History Of The Walt Disney World Skyliner Gondolas
Heres a bit of the history of the Skyliner system. Because its so new, theres not a ton of history, but I enjoy the history of just about everything, so Im including it here. As times goes on, Ill update this section .
Note: If youre not interested in this section, feel free go down the page to the next sections, where I cover everything you need to know about this ride to get the very best experience for you and your family and friends on your next vacation or day trip.
What Is A Ride Like On Disneys Skyliner
From the moment you step into your aerial gondola until the time you get off, the Skyliner offers a leisurely ride above the Disney World, with birds-eye views and just enough excitement to keep things interesting. Decked out in vibrant hues, Skyliner gondolas are filled with character. Disney characters, that is!
Many gondolas feature appearances by some of your favorite Disney pals, from classics like Mickey and the gang and Star Wars characters to newer friends from the likes of Guardians of the Galaxy and Moana. If youre anything like us, youre sure to get a kick out of the different designs that pass by while waiting for your turn.
Just keep in mind that while theyre certainly cute, these designs also obstruct the view a bit from inside the gondola. For the clearest views of the resort beyond, dont hesitate to ask a cast member for character-free car.
Inside, the gondolas are outfitted with two wooden benches with enough room for up to 10 people . While there isnt any air-conditioning, reflective panels on the outside and cross-ventilation windows help to keep things comfortable. Each gondola also has its own onboard audio with narration specific to your destination.
Like the Haunted Mansions Doom Buggies, gondolas dont stop during loading or unloading unless you are riding with a wheelchair or other assistive device. Just walk right in, sit down and enjoy the ride. From there, youre off to your destination.
What Happens When A Skyliner Line Goes Down
Based on what weve seen on social media and in our own experience, stoppages of 2-5 minutes are relatively common while stoppages for 15+ minutes are very rare.
When a line has gone down, weve seen buses operate from next to the Caribbean Beach station to get people to their destination. This was a huge problem on night two of the Skyliner. The Art of Animation / Pop Century line went down, so guests coming from the park got to Caribbean Beach only to find out they had to wait in a long line for the bus .
If the line goes down at Epcot, guests are directed to the front of the park to catch a bus.
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How Long Do I Have To Wait In Line For The Disney Skyliner
This is going to depend on which station you are getting on at, and what time of the day it is. On all our rides weve found that early morning rides are the best, with hardly any wait. You can get right on.
Once it gets after 9 am till early afternoon, the crowds pick up. Usually, youre looking at about a 5-10 minute wait, with some waits as long as 20 minutes, especially if there are any delays.
In the evening at park closing things get very crowded and this is where the worst lines are and the longest waits. Epcot is the worst offender, and going on the Skyliner just after the Epcot fireworks are finished is always a bad idea. Weve seen waits well over 30 minutes during that time.
The stations make a difference and of course, the Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Caribbean Beach stations are the busiest and have the longest lines. Pop Century/Art of Animation and Riviera Resort stations are much quieter.
It also matters what time of year you are visiting. If you go during one of the busiest times of the year in Disney World, then it will definitely be more crowded.
Little Riders May Get Nervous
The first time I took my toddler son on board Disney Skyliner it did not occur to me that he might get a little scared or nervous. As we approached the station he was fascinated by the moving gondolas. Things went great until we boarded our gondola and it began the quick ascent from the station. The quick motion unsettled him and he immediately asked to go home. I talked him through it, pointing out the sights and assuring him we were okay. Then it occurred to me to point out the different characters on the exterior of many of the passing gondolas. By the time we were on our return trip at the end of the day he excitedly said I love it! as our gondola soared into the air.
The Disney Skyliner is similar to other gondola systems used around the world. There can be slowdowns and delays, but it is a very efficient system. It is a great way to get around one of the most popular parts of Walt Disney World, and a welcome addition.
Have you been on the Disney Skyliner system yet?
First published September 4, 2020. Updated September 28, 2021.
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Can Guests Get Off At The Riviera Resort Station
The Skyliner station at Disneys Riviera Resort is unique because of its positioning and can be convenient for guests staying at that resort or even at certain rooms at the Caribbean Beach Resort. Guests arriving here can definitely get off and visit the resort if they like.
Due to its position, this station is actually closer to some rooms at the Caribbean Beach Resort instead of going all the way down to where the central station is. This is especially true if staying in the Aruba section of the resort.
The Riviera Resort station is not a transfer station, however, so if you are continuing on to either Epcot or the Caribbean Beach Resort from the Riviera, you do not switch gondolas here.
If guests want to get out at the Riviera station, they need to let the cast members know at the station, and they will let you out.
Can You Smoke In Walt Disney World
Smoke-Free Policy Frequently Asked Questions
Walt Disney World theme parks, water parks, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and Disney resort hotels are smoke-free environments except for designated smoking areas. Smoking is not permitted in guest rooms or on balconies.
Is Skyliner faster than bus? The Disney Skyliner is by far our new favorite Disney transportation system, and we will probably ride it just for fun many times. Its faster than a bus or monorail and is a more enjoyable form of transportation than either of those as well.
Can you bring strollers on Disney Skyliner?
Are strollers allowed on the Disney Skyliner? Stroller size is limited to 30 by 48 when unfolded. Families with larger strollers are able to fold them to bring them onto the Skyliner gondolas, but the maximum capacity will change to 6 guests.
Can you walk between Epcot and Hollywood Studios? Yes, it is possible to walk from the back door of Epcot, called International Gateway, to Disneys Hollywood Studios. As you exit Epcot, follow the path around Crescent Lake toward the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels. You should see signage directing you to the correct path to Disneys Hollywood Studios.
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Disney Skyliner Gondola Bar Crawl
One activity that can be super fun is riding the Disney Skyliner and getting on and off to go to a bar/pub at each stop. We call this the Disney Skyliner Pub Crawl.
Here is a list of some of the bars you can go to along the Disney Skyliner Gondola line:
Disneys Caribbean Beach Resort
- Banana Cabana
Disneys Pop Century and Art of Animation Resorts
- The Drop Off Pool Bar
- Petals Pool Bar
Can I Park My Car At A Disney Skyliner Hotel And Then Go To The Parks
This would be a great option if true, but no you cant park at a Disney Skyliner hotel to go to the parks, or at least not for free.
Complimentary standard self-parking is available for Guests visiting Disney Resort Hotels, but only to enjoy select dining, shopping, entertainment and recreation experiences.
- TIP: If you have a dining reservation they give you 3 hours of free parking. That should be enough time to grab something to eat at one of the restaurants in one of the resorts and then take a ride around the Skyliner.
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Is The Disney Skyliner Transportation System Air Conditioned
The short answer is no. But to help keep guests comfortable, each Walt Disney World Skyliner gondola has reflective panels to avoid direct sunlight and cross-ventilation windows that allow for air flow. Even on the warmest days at Walt Disney World, the gondolas stay nice and cool so long as they are moving. And on those cool nights, the vents can be closed so guests will not get too chilly.
Skyliner At Pop Century And Art Of Animation
Guests staying at Disneys Pop Century or Art of Animation Resorts will find a similar experience. These resorts share a pick-up and drop-off station located on the bridge across Hour Glass Lake.
Skyliner guests will travel to Caribbean Beachs main station from these resorts. There, they will depart their gondola and get in line for Epcot or Hollywood Studios.
The main difference here is that theres no option to walk to the main Caribbean Beach station from the value resorts. While these Disney value resorts sit pretty close to Caribbean Beach, no adjoining walkway connects them.
The ride between the two values and Caribbean Beachs station is approximately five minutes. Heres a look at the station.
The best way I can explain using the Skyliner from Pop Century or Art of Animation is to know youll always have to get off at Caribbean Beach. Then youll get in line for your next destination.
Make sure to consider the fact that both of these resorts share one line to board the Skyliner gondolas. So if youre headed out at park opening, be prepared to wait in a reasonably long line.
Occasionally, you might encounter a sign that indicates additional bus service is running. For example, the sign below states, Due to high demand for Disney Skyliner, direct bus service is available to/from Epcot and to/from Disneys Hollywood Studios for your convenience.
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Items Allowed On The Disney World Skyliner
All set for your ride? Heres what you can and cant bring with you on the Skyliner:
Can you take food on the Disney Skyliner?
Yes! Whether its a morning coffee or late-night snack, youre more than welcome to bring food and drinks, as long as they have a lid, on the Disney Skyliner. The only beverages not permitted are those with booze, so be sure to finish off your drink from the pool bar before you get on.
Are strollers allowed on the Disney Skyliner?
Yup! Strollers are more than welcome on the Disney Skyliner as long as they fit Disneys requirements and fit through the gondola opening. The opening for each Disney gondola is 30 inches wide. This is more than enough space for a single or tandem stroller to roll right on through with your kiddo still in it. However, side-by-side double strollers are too wide and must be folded shut on the platform prior to boarding.
Can you take a wheelchair or scooter on the Disney Skyliner?
Were pleased to say that guests who require a wheelchair or ECV to get around dont have to miss out on the Disney Skyliner. Accessible accommodations are provided for guests with mobility needs, including a dedicated loading zone where gondolas stop completely for safe loading and unloading. Disney gondolas with a wheelchair or scooter accommodate six guests rather than 10.
Which Disney Resorts Have The Skyliner
These 4 select resorts have Skyliner stations for guests to use.
The Caribbean Beach Resort has a Skyliner station located near the Jamaica area of the resort. This is the largest station on the line, offering the storage of extra gondolas.
Art of Animation and Pop Century has a shared station on the generation gap bridge over hourglass lake offering great access to both resorts guests. We are the most excited for this as these two resorts are among our favorites to stay at.
The new Riviera Resort, also has its own Skyliner station. This is one of the main benefits of staying at Disneys newest DVC resort, being right on the Disney Skyliner line perfectly positioned between Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
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Check The Schedule For Rope Drop
Make sure you know what time the Skyliner will start operating on the day you hope to rope drop Hollywood Studios or EPCOT. If it will not be running early enough, consider alternate transportation, like a bus, walking, or rideshare.
Always check to see what time the Skyliner starts running. Photo by Laurie Sapp
Often, Disney transportation will start earlier than advertised, but never count on this.
Can I Use Skyliner If Im In A Wheelchair Or Ecv
Skyliner is probably the easiest method of transportation for Disney World guests in wheelchairs or an ECV . Disney obviously learned lessons from other methods of transportation and came up with a design for those in a wheelchair or ECV who need more time to board.
Each boarding station has a separate lane for specific gondolas that will wait as long as you need to board. With the ability to move gondolas to this separate loading area, the regular line keeps moving people to their destination. Inside the gondola, a cast member will help secure the wheelchair or ECV for transport. Upon arrival, theres a separate lane for disembarking, which also allows plenty of time. Theres no need to climb out of a wheelchair or ECV when riding Skyliner, and theres always capacity for folks using assistive transportation methods.
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What Happens If The Skyliner Gets Stuck
This question is high on many peoples list in part because of the malfunction that happened shortly after the Skyliner opened. In that October 2019 case, some guests were stuck for 3 hours waiting to be rescued. After that incident, phone numbers were added into all Skyliner cabins. A second malfunction happened in December 2019.
Does anyone want to be stuck on the Skyliner? No. Is it extremely unlikely to happen? Yes. Did we make jokes about being trapped on the Skyliner while we rode it? Most definitely. The good news? Disney has its very own first responders the Reedy Creek Fire Department and they are trained and ready to assist if something does happen.
My own husband is a paramedic in Texas. I asked him what is the most important thing to do if youre stuck on a gondola? Stay calm, he said. Sounds like sage advice.
Find yourself in a stalled Skyliner? Call the number provided on the Skyliner and take note of your cabin number. The cabin number can be found on the Skyliner door glass above all the no-no decals of what not to do. If someone in your party is experiencing a medical emergency during a shutdown, mention it so they prioritize the response. Each cabin is equipped with an emergency kit including water packets, note pad, light stick, cups and a barf bag. If nature called while youre stuck, you could use the barf bag to answer it clumsily.
What Do The Gondolas Travel Over
The Disney World Skyliner gondolas travel primarily over the resorts and over water, reaching approximately 60 feet up in the air. There are some pretty cool sights to take in, including some parts of Hollywood Studios , Epcot, etc.
Take a look at the view over Caribbean Beach with the new Riviera resort ahead in the background:
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Temperature Inside The Skyliner
The temperature inside the Skyliner is obviously important to many, and even though there isnt air-conditioning, all early reports are positive with temperatures inside not exceeding the outside temperature for the most part.
Even with the sun blazing, the reflective glass on the gondola windows, the cooling system keeps it relatively cool despite everything. Most of the time weve ridden it, even when outside was blazing hot, the inside temperature doesnt get too much above the high 80s. Thats with the sun is blazing too.
This is Florida after all and it does get super hot, so how this holds up from June to August remains to be seen. Well continue to monitor the temperatures inside the Disney Skyliner so stay tuned.
Are Skyliner Cabins Air Conditioned
No, but they have large vents at the top. While the gondolas are moving, theres a steady breeze that passes through the cabin. Even on the hottest day in Florida, the breeze moving through the gondola is sufficient to keep you cool.
For over 12 years Darren Wittko has been helping people save money at Walt Disney World as both, a travel writer and a travel advisor with Magical Vacations Travel. Hes featured in the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World as a Best of the Best Disney Travel Agent. Darren resides in Celebration, FL.
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