A lot of fingers point in many directions over the closure of Disneyland's Skyway. The first understandably points to the April 17, 1994 story about a man who purposely jumped out of his sky bucket 20 feet above the ground, to land in a tree by the Alice in Wonderland attraction. His claim was that he fell and afterward sued Disney for $25,000. The Wiley Simeon's case was dismissed before reaching trial after he admitted to jumping out on purpose. This supposedly got the ball rolling and for Disney to start thinking about closing their Skyway.
The ride did close later on that same year on November 9th. The main factor for the closure was the metal fatigue taking place within the Skyway tower inside of the Matterhorn. Apparently small stress fissures had started to form that of course would only worsen with time. To fix this would have meant dismantling large sections of the Matterhorn in order to completely replace the tower within. An extremely costly endeavor involving a long temporary closure of the Matterhorn. If Disney had viewed the Skyway more favorably, they could have of course done what was necessary but the Skyway was apparently being viewed as an old attraction at this point rather than a classic. It's been said that the low number of riders on a given day was one of the reasons for the closure, which makes some sense. The relaxing pace and diminutive size of the sky buckets made it seem quite slow. It's plausible that at least one of the real reasons for the closure was the fact that teenagers were known to occasionally toss things from overhead or spit. Whatever the case, the Skyway's budget was transferred to the Temple of the Forbidden eye and the holes in the Matterhorn were filled. Mickey and Minnie waved down to fans as they made the final voyage before the Disneyland Skyway was permanently closed.
Many believe that the attraction closed because of the death that occurred earlier that same year in February. An older cast member was cleaning the takeoff platform early one morning when another cast member started up the Skyway. Without realizing someone was on the platform, not having much recourse, the cast member grabbed hold of the gondola and tried to climb inside. The photo above isn't from the same incident. This woman was very fortunately rescued. The cast memeber we're talking about fell from 40 feet. OSHA hit Disney with a fine over the issue and just like that several months later the Skyway was permanently closed. This was the only case of anyone dying on any of the Skyways. They were remarkably safe. When you look at this 30-year history and the one tragedy (is labeled as human error rather than a machine malfunction) the person responsible for starting that system that day in 1999 must still feel horrible.
Though Disneyland did handle the Skyway's departure with some humor by displaying sky buckets inside the Matterhorn in 2015 which was a nice touch.
They didn't entirely move on with grace while the Tomorrowland Skyway station was quickly demolished, the Fantasyland Chalet was left dormant, collecting dust for 22 years. Disneyland allowed nature to reclaim their Chalet area discreetly and gradually shrouding it from view even adding some fake overgrowth to further hide it. However the Disneyland Chalet was literally wiped off the map to make way for Galaxy's Edge.
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 70s/80s we visited Disneyland on a regular basis and often after school, before "Annual Passes".