Renovations to Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort will apparently not include water launch transportation to a Walt Disney World theme park, but may include something far more unique.
London's Emrates Air Line
Website WDWMagic.com has uncovered plans to construct a gondola system linking Caribbean Beach and Disney's Pop Century Resort to Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios.
The system is similar in function to the old Magic Kingdom Skyway, using large cabins danging from overhead cables to transport groups of guests. The layout illustrated at WDWMagic features load stations at Epcot's International Gateway and near the main entrance to Disney's Hollywood Studios, along with central hubs at both Caribbean Beach and Pop Century. Gondola traffic would pass over the parking lot for Disney's BoardWalk Inn & Villas but not actually service at the resort itself.
Planned construction at Caribbean Beach involves the demolitition of numerous existing guest room buidlings, reportedly to make way for construction of new Disney Vacation Club villas. Disney has not yet confirmed any plans to add DVC villas to Caribbean Beach.
The addition of this gondola system would add a unique transportation alternative to Caribbean Beach, a feature normally associated with Disney Deluxe and DVC resorts. With the exception of Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas, all current DVC properties at Walt Disney World feature monorail or boat transportation to at least one theme park or the Disney Springs shopping district.
Construction of a local gondola system would help alleviate some of the traffic congestion already prevalent in the Epcot resorts area.
The city of London already has a similar gondola system installed, dubbed the Emirates Air Line, which is illustrated in the embedded YouTube video. The Air Line uses cabins that hold up to 10 passengers with 15 second intervals between departures, making for an operating capacity of 2400 passengers per hour in each direction.
The London system is designed to operate in most weather conditions, with short disruptions possible in the event of thunder or lightning in the immediate area. Extremely strong winds may also necessitate brief closures.
The permits are referenced here:
I did not read far enough to see if there are any direct links, but there are screen captures. Apparently some of it does link up with mysterious, unlabeled structures in the Caribbean Beach permits, as well as other permits recently filed for DHS. These may be documents at the OCC site rather than SFWMD since the latter is unique to changes which impact waterways.
Without any announcement from Disney, the full scope is open to interpretation. Just like everything happening at CBR. But there have been several rumors lately that the changes to CBR would include a transportation alternative "unlike anything else currently present at WDW."
Definitely worthy of rumor status...but there is some concrete evidence and it's better-sourced than many wild rumors, IMO.
I hope it is true as that would be a fun way to travel, although it would be faster to take a bus.
EDITED to add:
Initially, I skeptical about the gondola project. Upon further review, I have looked at several plans submitted by Disney and I am now firmly in the gondola camp.
Oh, I think exactly the opposite.
The London Air Liner holds 10 people in each cabin with 15 seconds between cabins. That's 40 people per minute. I can't see station backups being an issue--when do we ever see people steadily arriving at bus stops at a rate of more than 40/min?
So guests are likely to board with very minimal wait. The cars themselves will probably move at a fairly slow pace--maybe 10-15 mph. But the DHS route (in particular) is a straight shot. Epcot not quite as direct but consider how far a bus must travel--in congested, stop-and-go traffic--from CBR to the bus stations at the front of the park. And even then, guests have a considerable walk from the bus stops to the main entrance vs a (theoretical) gondola station right next to the International Gateway.
I agree that there's still no hard evidence. But it's interesting that the diagrams line up so well. Plus...as I said...there have been a lot of rumblings (from sources who tend to be reliable) that Disney was looking at a new type of transportation alternative for CBR.