TPT logo

Your guide to theme parks in Orlando and beyond

 

Main menu

Is Disney Building a New Transportation System Between Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios?

Though the majority of guests staying on property at Walt Disney World get around by bus, the most iconic method of transportation around the resort is undoubtedly the Monorail. Other than Cinderella Castle, it’s one of the most well-recognized symbols of Walt Disney World, and it’s one of the biggest reasons why the three hotels connected to the Magic Kingdom monorail loop can charge $600-$1000 per night.  However, it looks like another transportation option could be coming to Walt Disney World, and this one could be the biggest game changer for Walt Disney World since the opening of the initial monorail back in 1971. 

Earlier this week WDWMagic forum users uncovered a number of permits that suggest a gondola transportation system (similar to the Skyway that used to transport guests around the Magic Kingdom, but potentially with enclosed capsules, like those that are used in New York City to transport tourists to Roosevelt Island) could be in the works for the resort. According to these permits, the plan would be for this elevated transportation system to service Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Caribbean Beach Resort, and Art of Animation (and neighbor Pop Century as well). You can see a (potential) route for this proposed new transportation system below:

While its easy to feel a little bit of skepticism regarding this rumored plan, (after all, Disney has never bothered to expand the monorail system), the fact that Disney has officially filed permits for the construction of these stations means that they are serious about pursuing this option. And if we take into account some other current events around the resort, this development actually shouldn’t be all that surprising

1. The Caribbean Beach coincidence 

Last month we told you about Disney’s plans to expand its Caribbean Beach resort, which will include, among other things, a new large multi-level building that would be constructed where the Barbados village of the resort currently sits. At the time, we assumed this meant that Disney was working on plans to bring DVC villas to this resort. However, with this new development in mind, we can’t help but feel like the timing is a little more than just coincidence. 

While we have no doubt that additional rooms (and of course DVC villas) could feasibly be part of this plan, the fact that permits for this expansion as well as the new skyway system were filed within a few weeks of each other seems like a very telling sign, and we wouldn't be surprised if the plan is currently to build whatever this new building will be around a new Skyway transportation station. 

2. The Star Wars Land connection

 Image: Disney

Both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story have broken records at the box office. And Disney is hoping that the introduction of Star Wars Land will have a similar effect on attendance at Walt Disney World, which, as you might already know, has been sagging in recent years.

However, with great attendance comes great strain on Walt Disney World’s infrastructure, and while Disney already has a fleet of buses and boats that service Disney’s Hollywood Studios, if Star Wars Land blows up like Disney is hoping it will in 2019, Disney might be trying to look for a way to solve guest congestion issues before they even surface by adding this third option for guests staying at these resorts (or wanting to park hop to Epcot). 

However, even though this addition would surely improve the guest experience (and make transportation out of the park a lot smoother), there's also a BIG potential monetary element to this rumored development as well... 

Go to page:

Pages

There are 3 comments.

There actually was an earlier effort to add Hollywood Studios to the monorail system. It turned out that the ground wasn't stable enough to carry the weight. There was a rumor that at one point, the workers came back one morning to find that several support pylons had been swallowed into the ground. I don't know if that was ever official confirmed, but considering that the same thing happened in Tampa a while back during highway construction, it's not impossible.

I think a big reason that the monorail hasn't been updated is because of new transportation regulations. currently, rail systems need "exit walkways" and other safety features for guests in case the car breaks down on the track. this walkway can be an eyesore that would clash with the "look" of WDW. upgrading the current track would require this addition, and thus make a relatively "simple" project more complex.

another option would be to add a second "line" and leave the original MK/EC loops untouched. I'm sure fitting in the current safety requirements would be easier to design from the ground up, but still costly.

Ideally...
1. Bulldoze Journey Into Imagination, it's lost by now :(
2. Move the Epcot Monorail station to International Gateway, making the Boardwalk and Yacht & Beach Club Monorail hotels.
3. Really ideal, extent the Monorail to DHS. If that's to much, sure a Gondola connecting the 4 locations.

At that point, Disney Springs isn't that far. A Heathrow style PRT would be perfect though.

Pages

Connect with Theme Park Tourist: