Construction work on Walt Disney World’s gondola system, which will transport visitors by air to Hollywood Studios and Epcot as well as several resorts, is moving forward.
Reedy Creek officials approved a preliminary $3.8 million construction budget Wednesday for the electric services for the project, called Disney Skyliner.
Construction on the electrical infrastructure that will power the gondola system could begin in the next six months or sooner, said Jason Herrick, the manager for planning and engineering for Reedy Creek Energy Services.
A bid proposal submitted by Carter Electric said the work would be completed in October.
Disney has not announced when the gondolas will start operating.
Also Wednesday’s meeting, officials also voted to approve a $2.19 million construction project on electric work for “Project S,” which Herrick called a special project requiring several different sizes and types of transformers.
Project S is happening at Epcot, Orange County Comptroller’s Office records show. Several Disney blogs have reported Project S is the upcoming “Guardians of the Galaxy” attractions slated to replace Ellen’s Energy Adventure.
Reedy Creek Improvement District will pay for both projects with utility revenue-issued bonds. The district maintains and builds roads and utilities at Disney.
One part of the gondola project — four switches, six transformers and 9,000 feet of cable (about 1.7 miles’ worth) — will cost $1.2 million, Reedy Creek documents showed.
Disney Skyliner will transport visitors to five stops: the stations at the two theme parks, a station that services both Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and another at Caribbean Beach Resort. The fifth proposed station is at Disney Vacation Club property Riviera Resort when it opens.
“It’s a unique project for us,” Herrick said at Wednesday’s public meeting. “It’s sprawled out.”
Apopka-based Carter Electric was the only company to bid on the project, which Reedy Creek officials blamed on a shortfall of electricians in the industry and a boom in Central Florida construction work.
In July, Reedy Creek expected the project to cost $3.2 million, but Carter’s bid came back nearly 20 percent higher. The Board of Supervisors approved the new preliminary budget at Wednesday’s meeting.
Reedy Creek will be responsible for building the six points of service — each with the possibility of having multiple transformers — to run the transportation system, said John Classe, Reedy Creek district administrator. The multiple service points are important in case there’s an electricity backup to the keep the system running, he said.
In December, Disney’s official parks blog released more details that showed Disney characters would be featured on the outside of the gondola so it looks like they are riding too. Passengers will see iconic views of Hollywood Studios’ Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and an “a rare birds-eye view of World Showcase” at Epcot, the post said.
Source: Orlando Sentinel
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