The Gondola Lift was an attraction in the Jurassic World theme park. It utilized gondola cars to bring tourists to the height of the Western Ridge, one of three main mountain ranges on Isla Nublar, from which point visitors could view much of the island and its de-extinct inhabitants.
The gondola is a type of aerial lift used for cable transport where elevation may not permit other forms of travel, sharing its name with the boat often used for navigating artificial canals. The name “gondola lift” is generally applied to all transports of this type, and the instance used in Jurassic World does not have a unique name.
Jurassic World’s Gondola Lift was located within the Western Ridge, the mountain range near the island’s west coastline. The full extent of the cables is currently unknown, but is believed to have run north-south along the mountains and reached the range’s highest point. The base of the lift was located near a small river within the mountain range, in Sector 2 just west of the Bamboo Forest; some concept art suggests that the cable system extended north into Sector 4. The base of the lift was associated with a monorail station.
The base of the Gondola Lift was connected to Jurassic World’s monorail system, allowing guests to easily access the attraction after departing the monorail. Guests would board the gondola cars here; based on concept art, the cars had a capacity of at least eight people, though some gondola cars are capable of holding up to fifteen people. The cars were situated roughly 200 feet apart from one another based on this same concept art.
The lift system itself consists of a loop of steel cable strung between support towers as well as the base and summit stations. Support towers, based on concept art, were roughly 200 feet apart with one series for the outgoing cars and one series for the returning cars. This allowed for a continuous movement of gondolas transporting visitors to the summit and back to the base. The whole system would have been driven by two bullwheels, one at the base terminal and one at the summit terminal; an engine or motor was most likely used to power it.
It is not currently known when the Gondola Lift was constructed, but there is no evidence that it was being constructed as of September 2004. It was most likely built sometime after this.
2005-2015: Operational years
The Gondola Lift would have operated between 2005 and 2015, bringing hundreds of thousands of guests up the Western Ridge. While it was not the most highly-advertised of park attractions, the Gondola Lift was still popular enough to frequently appear in park pamphlets and warrant mention in the Romance Package. It was most popular among couples, particularly those seeking slower, more relaxing views of Jurassic World. According to the park website, marriage proposals were sometimes seen at the summit. Less dramatically, couples would often picnic at the summit.
2015-present: Closure and abandonment
On December 18, 2015, Jurassic World closed its gates permanently due to an incident involving an escaped genetically modified animal. The Gondola Lift, like all the other park attractions, was abandoned as the island was evacuated and animals were allowed to roam freely.
Between 2015 and 2018, animals could have accessed the now-shut-down gondola system, but not much is known about the Western Ridge’s animal inhabitants. Allosaurus are known to have lived in that part of the island as of 2018, and concept art suggests that hadrosaurs were found in parts of the Western Ridge that included their habitat range.
While much of the island’s attractions suffered damage due to severe storms within mere months of the park’s closure, the Gondola Lift was spared, most likely due to its sheltered location within the Western Ridge. A systems check performed in February 2018 by the Dinosaur Protection Group suggested that the Gondola Lift was still serviceable.
On June 23, 2018, the stratovolcano Mount Sibo violently erupted and caused severe damage to most of the island. As the Western Ridge is well within the range which was affected by lava bombs, extreme temperatures, and other volcanic effects, it is likely that the Gondola Lift has been damaged and may no longer be serviceable.
While the Gondola Lift was not the most prominent attraction at Jurassic World, it was still featured in the Romance Package which tourists could purchase when buying tickets. The lift was popular with couples, as it allowed a more slow-paced exploration of Isla Nublar and spectacular views from the highest point of the Western Ridge. Tourists who had purchased the Romance Package would be treated to an open-air picnic at the summit.
From the summit station, visitors would be able to see most of Isla Nublar; to the north were the Gyrosphere area, Triceratops Territory, and Gallimimus Valley. To the east, visitors could see the Bamboo Forest, and farther east, the Jurassic World Lagoon and Main Street. The view was considered among Isla Nublar’s most romantic, and marriage proposals were sometimes seen at the summit. This was mentioned on the Jurassic World official website, suggesting that the company intentionally promoted this for publicity reasons.
In order to construct the Gondola Lift, significant tracts of forest in the Western Ridge would have had to have been torn down, and the creation of pathways for the lift system may have necessitated altering the mountains’ geography. Installation of the support towers would have required some degree of excavation, and in order to ensure the safety of the gondola cars, trees and other foliage would have been kept back from the cables. All together, building the Gondola Lift likely had a deleterious effect on the Western Ridge’s natural environment.
Eventually, however, the mountain range would have settled into a new equilibrium with the lift built into it. Tourists marveled at Isla Nublar’s beauty, even if it had been irreversibly altered by the park’s existence. In this way, the Gondola Lift helped to encourage preservation of the island’s remaining natural features. De-extinct animals were also introduced in the northern part of the lift; concept art shows herds of Parasaurolophus and Edmontosaurus inhabiting the valleys that had been clear-cut to make way for the towers and cable system. In the years following the lift’s abandonment, predators including Allosaurus began to live in the Western Ridge, likely taking advantage of the grassy valleys and the ample prey they supported. Since the Gondola Lift survived mostly undamaged well into 2018, it is likely that the area provided shelter from the fierce tropical storms and hurricanes that affect the Gulf of Fernandez.
The summer of 2018 ended the Gondola Lift’s role as a haven for these animals, as the eruption of Mount Sibo most likely caused serious damage to the area. It is uncertain how much of the lift remains, or how much more of the forest was destroyed during the eruption. However, the loss of plant life has certainly caused the collapse of the ecosystem that established there. Today, it is unlikely that any large animals call the Gondola Lift home.