Disney World got lucky last week.
It was both night and October.
Okay, Cataline, that does happen a few times a year. What is your point?
I’ll get to that in a moment. First a little background.
One of the biggest things Disney Parks tries to keep a sharp eye on is crowd flow. They don’t want their money paying mob bunched up in one spot. That makes for a very inefficient money sheering process. People just can’t spend a lot of money if they are stuck in traffic.
The most powerful tool for getting people to move around Disney Parks is the Disney Parks smartphone app. If the app tells you there is an hour long wait at Space Mountain but only a fifteen minute wait at the Haunted Mansion. You are much more likely to saunter over to the Ghosties and Ghoulies. And hopefully, buy Haunted Mansion china in the gift shop.
But that app also tells Disney parks everything about crowd flow. And I do mean everything. Its an ideal situation for a data scientist because the sample is so confined.
Managing and grooming crowd flow has become an obsession for Disney Parks, once it became clear that the people who spent the most money were the ones staying on park property.
The first step was instituting overnight parking fees for cars, (up to $144 for a six night stay). The next was creating a transit system for the moderate resorts.
The big luxury resorts (the Monorail resorts and the Crescent Lake resorts), had plenty of controlled transit available already. The Crescent Lake Friendships…
…can ferry you EPCOT or Hollywood Studios. And the Monorail will shuffle between the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT.
However, if you were at the moderate resorts you can take one of the “Minnie Vans” (Disney Uber basically), for a round trip fee of forty bucks. But since you are at a moderate resort, let’s face facts you are taking the bus…everywhere.
The buses are okay-ish so far as controlling crowd flow but they are nowhere near as good as the Monorails.
So why not build them for the Moderates, you ask? Sure it’s expensive upfront but the running costs…
The running costs are obscene. Disney World is built on a swamp. Each monorail pylon has to have it’s own pumping station. The complex math of running the Monorails comes down to the fact that the Monorail resorts are the most expensive and those guests spend the most money. It just isn’t viable for the amount of money the people at the moderates spend.
But this year a reasonably inexpensive alternative was opened. The Skyliner. This is just cheap enough and it provides a throwback to some defunct rides that were torn out years ago.
Below is the route that it runs on and as you can see it’s all about…
…hustling the Moderate guests between EPCOT and Hollywood Studios on a very regular, and quite measurable basis.
Also, there is no way in hell you would catch me on one. It is not that I’m worried about them falling it is because Bob Chapek decided (and he had to have been the guy with the final say on this) to save money by not installing air conditioning in the gondolas. Orlando is usually hot. Damn hot and in July it gets all the way up to fucking hot. I can’t look at one of these things without thinking, “oh no! Not the BOX!”
Now they are well ventilated and chug along at a good enough clip to create a cross breeze. The problem is what would happen if they stopped moving?
On October 6, Disney Guests got to find out. The Skyliner system came screeching to a halt and stayed halted for three hours. Every five minutes a loud voice blared, “Skyliner system has halted!” at its prisoners.
The only thing that kept matters at “major inconvenience,” instead of “corporate disaster,” was the fact that it was past ten at night and it was October.
But if this had happened in July at two in the afternoon and the temperature is at 95 degrees, I guarantee there would have been heat casualties all over the place and given the age of some guests. fatalities as well.
The gondolas have fittings available to install air conditioning.
There are currently no plans to do so.
Moderate guests just aren’t worth it.