DADventure Disney – Everything I’ve Learned About Walt Disney World’s Skyliner

It’s less that 50 days till my crew arrives at Walt Disney World for our 2019 DADventure. One of the new experiences I’m most excited to try is the new Skyliner transportation system.

The Disney Skyliner opened this past weekend and it may totally change the way guests in certain Disney resorts ‘do Disney’ – and I’m totally looking forward to that.

Walt Disney World Resort cast members celebrate the dedication of the new Disney Skyliner on Sept. 27, 2019. (David Roark, photographer)

I’ve been reading and watching everything I can about the Skyliners and I want to share the highlights with you, dear reader, in hopes that we can figure this all out together.

What Is The Disney Skyliner?

It’s a Disneyfied ski lift! Colorful and themed gondolas will take guests up and over the busy highways, resorts, waterways and theme parks to reach their destinations.

(David Roark, Photographer)

Disney: As much a magic carpet as a complimentary transportation system, Disney Skyliner will soar along waterways and wooded areas alike on its way to theme parks and Disney resort hotels, while wide-eyed guests will be treated to views never before seen.

Where Does the Disney Skyliner Go?

The Skyliner will connect Epcot and Hollywood Studios to the following resorts: Art of Animation, Pop Century, Caribbean Beach Resort (acting as the main hub for transfers) and Riviera Resort (coming in December).

How Do We Board The Skyliner?

The Skyliners have stations where guests can embark and disembark. The gondolas glide through the station slowly and guests simply step on and off. There is a separate line, from what I understand, for folks with mobility issues, wheelchairs, etc. that stops to allow those guests to get on and off.

(Kent Phillips, Photographer)

What Does Everything Look Like?

The Skyliner stations are themed to fit in with the surrounding area.

Disney: The Epcot International Gateway station is inspired by the nearby European pavilions in the park. Covered metal and glass canopies, hand-painted murals themed to flight and ornate metal detailing are all in the Art Nouveau style. The Disney’s Riviera Resort station incorporates influences from the Mediterranean coast to produce an elegant portal for guests. The station at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort connects all three routes and extends the architectural details and bright island colors associated with the Caribbean.

(Kent Phillips, Photographer)

The Disney’s Hollywood Studios station reflects the Art Decostyle of the park’s main entrance area. Guests arriving on Disney Skyliner will be awestruck as a panoramic view of the park unfolds.
Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort share a Disney Skyliner station at Hourglass Lake. Colorful structural forms create a space that feels whimsical and contextual with both resorts. Departing the station, guests will glide above Hourglass Lake and ascend to thrilling views of both resort hotels.

The gondolas are works of art in their own right!

Disney: Nearly half of the approximately 300 Disney Skyliner cabins will be wrapped in whimsical Disney scenes – with beloved characters, fan-favorite movies, attractions and more – giving the appearance that Disney pals are riding along with guests. The cabins will be easy to spot overhead, because each gondola will shimmer in one of eight vibrant colors and feature sleek curved lines.

(Kent Phillips, photographer)

How Will The Skyliners Feel In The Florida Heat?

This is one of the biggest questions and concerns I hear from anyone talking about the Skyliners- “they’re going to be SO hot!”.

Two of my all-time favorite Disney Blogs have extensively ridden the Skyliners and here is what they have to say:

DisneyFoodBlog: There is no air conditioning on the Disney Skyliner gondolas. The gondolas are actually fitted with cross ventilation and feature reflective windows to mitigate effects from the central Florida climate. But it DOES get hot in there if your gondola is paused or stopped for some reason — at least during what’s still considered the hot time of the year in Orlando…. We found the temperatures inside a Skyliner gondola to be comfortable when the cabin is in motion. When the cabin is stopped for a few minutes or more, temperatures do noticeably rise.

(David Roark, Photographer)

DisneyTouristBlog: The exterior glaze sufficiently reflects heat and the passive ventilation system works. It provides a cool and consistent breeze. In other words, the Skyliner is perfectly comfortable. If you took a random guest off the street who doesn’t read blogs like this one or rage about Disney via social media and plopped them in a Skyliner cabin, they’d be unlikely to bring up the topic of air-conditioning. Air-conditioning is simply a non-issue while riding, and no more likely to come to mind than concerns about a colossal gorilla appearing and tearing the tramway out of the sky.

(David Roark, Photographer)

How Long Do I Have To Wait For or On The Skyliner?

Since I haven’t been on them YET, I’ll let the experts answer again. However, keep this in mind – the Skyliner has been open for 4 days. So, the lines and wait times will vary greatly for whenever you’re going in the year or time of day or once the ‘newness’ wears off.

DisneyTouristBlog: Speaking of lines, they move fast. The Skyliner is incredibly high capacity, so even in the opening day mania at Caribbean Beach, we never waited in line more than 10 minutes.

(Kent Phillips, Photographer)

DisneyFoodBlog: Travel time between Caribbean Beach Resort station and Disney’s Hollywood Studios is about five minutes. Travel between Caribbean Beach Resort and Riviera Resort is about three minutes. Travel between Riviera Resort and Epcot is about ten minutes. Travel between Caribbean Beach Resort and Art of Animation/Pop Century is about five minutes.

What Hours Do The Skyliners Run?

The line to the International Gateway at Epcot runs from 8:00am to 11:00pm (midnight on Tuesdays). Take note – this means if you have early breakfast reservations at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (like I do) you’ll have to take the BUS to Epcot and walk to World Showcase because the Skyliner won’t get you there in time. I HOPE that changes, soon.

(David Roark, Photographer) 

The line to Hollywood Studios starts running at 5:45am (take a gondola to the Millennium Falcon) and runs until 11:00pm (midnight on Tuesdays).

The line to the resorts runs from 5:45am (Thanks to Extra Extra Magic AM Hours at HS) to 11:00pm (and to midnight on Tuesdays for EMH).

Random Questions/Observations I’ve Seen:

  • You don’t have to be staying at one of the connected resorts to ride the Skyliner. People have already been filling up the Skyliner just to take the ride and see the views.
  • The Skyliner is FREE.
  • There’s a Joffrey’s Coffee at the Caribbean Beach Resort station!
  • Guests can’t currently disembark at the Riviera Resort. Not until it opens.
  • The bench seats have you facing those across from you. Most people will swivel in their seats for the view.
(Kent Phillips, Photographer)
  • Yes, you can bring your stroller on to the Skyliner.
  • It’s not the smoothest ride as they come into the stations – they come in fast and throw on the breaks. Take off is a bit jostling, too.
  • The Skyliner has been pausing and stopping. Not usually for any more than a few seconds, but hopefully that will go away as they work out the kinks.
  • If you’re afraid of dangling from heights – this isn’t for you as you’re up to 60 feet off the ground at some points.
  • Disney will shut them down in severe weather.
  • The gondolas with the character wraps VERY much limit your views as you’re looking out through a giant sticker.

Some Assorted Skyliner Fun Facts:

• Project Announced: July 2017
• Launch Date: September 29, 2019
• Miles of Cable: 6
• Number of Lines: 3
• Loading Stations: 5
• Number of Gondolas: Nearly 300
• Maximum Seating Capacity per Gondola: 10

Are you excited for the Skyliners? I cannot wait to see how this affects our time in the parks. I’m very much anticipating that it’s going to be a blast to ride and make life easier while staying at Caribbean Beach Resort.

Share your thoughts in the comments below or hit our Instagram and Facebook pages. I’d love to know what you’re thinking about the Skyliners!

Thanks for reading and as always – DADventure is out there!


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