The single cable Gondola concept can easily be taken for granted today, but at the time in the United States, the Skyway was a first of its kind spectacle. The system conveyed passengers on a 4MPH clip at heights as high as 60 feet over the park, for a breezy three and a half minutes. There's some discrepancy whether they were 42 or 44 of the metal gondolas taking off every 9 to 20 seconds. And because there were people gracefully gliding overhead, it eased congestion for those walking below. As years went on it also served as a great way to get around parades.
The highest riding point was originally the tower on Holiday Hill which was really the excavation remains from the construction of Sleeping Beauty Castle's moat. Afterward landscaped and set with paths and benches to form a nice picnic setting which made for great views from the gondolas.
The Skyway opened in Disneyland in 1956 and temporarily closed in 1957 in order to make way for the second most massive expansion any Disney park has ever undergone.
It reopened in 1959 along with the Motorboat Cruise, the Submarine Voyage, the first ever Disney Monorail and the enormous Matterhorn Bobsled attraction. It was a great big day again fulfilling the promise that Disney made, and setting a precedent for the future.
They built the Matterhorn right on the site of Holiday Hill, the Skyway's tallest tower was in the middle of Holiday Hill. The Matterhorn is in Switzerland the Skyway is a Swiss design bought from a Swiss company it probably took imagineers all of a minute maybe two if that to come up with the idea of having the gondolas go through the mountain. While the '59 expansion wasn't exactly planned for the Skyway, Disney did capitalize on its shutdown to strengthen the towers with extra supports apparently from much urging from Von roll the grips to the cables were also changed.
Stay close for Part 3.
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 70s/80s we visited Disneyland on a regular basis and often after school, before "Annual Passes".