04 September 2009 by Walt Disney World Recreation Examiner - Peggy Macdonald
The Magic Kingdom's defunct Skyway stations in Tomorrowland and Fantasyland rested undisturbed for years after the Skyway's closure in 1999, following a fatal accident. Now demolition is underway at the Tomorrowland Skyway station at Walt Disney World.
The closure of the Walt Disney World Skyway took place after Raymond Barlow, a 65-year-old Magic Kingdom cast member, was killed in February 1999. The Skyway had started to move while he was cleaning a narrow platform on the ride. The Skyway was not supposed to be in operation, but a group of Walt Disney World College Program cast members allegedly started the ride without following protocol. Barlow fell 40 feet to his death. OSHA fined Disney World $4,500 for serious safety violations and Disney World closed the attraction in November 1999. Disneyland closed its Skyway after a similar but nonfatal accident in 1994. Thirty-year-old Randle Charles fell 20 feet after allegedly jumping out of his Skyway ride vehicle.
Nealy a decade after the closure of Disney World's Skyway, Tomorrowland is undergoing a major facelift. First demolition crews turned their attention to the former Tomorrowland Theatre next to Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. Then Imagineers built the small Stitch stage pictured above. The Tomorrowland Transit Authority (formerly the WEDway People Mover) was refurbished recently, and renovation work continues at Space Mountain. The video game arcade next to Space Mountain will remain closed while Space Mountain is refurbished.
The space formerly occupied by the Tomorrowland Skyway station would make an excellent spot for a new table service restaurant. Currently Tomorrowland only offers quick service dining. Nearby table service restaurants are Tony's Town Square Restaurant at the start of Main Street, U.S.A. and Cinderella's Royal Table inside Cinderella Castle. The small Plaza restaurant near the Main Street ice cream shop is the closest table service restaurant to Tomorrowland, which draws some of the largest crowds in the Magic Kingdom. A two-story restaurant with a view of Tomorrowland, the Walt Disney World monorail, and the Magic Kingdom steam train would be highly popular with guests. GO BACK