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~Hop~ Aboard the Disney Skyliner Transportation System at Walt Disney World

by Leap on January 1, 2024
139 Orlando Video

Inside This Post Inside This Post

The Disney Skyliner transportation system opened in fall 2019 at Walt Disney World Resort and has since been taking guests on the "most magical flight on earth!" It joins the many wonderful, free transportation options (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 be our new favorite option! Now that we're gondola pros, here is everything you need to know about the Disney Skyliner.

Guide to the Disney Skyliner — Gondolas with Towering of Terror in background

 

Note that the Disney Skyliner will be closed for regular maintenance from Jan. 16 to Jan. 21, 2024. The section from Disney's Riviera Resort and EPCOT will remain closed through Jan. 27. Buses will be available during this time.

Overview of the Disney Skyliner Transportation System

When Disney first announced this new gondola system, I imagined a rowboat coasting through the Venice canals — 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 ski slopes. With Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort serving as the Skyliner's "hub," guests staying at this hotel (or connecting hotels) or traveling between Disney's Hollywood Studios and EPCOT will especially want to be aware of it.

The Disney Skyliner transportation system connects four Walt Disney World Resort hotels to both EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios. The resorts with Disney Skyliner access are:

With Pop Century and Art of Animation being two of our preferred value resort hotels, having this extra transportation option is a major bonus. Additionally, a new way to get to EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios is sure to shorten the bus line for those looking to save time. If this isn't a concern for you, the Skyliner can delight tadpoles with its towering height and views of the horizon.

Disney Skyliner Map and Stations

Disney Skyliner MapNote: Skyliner does have a stop at Disney's Riviera Resort, which is open. Disney has not released an updated map featuring this stop yet. 

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is at the center of the new transportation system's route, with a hub designed to reflect the imagery of Caribbean open-air village marketplaces. The station incorporates detailed architectural elements of the resort, especially its vibrant color scheme. Here, guests must hop off and transfer gondola routes to reach their end destination, similar to the monorail’s Transportation and Ticket Center.

The Riviera station is the only station that you do not have to get off at, unless it's your intended stop. 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, guests can 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 do not have to get off at the Riviera station and will then have a direct trip to EPCOT's International Gateway.

The International Gateway station at EPCOT is inspired by the park’s nearby European Pavilions. This hub fits 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 offers a never-before-seen aerial view of Disney’s Boardwalk and EPCOT's World Showcase, including the new France pavilion expansion featuring Remy's Ratatouille Adventure!

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

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the only other park stop for the Disney Skyliner transportation system. The design matches the park’s entrance with turquoise and red tones. An awesome view of the park, particularly the Tower of Terror, can be seen when traveling to and from Hollywood Studios!

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

Disney Skyliner Gondola Details

Disney Skyliner gondolas - Boarding

Each gondola has wooden bench-style seating that fits a maximum of 10 people (or six guests if you're riding a wheelchair-accessible gondola). There is enough room for strollers to roll on without having to fold them up. Larger strollers may also use the wheelchair queue. Both mobility aids and strollers must fit within a 30-inch by 48-inch area for access.

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 is a separate queue at each station for anyone needing extra time while getting on a gondola. These special gondolas move to the side, so it doesn't affect the other gondolas coming in and out of the station — keeping the Skyliner system operating at all times.

Disney Skyliner - Gondola Interior

The nearly 300 gondolas feature onboard audio, which is unique to every Disney Skyliner route, depending on the destination you're headed to. The gondolas are not air-conditioned, but they feature reflective panels to avoid direct sunlight and cross-ventilation windows that allow for airflow. We were concerned that it'd get too hot inside, but we're hoppy to report that it's a comfortable ride! The only time we've felt the heat was when we were stopped for nearly 10 minutes at the Riviera Resort station, waiting to take off after a short delay.

Disney Skyliner gondolas – Coco and Lio and Stitch themed gondolas

Select Skyliner cabins feature classic Disney pals such as the Fab Five, as well as newer films like “Zootopia” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet”. Both animated films and Walt Disney World attractions make appearances on the gondolas, including “Lilo and Stitch,” “Moana,” “Finding Dory,” the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. There's even ones themed to Disney World's 50th anniversary!

Disney Skyliner Hours and Timing

Disney Skyliner hours

Disney Skyliner hours vary each day depending on park hours, the weather, the season and even the route you're taking. Some routes begin operating before the park opens, while others begin operating right at park opening; all routes will remain open for a bit after park closing.

Typically, the Skyliner will open one hour before Early Theme Park Entry. It will then close 90 minutes after EPCOT or Hollywood Studios closes. On nights with Extended Evening Hours at EPCOT, it will close one hour after park close, though only the section from Riviera to International Gateway will remain open. Our best advice is to check posted hours for travel to the parks the evening before you hop aboard, and check closing hours as you arrive to the park you'll be visiting for the day.

The Skyliner will temporarily pause for inclement weather and/or high winds. Guests staying at any of the four connected resorts will then be able to take buses to EPCOT or Hollywood Studios.

Note that the Disney Skyliner will be closed Jan. 16 to 21, 2024, for regular maintenance. The service from Riviera to EPCOT will remain closed through Jan. 27. Alternative transportation, such as buses, will be provided during that time.

How Long Does a Skyliner Ride Take?

Because the gondolas can load up to 10 guests and are always moving, the queue moves very quickly! Even when the line for EPCOT at the Caribbean Beach station looked scary long, it took less than 10 minutes to hop on. It can take a little longer during peak times, especially around park opening.

To give you an idea of how long the actual ride is, we took every route and timed it ourselves:

  • To Hollywood Studios from Caribbean Beach Resort: five minutes
  • To Pop Century & Art of Animation Resorts from Caribbean Beach Resort: five minutes
  • To Riviera Resort from Caribbean Beach Resort: three minutes
  • To EPCOT from Caribbean Beach Resort: 12 minutes

Tips for Using the Disney Skyliner System

Here's some extra tips for the Disney Skyliner:

Disney Skyliner signage

  • If you have a fear of heights or enclosed spaces, we wouldn't recommend the Skyliner as a travel option.
  • For people with severe motion sickness, the Disney Skyliner may also not be the best option. Flora can easily get carsick and seasick, and she felt some queasiness during each takeoff and when the gondola stopped and gently swayed in the air.
  • Anyone can ride the Skyliner! You do not have to present any hotel reservation information in order to get to the resorts accessible by gondolas.
  • That said, you can only park at any of the resorts if you are a registered guest, attending a convention or have a dining reservation.
  • Keep the gondola balanced if you do not want an extra rocky ride! Don't all sit on one side, and have the tadpoles sit in between the grown-up frogs.
  • Riding at night offers a toadally different experience. As we left Hollywood Studios after closing, we could see the fireworks exploding in the sky at EPCOT! If you have a character-themed gondola, it is a little harder to see out.
  • If you're staying at any of the resorts along the Skyliner routes, Skyliner is currently the only Disney transportation option available for EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios. Buses are only available if Skyliner is not operating.

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

With all of the exciting new experiences coming to Walt 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: Your Complete Guide to Walt Disney World Transportation

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
View Comments

Comments

51–67 of 67 comments
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
Sep 8, 2019 at 8:29 p.m.
Janet Says...

To me what you are suggesting doesn't really make sense as there maybe be several parties in 1 gondola...and chances are they aren't all going to the same place

Reply
Aug 31, 2019 at 7:24 p.m.
ajaynejr Says...

Automatic switching to the destination of your choice without getting out and transferring creates additional limitations.

For example for every gondola from elsewhere added to the Hollywood Studios loop at Caribbean Beach, another gondola has to be taken off of the Hollywood Studios Loop and sent back somewhere else. (There could be a slight imbalance but not a big imbalance of gondolas going to and coming from a given destination.

Otherewise you could have problems of gondolas about to arrive at CBR backed up and having to be stopped while things are sorted out and enough space is free on the cable for gondolas to continue on, say, to Hollywood Studios.

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
Sep 30, 2019 at 10:32 p.m.
DVCSSR Says...

Yes you can ride from any one of the resorts listed on the map over to Epcot and then walk over to the Boardwalk area.

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
Aug 31, 2019 at 7:29 p.m.
ajaynejr Says...

One bench can hold up to 5. So one gondola can handle up to 10 guests with no wheelchairs, or 6 guests one in a wheelchair, or two guests in wheelchairs with nobody else. It would probably be desirable to plan on eight guests per gondola (when there are no wheelchairs) if all adults and not all in the same family or party.

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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