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Universal Orlando Resort to Epic Universe Transportation News & Speculation

ParkRumors

Rookie
Jan 1, 2012
312

This new-ish patent is interesting because it shows a gondola system with a bit of a twist. Instead of traditional gondola cabins, this system would use detachable autonomous vehicles that could drive to and from the gondola station(s). This could have several benefits - for example, they wouldn't have to retrofit their existing hotels to add gondola stations, and they wouldn't have to choose which hotels would get a station and which wouldn't - instead they could just use the existing bus stop infrastructure and let the autonomous vehicles drive to/from the different gondola lines. It definitely adds more flexibility into the system!
 

Scott W.

Premium Member
Feb 26, 2014
13,756
Glasgow

This new-ish patent is interesting because it shows a gondola system with a bit of a twist. Instead of traditional gondola cabins, this system would use detachable autonomous vehicles that could drive to and from the gondola station(s). This could have several benefits - for example, they wouldn't have to retrofit their existing hotels to add gondola stations, and they wouldn't have to choose which hotels would get a station and which wouldn't - instead they could just use the existing bus stop infrastructure and let the autonomous vehicles drive to/from the different gondola lines. It definitely adds more flexibility into the system!
The flexibility is what excites me about this. Being able to incorporate it into a new resort is great when it’s built around it but being able to retrofit the current resort like you said, adds to much flexibility that it could actually happen.
 
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Cup_Of_Coffee

Veteran Member
Aug 7, 2018
5,072
This sounds just terrific. I also imagine if they do their own transportation system of some sort, whatever that may be, we get windows like the Hogwarts Express to block out the "real world" in-between the North and South campus. It'd be something like "Take a seat back, relax, as you begin your journey to Universal's Epic Universe." Then goes onto show the lands, how certain things work, how transportation is when they want to travel back to the other campus, there are very easy ways to deal with this imo. Doesn't even need to be super elaborate
 

Scott W.

Premium Member
Feb 26, 2014
13,756
Glasgow
They may not have had AC, but they definitely didn't have Covid

Also, are gondolas really that much cheaper than a Vegas style monorail?
Even if the price was the same, I think this would be a better system. More consistent throughput, smaller footprint and can cover a bigger area.
 
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MurphyJoe

Newcomer
Feb 28, 2010
46
Also, are gondolas really that much cheaper than a Vegas style monorail?
From 2013: Monorail Expansion, Million Dollars per Mile?
"The Las Vegas Monorail, which opened in 2004, cost $654 million for just 4.4 miles—almost $150 million per mile."
"São Paulo, Brazil is getting a 27-km (16-mile) Bombardier INNOVIA Monorail 300 system for $800 million. That’s $50 million per mile."

From 2019: A gondola network that flies at 30 miles per hour could be a solution to New York City's broken subway system
"His proposal estimates that a gondola's construction costs would range from $3 million to $12 million per mile..."

Even at $12 million a mile, it's still significantly cheaper than Brazil's monorail at $50 million a mile. This could be a reason why Universal can go nuts with the idea of personal rapid transit crossed with a gondola network.
 

PerceptiveCoot

Veteran Member
Jul 13, 2018
1,533
Even at $12 million a mile, it's still significantly cheaper than Brazil's monorail at $50 million a mile. This could be a reason why Universal can go nuts with the idea of personal rapid transit crossed with a gondola network.
I'd personally prefer gondolas. They're quiet, secluded, and give great views.
 

SarahKay

Newcomer
Apr 21, 2020
39
Not just trying to dump on it but I don’t see how Fast and Furious doesn’t become a Knight Bus ride one day
I'd be perfectly happy with that too. :) I just want a knight bus. Haha. If they did a knight bus shuttle though I wonder if they would do screens in guest windows like they did on the train to make it feel like we were traveling from England to France instead of through Orlando. And now I want this haha.
 

shiekra38

Legendary Member
Dec 13, 2009
13,858
Florida
From 2013: Monorail Expansion, Million Dollars per Mile?
"The Las Vegas Monorail, which opened in 2004, cost $654 million for just 4.4 miles—almost $150 million per mile."
"São Paulo, Brazil is getting a 27-km (16-mile) Bombardier INNOVIA Monorail 300 system for $800 million. That’s $50 million per mile."

From 2019: A gondola network that flies at 30 miles per hour could be a solution to New York City's broken subway system
"His proposal estimates that a gondola's construction costs would range from $3 million to $12 million per mile..."

Even at $12 million a mile, it's still significantly cheaper than Brazil's monorail at $50 million a mile. This could be a reason why Universal can go nuts with the idea of personal rapid transit crossed with a gondola network.
Wow, that's insanity
 

HandsomePete

Member
Jul 8, 2019
725
Not to be a downer, but there’s not a single thing in that patent to suggest they’ve actually put any sort of development effort into a system like that beyond sitting around a table and scratching an idea on paper.

As we’ve seen from Rise of the Resistance, just saying “these two moving platforms will link” is a lot easier said than done.

And the cost from monorails comes from having to build the entire route - a gondola is just a bunch of fancy electrical poles with pulleys to guide a cable.
 

Scott W.

Premium Member
Feb 26, 2014
13,756
Glasgow
Obviously we can't show the site plans so I'll try and describe what I think but it may have been discussed already.

Are the dedicated bus lanes expected to be part of the road or completely separate?

Is the roundabout (in the south west corner of the park) on the Kirkman extension raised? (in red on the map below)

Are we expecting a new road to be built from said roundabout running behind Top Golf. I know Universal has further property up that way? (Road in yellow in map below)

roundabout new road.JPG

I know there is a map showing the bus lanes but I can't find it.
 

Happytycho

Member
Mar 1, 2017
670
Obviously we can't show the site plans so I'll try and describe what I think but it may have been discussed already.

Are the dedicated bus lanes expected to be part of the road or completely separate?

Is the roundabout (in the south west corner of the park) on the Kirkman extension raised? (in red on the map below)

Are we expecting a new road to be built from said roundabout running behind Top Golf. I know Universal has further property up that way? (Road in yellow in map below)

View attachment 12097

I know there is a map showing the bus lanes but I can't find it.
The bus lanes will be in the middle of Kirkman and will be curb-separated from the general traffic lanes. However, the buses will still have to pass through most intersections at surface level so they will not completely isolated from other vehicles.

It's not really a roundabout, but more like a pair of flyover bridges with a funny shape. On the ground level will be a relatively standard traffic signal/light, while the "circle in the sky" will carry one lane of traffic from westbound Universal Way to the northbound Kirkman bus lane, and one lane of buses and one lane of general traffic from southbound Kirkman to eastbound Universal Way. And yes, it's elevated with the intent of reducing left turn conflicts.

There's lots of public documents that show the start of a road going west from that intersection with some showing the beginning of a turn to the NW like you drew, but I haven't seen anything that clearly shows where the road will go from there. I'll try to locate and post some images later in the day.

EDIT: This took a while, but here's a link to an IU post from when the Kirkman plans were first found. Some of the design details have since changed, but this gives a sense of the general layout and how the bus lanes work:

Universal Orlando Resort Expansion (Part 1)

As for the road to the west, here is part of an image from a relatively recent permit with SFWMD that shows the start of such a road:



What's weird about that image is that the road ends right on top of where the central canal currently sits. I haven't seen any permits explicitly stating an intent to do work on that portion of the canal, but one attachment to a different SFMWD permit hints at possibly moving the canal to the north in a document labeled "future conditions" (full size imgur version is linked):
 
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