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  1. #1

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    April 10, 2009: Skyway to Tomorrowland

    After taking off from a small chalet in the Alps of Fantasyland, you're on your way to Tomorrowland.


    Please discuss it here.
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

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    Re: April 10, 2009: Skyway to Tomorrowland

    After recently spending a month in Switzerland, I wouldn't mind if the Swiss chalet sold some Swiss Glühwein -- red wine, lemon juice, sugar, cloves, orange zest, and cinnamon. Mmmmm.

    Rostli also would be good.

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    Re: April 10, 2009: Skyway to Tomorrowland

    I miss the skyway overall, I enjoyed the breeze and views. I certainly do not miss the people who used to throw things (like popcorn or gum) or spit from it. I wish my kids had been able to ride it just once. It is a shame that the chalet just sits there. In all honesty I am surprised it wasn't dismantled. I look at it every time I go to the park and smile. Good memories with people no longer here. Surely something could be done to make use of the place and a way to make it ADA compliant.


    Thanks for a good article Werner, its always a treat to take a peek into Yesterland.

  4. #4

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    Re: April 10, 2009: Skyway to Tomorrowland

    I know people will think I'm crazy or joking, but if it came down to the Indiana Jones ride and the SkyWay, I would've preferred the SkyWay. Indiana Jones is fun and I ride it every time, but the atmosphere of both riders and observers from the ground cannot be matched by anything else. To see those cars floating through the air, and taking in the park from a different view, it created a Disneyland that simply does not exist today.

    I have no fond memories of Indiana Jones like they said I would. I do however have many fond memories of the SkyWay... one of the few (if not ONLY) skyways that I actually have as a memory. SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo's skyways are absolutely nill for me, I don't even remember the last time I was on them, let alone 20+ years ago. Disneyland's SkyWay was unique and very, very special.

    Now, I can honestly see Disney's need to shutting down old attractions while opening new ones. It is expensive to run a park and to simply add and add without ever taking anything out would get awfully expensive. However, there's that little thing that comes around every year called a price hike which should more than pay for perpetual adding of attractions and entertainment. Instead it just means another gold-plated limo for the executives that run Disney.

    No matter how old I get, I am SO thankful that I got a chance to see the SkyWay (and so many other Disneyland classics now long gone). Every generation from now until forever will never know the quiet thrill of riding the SkyWay and I just think that's tragic. I cannot explain enough how lucky I feel to have been a part of that ride.

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    Re: April 10, 2009: Skyway to Tomorrowland

    I just realized something as I was scanning through my memory banks of Indiana Jones memories and found that I do not have fond memories of ANY thrill ride! I honestly cannot recall one ride on a rollercoaster or thrill ride, other than my very first time. I think it's because thrill rides are not really "enjoyed" but more "experienced" for their adrenaline-producing abilities. I mean sure we have fun on thrill rides, but it's more about the adrenaline effect than it is any intrinsic fun value of the ride.

    With slow-moving and highly enjoyable rides like the MotorBoat Cruise, SkyWay or Submarine Voyage, we have time in our minds to take it all in and associate memories with them. With thrill rides, things happen too quickly and we are too busy dealing with sensory overload to even bother with forming long-term memories.

    I just don't know if there will be grown adults in the distant future reminiscing about Indiana Jones and Tower of Terror the way we do today with the SkyWay and other classic Disneyland attractions.

  6. #6

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    Re: April 10, 2009: Skyway to Tomorrowland

    I was working in Tomorrowland attractions when the Skyway was being shut down (never worked it, myself, though). As said above, I miss the ride but I don't miss the kids trying to spit on the guests below...

    The scuttlebut among the cast at the time was that it was shut due to ADA mandates, requiring Disney to install elevators at the stations and make the gondolas able to accomodate wheelchairs.

    Since then, people say that wouldn't be the case, because that ride would have been "grandfathered," and therefore wouldn't have to comply -- that the ADA regulations only affected new rides and structures.

    I don't know which is true, but they did install elevators for the monorail, and made each monorail train able to accomodate wheelchairs.

    An alternte rumor floating around the break rooms was that the companies who made rides like the skyway no longer existed, and since there was no way to buy "spare parts," it was very expensive to maintain the aging ride.

    I don't buy the theory that the closure had anything to do with that guy falling out. When that happened, we heard stories of witnesses claiming that guy was fooling around and actually leaning out of the gondola trying to unlatch the door. Conincidence that when he "fell" he just happened to land in a big nearby tree? Probably the only safe place en route to "fall" at...

    But again, those are just the rumors that flew around the cast member breakrooms at the time. Who knows what was true and what wasn't. But personally I think it was a combination of the cost to maintain the ride plus the new ADA requirements. It just seems too coincidental that many theme parks shut down their similar "skyway" rides around that same time period...

  7. #7

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    Re: April 10, 2009: Skyway to Tomorrowland

    I miss the Skyway. My family always used to call them "The Buckets". Not sure why, it might have been because my sister and I were young and said they looked like buckets, but anyway. They were enjoyable when you just wanted to take it easy and to a 7 year old, they were scary! It was a great "thrill" ride if you were younger and a nice break if you were older. I wonder if there is any chance of them coming back if they were made accessible to everyone and saftey fitted somehow. I mean, Blizzard Beach has their ski lift up to Mt. Gushmore, so couldn't Disneyland bring them back at some point?
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    Re: April 10, 2009: Skyway to Tomorrowland

    Quote Originally Posted by Athlonacon View Post
    I just realized something as I was scanning through my memory banks of Indiana Jones memories and found that I do not have fond memories of ANY thrill ride! I honestly cannot recall one ride on a rollercoaster or thrill ride, other than my very first time. I think it's because thrill rides are not really "enjoyed" but more "experienced" for their adrenaline-producing abilities. I mean sure we have fun on thrill rides, but it's more about the adrenaline effect than it is any intrinsic fun value of the ride.

    With slow-moving and highly enjoyable rides like the MotorBoat Cruise, SkyWay or Submarine Voyage, we have time in our minds to take it all in and associate memories with them. With thrill rides, things happen too quickly and we are too busy dealing with sensory overload to even bother with forming long-term memories.

    My feelings exactly, which is why I think a lot of people miss the PeopleMover as well. The rides you mentioned and the PeopleMover were the kind of rides where you were able to sit, relax and take a look around. You didn't have to "be" part of the ride; the ride just took you along with it.

  9. #9

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    Re: April 10, 2009: Skyway to Tomorrowland

    I cannot imagine that the Skyway was more expensive to operate than Indiana Jones! There is a great deal of maintenance with Indy and the Skyway was much more straightforward.

    In fact, the ride was very simple, but it fit the Walt Disney approach to build a ride that both kids and adults couple enjoy. And that the Skyway did. There was no height restrictions on this one.

    I think the closure was simply a new group of "we-know-more-than-you" managers came in and just closed it fearing the "potential" for problems.
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    Re: April 10, 2009: Skyway to Tomorrowland

    Quote Originally Posted by Athlonacon View Post
    I just realized something as I was scanning through my memory banks of Indiana Jones memories and found that I do not have fond memories of ANY thrill ride! I honestly cannot recall one ride on a rollercoaster or thrill ride, other than my very first time. I think it's because thrill rides are not really "enjoyed" but more "experienced" for their adrenaline-producing abilities. I mean sure we have fun on thrill rides, but it's more about the adrenaline effect than it is any intrinsic fun value of the ride.

    With slow-moving and highly enjoyable rides like the MotorBoat Cruise, SkyWay or Submarine Voyage, we have time in our minds to take it all in and associate memories with them. With thrill rides, things happen too quickly and we are too busy dealing with sensory overload to even bother with forming long-term memories.

    I just don't know if there will be grown adults in the distant future reminiscing about Indiana Jones and Tower of Terror the way we do today with the SkyWay and other classic Disneyland attractions.
    Thank you for putting into words the mystique of these attractions that I never could. I miss the Skyway - that was always on the top of the list of things to do. I understand the rationale behind closing older attractions - but not if they are popular, and I bet that if it wasn't in the middle of the Pressler era when it closed, we'd still have a Skyway that was up to date, ADA accessible and a viable and popular attraction. If Disney has the technology to create some of its more complex attractions, it has the technology to make the Skyway accessible and safe. They just didn't want to.

  11. #11

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    Re: April 10, 2009: Skyway to Tomorrowland

    I heard Disney closed Skyway because of bad visitor behavior, ranging from yelling, tossing stuff out, spitting, and the ever-popular mile-high club. I'm not exactly sure what draws folks to do such things, but those photos of Splash Mountain that are 'lost' aren't really 'lost,' are they? See Snopes link below.
    Link Removed
    Last edited by MickeyMaxx; 04-11-2009 at 07:06 AM. Reason: Inappropriate link, against MiceChat policy.

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    Re: April 10, 2009: Skyway to Tomorrowland

    One theory for Skyway's closing that hasn't been mentioned yet was the old... "If you open a new attraction, you close an old attraction to keep park wide labor costs in check" which sounds plausible if only because it closed just as Indy was opening and all this came down during the Pressler Years.

    BTW, the Pirate Galley did not serve Hot Tuna PIES... It served Hot Tuna BURGERS! Yummm...

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    Re: April 10, 2009: Skyway to Tomorrowland

    I think that was touched on in the main article. Maybe it was a "guest psychology" thing -- but from an operating standpoint, the skyway had a pretty small crew. I'm not sure of the exact numbers, but I think the most CM's you would have per station would be 4, maybe 5. They had the 2 main positions in the station (load and unload). On busier days they might have someone downstairs keeping the queue organized, and the last person as a breaker. That's 4, but I'm wondering if they sometimes also had someone helping the loader, organizing people into groups. I can't remember.

    So if its a crew of 5 per station, that's 10 altogether (with both stations). I don't know how large the Indy crew is, but for anyone trying to figure it out, remember at Indy you'll have some positions not seen by guests, like someone in the control tower watching monitors, etc.

    But maybe that played a factor, I guess. The one thing we do know is that the Skyway (like the Subs) was still popular when it closed. It wasn't shuttered due to lack of attendance. And they gave up pretty quickly on that one line they used: "Oh, it doesn't fit in with the planned upgrade of Tomorrowland..."

  14. #14

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    Re: April 10, 2009: Skyway to Tomorrowland

    My first stop when visiting Disneyland was always the Sky Buckets. I would only visit once every 5 years, so I would have to get a feeling for where everything was from overhead. I also liked it as something to do when you were tired of walking. I miss this ride by far more than any other ride.
    I'm dreaming of a trip to Walt Disney World one day

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    Re: April 10, 2009: Skyway to Tomorrowland

    Thanks, Werner. That picture with the beautiful view looking towards Fantasyland with a perfectly dressed '50s family walking down the path says it all!

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