 1, 1971
Closing dateNovember 10, 1999
Tokyo Disneyland
AreaFantasyland, Tomorrowland
Opening dateApril 15, 1983
Closing dateNovember 3, 1998
Replaced byPooh's Hunny Hunt (Fantasyland station)
Stellar Sweets (Tomorrowland station)
Ride statistics
Attraction typeGondola lift
ManufacturerVon Roll Holding
DesignerWED Enterprises
ModelVonroll Type 101 detachable monocable gondola lift
Height60 ft (18 m)
Length1,200 ft (370 m)
Speed4 mph (6.4 km/h)
Vehicle typeGondola
Riders per vehicle4
Required TicketD (Disneyland)
D (Magic Kingdom)

History Edit

Disneyland Edit

The Skyway at Disneyland opened on June 23, 1956.[2] It was built by Von Roll, Ltd. based in Bern, Switzerland. It was the first Von Roll Type 101 aerial ropeway in the United States. Walt Disney Imagineering bought the ride from Switzerland. It was a 1947 Vonroll sidechair model. In 1959, a major renovation added The Submarine Voyage, the Disneyland Monorail, the Matterhorn (now a Fantasyland Attraction), and the Motor Boat Cruise, but when the Matterhorn was planned, it was designed to be built in the path of the Skyway.[3] The Skyway closed in late 1957, its tallest tower of 60 feet tall was demolished and Matterhorn Bobsleds was built in its spot. The attraction later reopened in 1959 with the expanded Tomorrowland Complex.

During the Fantasyland renovation at Disneyland in the early 1980s, the Skyway made only roundtrips from Tomorrowland.

The Skyway closed on November 9, 1994. The reason for closure was attributed to metal fatigue. Stress cracks had developed inside the Matterhorn tower battery supports, and the only way to do maintenance was to open up the Matterhorn to do work on it. ADA had no bearing on the Skyway's closure as the ride was grandfathered into ANSI code B77.1.[4] The Skyway's operating budget was transferred to Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. The holes in the Matterhorn were partially filled in and the Skyway's cable and supports were dismantled within weeks. Despite popular belief, the Skyway was not closed due necessarily to the assessment of risk newly brought on by a park attendee who intentionally jumped out of the passenger cabin of a gondola into a tree below and sued Disney earlier that year.[5]

While the Tomorrowland Skyway station at Disneyland was removed soon after the attraction's closure, the Fantasyland Skyway station remained intact until mid-2016.[6] The sidewalks up to the station were simply chained off from guests, and the chalet remained empty, eventually hidden from view due to overgrown trees. On May 11, 2016, the City of Anaheim approved a permit to the The Walt Disney Company for the "demolition of 5,132 square feet for Skyway Building #7301",[7] signaling the likely demolition of the chalet, as land clearing for construction of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge had reached the chalet's western side. After 22 years, the abandoned chalet was demolished after park closing on June 11, 2016, nearly 60 years after the attraction's opening day.

Tokyo Disneyland Edit

In 1998, Tokyo Disneyland closed its Skyway. The Fantasyland station was removed to make room for Pooh's Hunny Hunt, while the Tomorrowland station was remodeled into a candy store.

Magic Kingdom Edit

At the Magic Kingdom, the Skyway was removed in 1999. During the renovation of Space Mountain, the Tomorrowland station was demolished in the summer of 2009, while the Fantasyland station was used for stroller parking. However, the Fantasyland station was later demolished for a Tangled-themed restroom area in 2012.[8]

After almost twenty years of absence, Disney revived the classic Skyway in a modern-day take at the Walt Disney World Resort. The new 'Disney Skyliner' connects Disney's Art of Animation, Pop Century, and Caribbean Beach resorts, as well as the Disney Riviera Resort, with other locations such as Disney's Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot.[9]

Legacy Edit

A tribute to the Skyway was added to the Matterhorn Bobsleds after an extensive refurbishment in 2015. Several wrecked Skyway buckets and Matterhorn Bobsled vehicles from the park's history appear just past the top of the lift hill, torn to shreds and abandoned by the attraction's Abominable Snowman. These replaced the original flashing crystals.

In 2017, Disney announced the construction of the Disney Skyliner in Walt Disney World's Epcot Resort Area. While the Skyliner and Skyway are both aerial ropeways, the Skyliner gondolas would be larger than the Skyway cars since the Skyliner would act as a commuter transport between the resorts, Epcot, and Disney's Hollywood Studios.[10][11]

Gallery Edit

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ Strodder, Chris (2017). The Disneyland Encyclopedia (3rd ed.). Santa Monica Press. pp. 432–433. ISBN 978-1595800909.
  2. ^ "1956 Photo: Walt Disney at Opening of Skyway to Fantasyland at Disneyland Park". Disney Parks Blog. Archived from the original on May 31, 2016. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
  3. ^ Gennawey, Sam (2014). The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney's Dream. Keen Communications. pp. 117–118. ISBN 978-1-62809-012-3.
  4. ^ Kelechava, Brad. "ANSI B77.1 Ski Chair Lift Safety". ANSI. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  5. ^ "Disneyland Skyway Death". April 22, 2000. Archived from the original on May 2, 2022. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  6. ^ Pimentel, Joseph; Eades, Mark (May 18, 2016). "Video: Disneyland's Skyway station to be demolished to make way for 'Star Wars' land". Archived from the original on June 28, 2016.
  7. ^ "Permit Number: BLD2016-02303". City of Anaheim. Archived from the original on May 23, 2016. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  8. ^ "Skyway to Fantasyland". Disney Park History. Archived from the original on April 14, 2016. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
  9. ^ Deitchman, Beth (July 16, 2017). "12 Amazing Announcements from the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Presentation at D23 Expo". Archived from the original on July 17, 2017.
  10. ^ Smith, Thomas. "Disney Skyliner, New Minnie Vehicles to Transport Guests Around Walt Disney World Resort". Disney Parks Blog. Archived from the original on July 16, 2017. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  11. ^ Bevil, Dewayne. "Coming to Disney World: Tron, Guardians of the Galaxy ride, 'Star Wars' hotel". Archived from the original on July 16, 2017. Retrieved July 17, 2017.

External links Edit