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Catching Up on the Disney Skyliner Transportation System Coming to Disney World

by Leap on May 9, 2019 30 Orlando

If you keep tabs on what's coming to Walt Disney World, you might have heard about the new gondola-style transportation headed to the resort! We've been regularly checking for updates on the aptly named Disney Skyliner System and keeping an eye on construction progress as we hop around the resort, because — let's face it — a gondola ride at Disney World sounds toadally awesome! Disney World is known for its wonderful, free transportation options, which already include buses, ferryboats and monorails, that take guests around the parks, hotels and entertainment areas. For many tadpoles, ours included, it doesn't get any better than the monorail to Magic Kingdom, but Skyliner just might! Read on to learn all about this new transportation system!

Disney Skyliner Transportation System - Finding Nemo gondola

When Disney first announced this new gondola system, I imagined a rowboat coasting through Italy — the type Mommy Frog would find quite romantic. Don't be fooled like me! This is a gondola lift: an enclosed cabin transported through the sky via cables. Much like you see on the slopes of Vail (which we now sell, by the way)!

The Disney Skyliner System is expected to be up and running this fall, but no official date has been announced yet. Don’t you worry, your favorite frogs will let you know exactly when it’s scheduled to open! Construction began in late 2017, and just over a year later, major milestones were checked off. In late January 2019, initial testing began with the actual gondola cabins! Only a couple weeks later, the gondolas made the first back-and-forth test run across Victory Way between the stations at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and the station at Hollywood Studios.

Ever since then, we’ve spotted them moving across the cables quite frequently whenever we visit Disney World. We’ve also been finding out more about what they look like and how they will operate. Here are more details about the Disney Skyliner transportation system, as well as some current construction photos.

Overview of the Disney Skyliner Transportation System

Disney Skyliner Transportation System - Gondola Testing

Where the Disney Skyliner Transportation System Will Be Offered

The Disney Skyliner Transportation System will be saving guests transport time connecting from three resorts to two different parks. Lucky for you, we have discounted tickets and rooms at all of these!

Resorts

Parks

With Pop Century and Art of Animation being two of our preferred Value Resort Hotels, having an extra transportation option will be a major bonus. We'll need to have first-hand experience with the Skyliner to give you the most efficient routes. Watch out for that! However, a new way to get to Epcot and Hollywood Studios is sure to shorten the bus line for those looking to save time. If this isn't a concern for you, we imagine the Skyliner will delight tadpoles with its towering height and views of the horizon.

Disney Skyliner Transportation System Routes

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort will be the center of the new transportation, with a hub designed to reflect the imagery of Caribbean open-air village marketplaces. This will be a major plus for the resort that has already been undergoing renovations. The station will incorporate detailed architectural elements of the resort, especially its vibrant color scheme. Here, guests will transfer gondola routes to reach their end destination, similar to the monorail’s Ticket and Transportation Center.

Caribbean Beach Resort guests can also hop on at the Riviera Resort station if they’re closer to it (for example, staying at a room in Aruba) and would like to go directly to Epcot. If hopping to Hollywood Studios, they could still use the Riviera station but must go to the Caribbean Beach main hub to switch routes. If guests hop on at the Caribbean Beach main hub to go to Epcot, they should not get off at the Riviera station.

Disney Skyliner Transportation System - Caribbean Beach Hub

Disney’s Pop Century and Art of Animation Resorts will also be part of the Disney Skyliner Transportation System travel loop. These two value resort favorites will share a station matching the colorful, whimsical atmosphere they both exemplify. The gondola will travel over the resorts’ shared Hourglass Lake for a panoramic view of their colorful character displays.

Inspired by the park’s nearby European Pavilions will be the International Gateway station at Epcot. This post will fit perfectly into the surrounding World Showcase with ornamental steel structures, glass and metal canopies and hand-painted murals reminiscent of 18th century Art Nouveau style. Traveling to and from this station will offer a never-before-seen aerial view of World Showcase and Disney’s Boardwalk.

Disney Skyliner Transportation System - International Gateway Station

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be the only other park stop for the Disney Skyliner Transportation System. The design is expected to correspond with the park’s entrance in turquoise and red tones. An awesome view of the park, particularly Tower of Terror, is promised when traveling to and from Hollywood Studios!

Disney Skyliner Transportation System - Hollywood Studios station

Along Buena Vista Drive, gondola cabins will slow down at the turn-station so guests can see the aerial and mechanical aspects of the Disney Skyliner Transportation System.

What the Gondolas of the Disney Skyliner System Look Like

Select Skyliner cabins will feature classic Disney pals such as the “Fab Five,” but newer films like “Zootopia” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet” will also be represented. Both animated films and Disney World attractions will make appearances on the gondolas, including “Lilo and Stitch,” “Moana,” “Finding Dory,” The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. The newest design art even previewed a cabin with R2-D2 and C-3PO!

Disney Skyliner Transportation System - Zootopia gondola

We can’t wait to hop on. Disney has revealed that the nearly 300 gondolas will feature onboard audio, which we imagine will be similar to the commentary you hear on the monorails. It has also been confirmed that the gondolas will not be air conditioned, but they will feature reflective panels to avoid direct sunlight and cross-ventilation windows that allow for air flow. Each gondola will have wooden bench-style seating that will fit up to 10 people.

Disney Skyliner Transportation System - Cabins

How the Disney Skyliner System Operates

The gondolas don’t stop, but instead keep moving as they enter and exit the station (similar to the Haunted Mansion ride). For guests with wheelchairs or other assistive devices, there will be a separate queue for anyone needing extra time while getting on a gondola. That said, there is enough room for strollers to roll on without having to fold them up. While exact stroller sizes are unclear, larger strollers may also use the wheelchair queue.

With this new addition, more improved and fun ways to hop around Disney World will allow guests to save time and create even more magical memories! Ribbit!

With all of the exciting new experiences coming to Disney World — from new lands to new ways to travel — there’s no better time to book your next trip. We've got great discounts on your Orlando hotel and theme park tickets

Related: What's Coming to Disney World and Universal

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
View Comments
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Apr 29, 2019 at 8:06 p.m. Rodrigo Says...

Crossing my fingers this opens in early september.

Reply
Apr 27, 2019 at 8:47 a.m. Inka Says...

Why do they call this "Disney's innovative design"? Hong Kong's Ocean park had this gondolla system (to transport between the lower and upper park) for years. I dont remember whether they have airconditioning built in, as their weather conditions are very similar to those of Orlando - very hot and very humid.

Reply
Apr 26, 2019 at 12:45 a.m. AnilDDappa Says...

I suspect once the Skyliner is opened, rates at Pop, Art and Caribbean Beach will go up :/. But apart from the All Star resorts, these three are far south of the action and the Skyliner may boost stays at those places.. ? I've stayed at Pop, Art and All Star Movies, and it felt like it took a WHILE to get to the parks on the buses...

Reply
Apr 17, 2019 at 2:28 a.m. John Says...

I am more concerned about the demolishing of Barbados and Martinique in order to create a new deluxe property. Bad sign removing part of a popular moderate resort..

Reply
Mar 29, 2019 at 12:59 p.m. Sue Says...

What's to prevent people from parking at Caribbean Beach or another resort on the line and taking the Skyliner, and thus avoiding parking fees at EPCOT or Hollywood Studios?

Reply
Mar 29, 2019 at 10:53 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sue!

All resorts charge for parking now, unless you have a dining reservation, which they confirm at the gate before admitting you for the length of your dining reservation.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 27, 2019 at 4:09 p.m. Heather Says...

It's a bit hard for security to screen guests driving up. All a guest has to say is that they're meeting friends for a meal and it can be quite possible they don't know exactly what name the reservation is under. Those people would get waved thru?

On our latest trips in this situation, security only verified that we were staying on-property to wave us thru and didn't bother with the ADR confirmation.

Reply
Mar 28, 2019 at 8:19 p.m. Jimmy Says...

I think Disney is missing the boat on this one. With all their imagineering and technical know how, this should be much more advanced. If I were working as WDW and this idea was brought up, I would say it needs to be resort wide, with automatic switching stations built in. Guest could get their party into a Gondola, and hit the button for the park/hotel/area they wanted to go to, and the system would switch that car along the cables and trough stations to get them there. No stops, no changing lines. It would be the fastest way to get around

Reply
Apr 16, 2019 at 11:18 p.m. Dan Says...

I agree. This is old school when it could have really been something nice.

Reply
Mar 8, 2019 at 9:22 p.m. Jason Says...

Can you take the Skyliner from the hotels to the boardwalk? Looks like the Epcot hub is right outside Epcot by beach club

Reply
Mar 9, 2019 at 7:19 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jason,

The Boardwalk and Boardwalk hotels is not one of the stops.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 2, 2019 at 12:56 a.m. Ted Says...

I am Wondering, if you Start a Pop Century are you going to have to get off and back on at Caribbean Beach to go to EPCOT or will they have a way to pass you in same cabin directly through?

Reply
Mar 4, 2019 at 9:28 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Ted!

We'd imagine you'd be able to go straight through to EPCOT from Pop, but no details about the specific routes have been released just yet (only which resorts will be connected to which parks). We'll keep our eyes and ears open!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 27, 2019 at 7:26 p.m. Pili Says...

Será que para la 1° quincena de septiembre el Disney Skyliner ya estará en funcionamiento?

Reply
Feb 28, 2019 at 3:46 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hola Pili!

Disney Skyliner estará operativo en el otoño, pero aún no se ha anunciado una fecha exacta. Seguiremos viendo!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 15, 2018 at 2:40 p.m. Steve Says...

The Skyline looks cool and I'm sure they'll be worth a special trip now and again for the great views. Unless they connect directly park to park, they'll mostly just be a novelty for those not planning to stay at the selected resorts. Do you know if all trips will go through the Caribbean hub?

Reply
Dec 27, 2018 at 2:01 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Steve,

With Disney's Caribbean Beach as the hub, it sounds like it will be for the resort hotels. We'll post more details as we know more!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Nov 30, 2018 at 2:58 a.m. Thomas Bowery Says...

As a ten year service retiree I am always amazed but not surprised. It will always be the Happiest Place On Earth. Walt would be pleased!!!!

Reply
Nov 30, 2018 at 9:50 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Thomas!

This makes us SO hoppy to hear. We agree, and are glad you're looking forward to the exciting changes coming to Disney World. You may want to check out our What's Coming post for some more exciting announcements!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 18, 2018 at 2:46 p.m. Becky Says...

Does anyone know yet how many people the gondolas will hold at one time? Just curious how many riders each car will be able to accommodate!

Reply
Oct 22, 2018 at 10:10 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Becky!

We believe each gondola will hold 10-12 people, but aren't sure yet!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 17, 2018 at 3:03 a.m. LDSGMA Says...

It isn't really true that the cars will slow down in the turn station in order for people to see the technology - it slows down because the turn station is a transition point between two separate ropeways each driven by a separate prime mover. The station detaches the cars from one ropeway and a mechanism driven by the moving rope slowly moves the car thru the station on a track to the next rope way where it then connects to the next rope and is on its way. Essentially the same thing happens at the stations where people get off - just like on a ski lift.

Reply
Oct 16, 2018 at 2:02 a.m. ARC Nurse Says...

This sounds like a great option for traveling to the parks for people staying at Pop, Art, and Caribbean and should save them some time getting to those two parks. Unfortunately, for those who normally stay at the EPCOT resorts, the rear entrance to EPCOT will no longer be a secret and will now be just about as busy as the front entrance.

Reply
Oct 15, 2018 at 3:29 p.m. Molly Says...

Will everyone who visits the parks be able to use the Skyliner transporation system or do you have to be staying at one of the resort hotels mentioned in the article? =^..^+

Reply
Oct 15, 2018 at 2:38 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Molly!

As far as we know, the Skyliner will be similar to the monorail and available to all guests!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 16, 2018 at 12:12 a.m. Molly Says...

Yay! =^..^=

Reply
Oct 2, 2018 at 8:09 p.m. Kathy Says...

Always used to enjoy the monorail. Does Disney not have that anymore? (Can you tell I haven't been in many years).

Reply
Oct 4, 2018 at 5:15 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kathy!

Don't worry! The monorail is alive and well ... and still one of our favorite ways to get around Disney World :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Feb 7, 2018 at 7:45 a.m. Tyler @ thetravelingtoddler.com Says...

Pop century is our go to resort when we go to Disney so we're super excited about this. Unfortunately I'm sure the room rates will go up to match ☹️

Reply
Oct 30, 2018 at 2:43 p.m. Trish Says...

Agreed.

Reply
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