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!
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
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!
- Disney's Pop Century
- Disney's Caribbean Beach
- Disney's Art of Animation
- Disney's Riviera Resort (under construction)
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’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’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!
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!
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.
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!