Today Jungle-teers we take a glimpse back (and up) at the Skyway.
I have posted before about this attraction. Who hasn’t, really?
I thought I would share a few shots from various angles to help those who never experienced it get a feel for its location within the Park.
If you have ever had your path from Fantasyland to Tomorrowland blocked by a parade traveling from Small World down Matterhorn way (or from Main Street heading back to the Small World gate), your options for getting over the parade route are limited to pedestrian crossings along the way, where you wait for a gap in the parade and a rope drop from a friendly Cast Member to herd past with hundreds of your fellow guests.
Ah, but there was a time when you could head up to the Skyway station in either Fantasyland or Tomorrowland and climb aboard this aerial tramway to glide above the parade and through the majestic Matterhorn to your destination. You also were treated to a unique view of the parade as you drifted over it.
The attraction also was beautiful to watch from the ground. Its colorful buckets or gondolas floated in the background over a busy Fantasyland, Matterhorn Way, Submarine Voyage lagoon, and Tomorrowland (with the Monorail, Tomorrowland Terrace — aka Coke Terrace in the 1980s—the Peoplemover, the Autopia, the Mod Hatter and America Sings in close proximity). Other guests would wave down at you as they drifted past. Sometimes you would see your friends or family members above and would make your way ahead of them on foot to connect with them at the station at either end of the Skyway’s sturdy steel cable.
It was a pleasing, satisfying sight. Pictures and videos of the attraction are helpful, but do not do it justice when compared to seeing it live, in person, in glorious 3-D. There was something about its motion, swaying and rocking slightly as it noiselessly passed, its buckets going in opposite directions, that was calming as well as exhilarating. It helped to reflect the movement, color, joy, transcendency, togetherness, and even the adventuresome spirit of the Disneyland experience in a simple, albeit essentially mechanical, fashion.
It still gives me butterflies.
As with the entirety of the Park, it offered both common and individualized experiences simultaneously. You would ride it with friends or family and enjoy a cozy camaraderie as the cable lifted all of you out of the station and up and over each support tower. Likewise, each person had their own unique view from their small corner of the bucket.
This could be quite dramatic for those not keen on heights. Despite knowing you were safely within the confines of the Magic Kingdom, part of your subconscious could not help but gently remind your rational side that you were dangling from a wire high enough above the ground to expose you to serious if not permanent damage—really permanent—should things somehow become less Sky and more Way.
This little drama played out in the background, until the Park itself, the breeze, the smells of popcorn, diesel, and chlorine, the mists of alpine waterfalls, the brightness of the sun or the brilliance of twinkling lights after dark, the cool confines of the Matterhorn—and the screams and laughter of those challenging its icy slopes, the sparkling, bubbling clearer-than-clear waters of the Submarine Voyage, the yellow-clad vendors with enormous, primary-colored handfuls of Mickey-eared balloons spinning and bound to earth by only the thinnest of red string, the muffled noise of the crowd below, the otherworldly roars of “Harold” the Yeti, the drumbeat and guitar riffs from the rising stage of Tomorrowland Terrace, the distant and rhythmic tick-tock of the Small World clock, the competing whistles of the Disneyland Railroad and the stately, unseen Mark Twain—somewhere out yonder in Frontierland, the smiles, the teasing, the satisfied and carefree looks of those riding with you, the pure experience and Skyway-ness of it all, collectively carried your conscious self up, up, up into that moment—that joy—of being present and … floating. Swaying. Gliding.
At Disneyland, the Skyway and others are called Attractions for a reason.
Keep relieving fond memories of the past and savoring the challenge and promise of the future, my dear friends!