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  1. #31

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    Re: Why can't they bring back the Skyway?

    This is Bob Gurr (imagineer) on the subject of why the Skyway was removed from another thread on the Skyway :

    Take the Disneyland Sky Ride for example. When this attraction was installed in the mid-1950s, it was typical of the wire rope cableway transportation technology of those times. Design and operating standards become ever more strict over time. This makes it tough to upgrade old equipment to the latest standards each time the rules change. At some point in time, some items of equipment become either uneconomical, or physically impossible to upgrade.

    Another very real consideration is the wear and tear on machinery over the years. Many times the service replacement parts are no longer available. The existing parts have to be modified to accommodate different service parts (like bearings and such) and this kind of revision work can get pretty complicated. Pretty soon the basic framework parts begin to reach their ultimate fatigue life and require ever closer periodic inspections.

    OK....Time out for Mechanical Reality 101. Ultimate fatigue life? Most materials, such as steel and aluminum, have a characteristic where as you apply more load and number of working cycles, the material will start out with an unlimited life span, but get shorter and shorter as the load increases. Everyone knows the "bend the paper clip trick". Bend it just a tiny bit back and forth and you might never hurt it. Now bend it back and forth harder...it soon breaks. That's a demonstration of fatigue life.

    The trick in engineering anything is to make it heavy enough to last forever, but light enough to do the job you need done. Heavy as in, say railroad cars, light as in airplanes. Not all materials behave the same. Some mild steels have average strength so you don't expect to make them carry big loads. Certain aluminum alloys for example are very strong, and can carry big loads as long as you limit how many hours or years it will safely carry the load before the fatigue cracking starts. Now you can appreciate that not everything will last forever if it has to be light enough do a special job. Things that fly, or have to be very light will ultimately be life-limited in service. That's what we techno-heads call fatigue life limited. The Sky Way had a bit of that in it's original design when the Von Roll Company built it for Disneyland.

    There are other special considerations too. We learned way early that manufacturers that supplied parts to Disneyland found their stuff to have a shorter life in Disneyland service. Wow, you want to improve your product?...take it to Disneyland. So we soon codeveloped a lot of components that worked super after a few years of understanding the severe service requirements on Disneyland attractions.

    In the specific case of the Von Roll Sky Ride, we made numerous upgrades over the years to stay ahead of the severe service wear and tear. But eventually the combination of fatigue cracks, can't get service parts, much tighter new service standards...our wonderful old Sky Ride became a cranky old senior and had to go to the Extinct retirement home.

  2. #32

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    Re: Why can't they bring back the Skyway?

    Welcome to Micechat

    Perosnally, it is part health and safety and looks. When it operated, the supports were ugly and did not fit into theming of the area. Also, the Matterhorn did look small with the skyway running through
    The new Star Wars plot summery:

    Episode 7: Luke discovers that Darth Vader is not his father, and goes on a search for his real father

    Episode 8: Darth Vader is resurrected and goes on Jerry Springer, claiming he is Luke and Leia's father

    Episode 9: Princes Leia is not Luke's sister, making him furious (we all know why...).

  3. #33

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    Re: Why can't they bring back the Skyway?

    Quote Originally Posted by swampymarsh View Post
    But do we need the tour of rooftops?
    Solid point!

  4. #34

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    Re: Why can't they bring back the Skyway?

    It was ugly and cheapened the entire look at Disneyland. I will never understand the want for this attraction to come back. I understand nostalgia, but this was one huge eyesore of a ride. Looking at pictures of Disneyland as a kid, I'm always shocked at how cheap it made the park look; very run-of-the-mill amusement park looking that ruined any sense of realism the Matterhorn was supposed to have. Thank goodness they got rid of this one.

  5. #35

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    Re: Why can't they bring back the Skyway?

    Quote Originally Posted by SoCalFan View Post
    It was ugly and cheapened the entire look at Disneyland. I will never understand the want for this attraction to come back. I understand nostalgia, but this was one huge eyesore of a ride. Looking at pictures of Disneyland as a kid, I'm always shocked at how cheap it made the park look; very run-of-the-mill amusement park looking that ruined any sense of realism the Matterhorn was supposed to have. Thank goodness they got rid of this one.
    I completely agree with this. Skyway type rides are common place at just about any amusement park and don't effectively take you to another time or place. Not to mention they killed the forced perspective of the Matterhorn. The people who pine for its return, I feel, are speaking primarily out of nostalgia.

  6. #36

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    Re: Why can't they bring back the Skyway?

    Quote Originally Posted by Macro View Post
    This is Bob Gurr (imagineer) on the subject of why the Skyway was removed from another thread on the Skyway :
    That is very interesting.

  7. #37

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    Re: Why can't they bring back the Skyway?

    As a former Disney cast member who worked on the Skyway for several years, I'd like to relay some thoughts on what day-to-day operation was like back in the late 1970's.

    The Skyway was a one-way trip (I knew one cast member who had that slogan printed on a t-shirt). Many people thought it was a round trip which created a lot of confusion when you tried to unload them.

    A vast majority of 10 year old boys in the park enjoyed bombing runs on the guests below with ice, spit and candy. Sometime furious guests would beat them to the turnstiles at the exit and have their way with them.

    Many young couples preferred to ride alone. The buckets seated four, but you kind of had to squeeze in. Guest frequently argued with cast members about this, but capacity was everything back then so they usually lost.

    It was usually teenagers and usually males that would ask "How long is the ride?" This was only asked for one purpose - to light up a joint. Of course, any cabin that came in smelling of pot, was pulled aside and Security was called. It was amazing how much guests cooperated when they could have simply walked away.

    One day, we watched a couple of kids spitting out of a cabin as they made their way into our station. The ride forman pulled them aside and made them spit on each other! Their parents found out about it and complained. Not sure what happened after that.

    Operation of the skyway was flat out dangerous. One or two guys had to catch the cabins as they came into the station swinging. If someone took too long to get out, the next cabin coming would hit hard, unless the ride operator stopped it. Once in a while, he stopped it unexpectedly with his back. That really hurt.

    The cabins then had to be manually pushed around the corner to the load area. There was NOTHING other than a ride operator there to stop the cabins - while he was making sure everyone, especially little kids, didn't wander out and get hit.

    Both sides of the Skyway had timers to release the cabins onto the cable at the same intervals. If one side started to back up into the station, the timer was advanced to clear the station, but the other side then paid the price as cabins came in more quickly.

    The Skyway was run by a single electric motor at the Fantasyland Station. It was big, but if the power failed, there was a back up. A small gasoline engine that could be started to turn the system slowly so cabins could be evacuated. I believe it was a simple VW Bug Engine. Although it's hard to believe, if the gas engine wouldn't work, they had a large crank handle that could be inserted into a gear box and two guys could CRANK the system around to unload it.

    Swinging the cabins was also a constant problem. Each tower had limit switches to stop the system if a cabin approached a tower at an angle. More than once, the cable came off one of the towers and the cabins had to be unloaded with fire truck extension ladders. That was always a PR nightmare.

    Should they bring back the skyway? I don't think so!

  8. #38

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    Re: Why can't they bring back the Skyway?

    Awesome!

  9. #39

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    Re: Why can't they bring back the Skyway?

    Quote Originally Posted by Redd Rockett View Post
    Swinging the cabins was also a constant problem. Each tower had limit switches to stop the system if a cabin approached a tower at an angle. More than once, the cable came off one of the towers and the cabins had to be unloaded with fire truck extension ladders. That was always a PR nightmare.
    This I personally remember. On a trip during Spring break in the late 80s, something happened to the Skyway where people got stuck (I believe it was related to cabin swinging) and they had to rescue folks with fire ladders. All of Fantasyland was shut down and we didn't find out what happened until we got back to our hotel room and turned on the news.
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  10. #40

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    Re: Why can't they bring back the Skyway?

    Quote Originally Posted by Redd Rockett View Post
    As a former Disney cast member who worked on the Skyway for several years, I'd like to relay some thoughts on what day-to-day operation was like back in the late 1970's.

    The Skyway was a one-way trip (I knew one cast member who had that slogan printed on a t-shirt). Many people thought it was a round trip which created a lot of confusion when you tried to unload them.

    A vast majority of 10 year old boys in the park enjoyed bombing runs on the guests below with ice, spit and candy. Sometime furious guests would beat them to the turnstiles at the exit and have their way with them.

    Many young couples preferred to ride alone. The buckets seated four, but you kind of had to squeeze in. Guest frequently argued with cast members about this, but capacity was everything back then so they usually lost.

    It was usually teenagers and usually males that would ask "How long is the ride?" This was only asked for one purpose - to light up a joint. Of course, any cabin that came in smelling of pot, was pulled aside and Security was called. It was amazing how much guests cooperated when they could have simply walked away.

    One day, we watched a couple of kids spitting out of a cabin as they made their way into our station. The ride forman pulled them aside and made them spit on each other! Their parents found out about it and complained. Not sure what happened after that.

    Operation of the skyway was flat out dangerous. One or two guys had to catch the cabins as they came into the station swinging. If someone took too long to get out, the next cabin coming would hit hard, unless the ride operator stopped it. Once in a while, he stopped it unexpectedly with his back. That really hurt.

    The cabins then had to be manually pushed around the corner to the load area. There was NOTHING other than a ride operator there to stop the cabins - while he was making sure everyone, especially little kids, didn't wander out and get hit.

    Both sides of the Skyway had timers to release the cabins onto the cable at the same intervals. If one side started to back up into the station, the timer was advanced to clear the station, but the other side then paid the price as cabins came in more quickly.

    The Skyway was run by a single electric motor at the Fantasyland Station. It was big, but if the power failed, there was a back up. A small gasoline engine that could be started to turn the system slowly so cabins could be evacuated. I believe it was a simple VW Bug Engine. Although it's hard to believe, if the gas engine wouldn't work, they had a large crank handle that could be inserted into a gear box and two guys could CRANK the system around to unload it.

    Swinging the cabins was also a constant problem. Each tower had limit switches to stop the system if a cabin approached a tower at an angle. More than once, the cable came off one of the towers and the cabins had to be unloaded with fire truck extension ladders. That was always a PR nightmare.

    Should they bring back the skyway? I don't think so!
    I was scheduled to train on it two weeks before I termed. When I reminded the scheduler I'd be leaving in a couple of weeks, she pulled me off the training schedule. She had forgotten I was terminating. Almost wish I hadn't said anything to see if they left me on the schedule. Would have been neat to have one more attraction on my job knowledge list.

    I do remember getting pelted myself one time after my shift on Small World. Not sure what it was, but I was walking by Matterhorn toward Tomorrowland and felt something hit me from above. Looked up and saw two kids peaking over the edge of the cabin laughing. Went back to Matterhorn and had them call in the cabin to T-Sky.

  11. #41

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    Re: Why can't they bring back the Skyway?

    Quote Originally Posted by Macro View Post
    This is Bob Gurr (imagineer) on the subject of why the Skyway was removed from another thread on the Skyway :
    Great excerpt. Nice to see some hard info.

    I think seeing the abandoned Skyway station in Fantasyland (19 yrs now) bothers me more than the Skyway not being there.

    The one at the SD Zoo is outstanding. You want a really good Skyway ride? Take the Palm Springs Aerial Tram that goes from the desert floor to the hiking/nature areas of Mt San Jacinto. Anyone done that? Great ride!

  12. #42

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    Re: Why can't they bring back the Skyway?

    Quote Originally Posted by B2D View Post
    Take the Palm Springs Aerial Tram that goes from the desert floor to the hiking/nature areas of Mt San Jacinto. Anyone done that? Great ride!
    definitely a great ride especially during winter time....the tram rotates so everyone gets the same view....

    the thing that bothers me the most is seeing the abandoned people mover track in tomorrowland....its been sitting there for years being untouched....i wish they would put another ride there

  13. #43

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    Re: Why can't they bring back the Skyway?

    I am glad I got to ride the Skyway. The night rides on the gondolas were cool, passing through the blueish interiors of the Matterhorn, offering dazzling views of the Main Street Electrical parade, Fireworks, Skull rock waterfall, a pirate ship, Storybookland, an energy filled Tomorrowland with Subs, Peoplemovers, Autopia cars, Rockets, Monorails, live bands with crowds dancing, and a spinning America Sings. It was a world on the move. Some guests thought the Skyway to be a romantic ride. Marriage proposals occurred during a one way trip.

    Some guests dropped things off of the skyway, others would rock the cars and get them swinging. Yep, there were some troublemakers.

    When I hear talk of the Skyway, I expect to hear of the actions of unruly people on the attraction. It wouldn't be a Skyway thread without it.

    Let us turn a blind eye to the unruly guests. Standing up while the train is moving, yelling over at people in the Blue Bayou restaurant to "pass the salt," squirting unknown materials at guests, leaving them to wonder what it is on them, insulting others guests over Disney wear, taking cuts, pushing into others, passing atrocious odors in line, shouting profanities in a shared attraction vehicle with children present, and deliberately ignoring cast members. I was burned several times as a child by others holding their cigarettes outward and my parents were quick to chastise the offenders.

    I have fond memories of the skyway overall and the author of this thread isn't wrong about wishing to have experienced the attraction. I saw plenty of friendly, courteous CMs working in the stations, offering smiles, welcomes, and wishing me well.
    Last edited by Triton; 04-27-2013 at 06:19 AM.

  14. #44

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    Re: Why can't they bring back the Skyway?

    If they brought it back they should make one end start in Critter Country. It would be complicated crossing the ROA, I know, but it would be neat if it were to traverse the entire park.

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