Travel

Disney's new Skyliner closed after riders were stranded for hours in air

FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, file photo, gondolas move to various locations at Walt Disney World on the Disney Skyliner aerial tram, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Firefighters have responded to help Walt Disney World park-goers who have been stuck aboard the Florida resort's newly launched aerial cable car system, late Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File) [JOHN RAOUX | AP]

Disney's new Skyliner closed after riders were stranded for hours in air
Disney's new Skyliner closed after riders were stranded for hours in air
Disney's new Skyliner closed after riders were stranded for hours in air
Disney's new Skyliner closed after riders were stranded for hours in air
Disney's new Skyliner closed after riders were stranded for hours in air
Disney's new Skyliner closed after riders were stranded for hours in air
Disney's new Skyliner closed after riders were stranded for hours in air
Disney's new Skyliner closed after riders were stranded for hours in air
Disney's new Skyliner closed after riders were stranded for hours in air
Disney's new Skyliner closed after riders were stranded for hours in air

Riders on Disney World's new Skyliner gondola ride were stranded for hours Saturday night after Skyliner cars known as gondolas became stuck in the air, according to social media posts from the scene.

Disney confirmed in a statement Sunday morning that its new aerial cable car system would be closed indefinitely after it experienced "unexpected downtime" late Saturday night.

The transport system, which was created to move guests between Disney's hotels and resorts to Hollywood Studios and Epcot, opened just a week ago.

"One of the three Disney Skyliner routes experienced an unexpected downtime Saturday evening," Disney said in a release. "As a result, the Skyliner will be closed while we look into the details surrounding the downtime."

Courtney Cole shared on Twitter that she was stuck in one of the gondolas at 10:11 p.m., saying "not how I wanted to spend my night. Currently stuck in the air."

Nearly two hours later, she shared a smiling selfie on her account saying she finally made it safely to the ground after over three hours of being stranded.

Courtney Cole

Safely on the ground after being stuck on the #disneyskyliner for over 3 hours..

A Disney spokeswoman said there were no injuries in the incident. Disney didn't say in its release how guests who were stuck would be compensated, but said it was looking into how the incident "impacts their visit with us."

Chris Edenfield, who told the Orlando Sentinel he was stuck on the ride for hours with his disabled mother, also told the paper that Disney gave him four all-day park passes and a $200 gift card.

With 300 cabins, five loading stations and 22 character themes, the Skyliner runs 90 feet off the ground when in operation. It was opened to rival Disney's famous monorail system, according to Disney officials, and can transport 10 people per gondola.

Gondolas are not equipped with air conditioning and instead use an airflow system, which keeps the cabin cool while traveling at 11 miles per hour. The fact that the transportation system broke down at night kept the lack of air conditioning from being too much of an issue, Cole said.

"Since it was at night it wasn't bad," she said. "If that were to happen during the day I'm sure it would've been miserable."

Disney did not announce a timetable for the gondolas return to service. The affected stretch that stranded guests connects Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort with Epcot. It is the longest consistent stretch of line the Skyliner has, according to the Sentinel.