Guests left dangling in swaying gondolas when Disney Skyliner broke down, issued Emergency Kits during the ordeal

Disney Skyliner breakdown
Credit: Melissa Cannioto/Canva Creation

The Disney Skyliner malfunctioned Thursday evening, leaving anxious Guests dangling in the air for half an hour after they were instructed to open their Guest emergency kits.

disney skyliner signage

Credit: Melissa Cannioto

The Disney Skyliner is a little like the best of both (Disney) Worlds. That’s because most Guests see it as an attraction and a mode of transportation, all in one. The Skyliner makes it easier for Guests to move around certain areas of the Walt Disney World Resort.

Currently, the Disney Skyliner routes simplify travel between EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios and take Guests to and from four Disney World Resort Hotels: Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Riviera Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, and Disney’s Pop Century Resort.

disney skyliner

Credit: Disney Parks

But while the Disney Skyliner offers exciting transportation aboard whimsically designed aerial gondolas, like all Disney World attractions and modes of transportation at the Florida parks, the Disney Skyliner also runs the risk of mechanical failure and other issues that can lead to a cessation of operation, even if only temporarily.

That’s exactly what happened Thursday evening at approximately 8:30 p.m. local time, when Guests boarded the Disney Skyliner, only to experience its failure. A Guest named Melissa and her husband Mike took their seats in a Skyliner gondola around 8:15 p.m. They were looking forward to enjoying dinner at Sebastian’s Bistro at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.

According to Melissa, the couple wasn’t too far from their destination when the Skyliner stopped. She says the descent toward the Disney Skyliner station at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort was all that was left on their journey in the sky, and that’s when the gondola suddenly stopped.

“OMG, so, we are stuck on the Skyliner,” read the message she sent to friends.

skyliner gondola

Credit: Melissa Cannioto

The Disney Skyliner had ceased to operate, and Melissa and her husband were stuck in a gondola between Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, dangling three to four stories above the ground.

“The gondola came to a sharp stop about 30 to 40 feet in the air,” Melissa recounted. “At first, we assumed it was due to a delayed boarding process down at the station, but after 5 minutes had passed, we started to wonder what was actually happening.”

According to Melissa, Cast Members were at their best, trying to maintain the magic while ensuring the safety of Guests involved in the breakdown. She says that Cast Members regularly updated Guests via announcements over the loudspeaker.

The Skyliner has been temporarily delayed,” was the announcement. “We will resume your flight as soon as possible. We thank you for your patience. Please remain seated, as we work with our maintenance team to fix the issue.”

Melissa says that every 5 minutes, another announcement was made, noting how long Guests had been stuck in their respective gondolas. But after they’d been dangling for about 20 minutes, a different announcement surely left some Guests feeling a little uneasy.

“We do have a convenience kit for you to use,” said the Cast Member over the loudspeaker. “It can be found in the black box under your seat. Open up that box. Also, press the emergency call button by the door of the cabin if you need further assistance.”

emergency kit disney skyliner gondola

Credit: Melissa Cannioto

Melissa says the experience felt a little like being stuck in a “Disney Skyliner” escape room. She and her husband opened the black box as instructed and found kits that included emergency purified drinking water pouches, ice compress packs, a whistle, and an emesis bag (otherwise known as a barf bag) for those who struggled with motion sickness.

(Even though the Disney Skyliner was not in operation, the gondolas were swaying and swinging!)

The ordeal lasted about half an hour before the gondolas began to move forward again. Melissa and her husband disembarked at the Caribbean Beach Resort station. When they arrived, Melissa and her husband noticed several security vehicles and fire department trucks outside the station, but no one could tell them what had led to the Skyliner’s failure.

disney security skyliner station

Credit: Melissa Cannioto

Melissa says she was happy that she and her husband arrived in time for their dining reservation at Sebastian’s Bistro, and she shared this photo, captioned with the words, “Worth it.”

man looks out window at sebastian's bistro disney

Credit: Melissa Cannioto

Not only did the couple make it to their dining reservation at Sebastian’s Bistro, but the view of the nighttime spectacular out their window made the experience truly magical after all.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!