10 Reasons Disney’s Skyliner Gondola System will be a Game-Changer at Walt Disney World

Skyliner at Hollywood Studios
Credit: Disney Fanatic

Walt Disney World in Florida is preparing for its 50th Golden Anniversary in 2020.  There are so many new and exciting attractions, rides, Disney resort hotels, and other entertainment venues being planned for this exciting celebration.  One of the newest additions is the Skyliner Gondola System.  Like the Disney Monorail System, the Skyliner System will not only be a way to get from here to there, but for many visitors an exciting ride in the sky across parts of the Walt Disney World Resort.  Here are some reasons this newest form of transportation will be a Disney World game-changer.

1.  Design and Comfort

The Skyliner gondolas were designed by the Doppelmayr Garaventa Group, an Austrian company, that manufactures chairlifts, gondolas, and cable cars for ski and amusement parks.  Each enclosed gondola will feature twin wooden benches, and can accommodate 10 passengers.  Some of the gondolas feature graphics on the outside based on Disney characters, films, and attractions.  The reflective coating or character drawings are meant to reflect the heat of Florida’s summers, while vents at the top and bottom of each car will allow air to enter the car and keep it cool as it zooms along at 11mph.  This new transportation system is going to be a fast, effective, and fun way of getting around certain areas of Walt Disney World.

2. It’s Free Transportation

Whether you’re staying at a Disney Resort Hotel with the new Skyliner Gondola System loading station or not, Disney World guests will have an opportunity to experience a ride on one of these awesome gondolas.  The five stations which will be available and their locations are:

  1. Disney’s Art of Animation and Disney’s Pop Century Resorts will share a station.
  2. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort will be the center or hub of the Skyliner System, and guests will be able to transfer to other gondola routes 
  3. Disney’s Hollywood Studios—station located near entrance
  4. Disney’s Riviera Resort
  5. Epcot—station located at World Showcase, near the International Gateway between the France and UK pavilions.

Guests who are not staying at a Disney Resort Hotel will be able to board a Skyliner gondola at Hollywood Studios or Epcot for a spectacular view of select Disney theme parks and Disney Resort Hotels.

Disney's Skyliner

3. Bird Eye’s View of Walt Disney World

Reminiscent of the Skyway System (also known as “buckets”) because their open-air shapes, really did look like buckets and traveled over Fantasyland and Tomorrowland in both theme parks, but have now joined the ranks of “Disney’s extinct attractions”.  These new gondolas will provide an exceptional view of Disney World which includes a trip across Hourglass Lake, a never-before-seen aerial view of World Showcase and Disney’s Boardwalk, and an awesome view of Hollywood Studios, especially the stunning view of the “Tower of Terror” attraction.  The sights along the gondola route will be views of Disney theme parks, Disney Resort Hotels, and areas between, some of which have never been seen before.

4.  Easy On and Off

This new form of transportation will operate on a similar system used by Tomorrowland’s “Peoplemover, Liberty Square’s “Haunted Mansion”, Epcot’s “Spaceship Earth”, etc., in which the gondolas slow down for boarding and exiting but never stop moving.  There will be a separate queque for guests with wheelchairs or other assistive devices who need extra time while getting on or off the gondolas.  Also, they are reporting that there should be enough room for strollers to roll on without having to fold them up.

5.  Convenience

The Skyliner Gondola System is sure to take a load off the bus, boat, and monorail transportation systems.  If you are staying at any of the Disney Resort Hotels that have a Skyliner station, you will have the added convenience of much shorter wait times for transportation to Epcot, Hollywood Studios, or other Disney Resort Hotels.

6.  It’s Not Just Transportation-It’s an Attraction

The Disney Skyliner Gondola System is sure to bring back memories of those wonderful Skyway “bucket” attractions at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.  These new gondolas are enclosed , have longer routes, and the views of the Parks, Resorts, and property in between will seem more like an attraction than a form of transportation.  

7.  Interesting Statistics

Estimated ride times for the gondolas will vary depending on your destination, but most will be quicker than 15 minutes.  The cruising speed is 11 mph, but slows down to 1 mph when entering or exiting a station.  There will be more than 300 gondolas in the Disney Skyliner fleet, and they will travel at heights of up to 60 feet.  Each gondola cabin can accommodate up to 10 guests.  There will be special gondolas fitted to accommodate wheelchairs, ECV’s, and other mobility devices.  Strollers and mobility aids must fit within a 30” X 48” area to board the gondolas.  

8.  Future Expansion of  Disney’s Skyliner Gondola System

One proposed expansion would bring the Disney’s Skyliner west out to Disney’s Animal Kingdom with potential stops at Blizzard Beach, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Animal Kingdom Park and  Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort Hotel,  including a stop going to Kidani Village.  The second expansion would be east of the current infrastructure and bring you to Typhoon Lagoon and up to Disney Springs.  Wow, what trips these will be!

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9.  Increased Employment Opportunities

The opening of the Disney Skyliner Gondola System will open up more employment opportunities for anyone who fulfill the job requirements.  Since there has not been an addition like this one since 1999, many current cast members and new applicants are very excited and anxious to become a part of this new an innovative transportation system.  As the Skyliner System continues to expand, more cast members will be needed to fill all the new employment openings.

10. Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Sometimes a “ride in the sky” can be a bit scary for those guests who are not huge fans of traveling by air, especially when they can see how far they are above ground.  Disney, of course, takes every precaution to assure its guests are safe on every ride, attraction, or transportation system.  Every safety standard is met in accordance with the “Technical Standards and Safety Act” and guidelines are strictly adhered to, with the safety of all guests Disney’s of utmost importance.  There are contingency plans and procedures for malfunctioning gondolas, which can be put into place at a moment’s notice.  **The gondolas will not operate during bad weather**.

As for me and my family, we are so excited about Disney’s Skyliner Gondola System.  We don’t live near any mountains and really are not interested in winter sports, so the opportunity to ride in an aerial gondola across parts of Walt Disney World is, for us, a “no-brainer”.  Several members of our family have had the wonderful opportunity of riding the extinct Skyway attractions at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.  The magnificent views of Tomorrowland and Fantasyland were amazing, and that trip through the Matterhorn at Disneyland, looking down at the speeding Matterhorn Bobsleds and hearing the screams from the riders was euphoric.  Now we have a chance to take a ride once again above Disney Parks and more, and my family and I will be there.

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About Cecilia

I am a working mother of four adult children, 2 granddogs, and one grandcat. I have been a Disney fanatic since 1959, when my parents took my sister and I on a journey across the country to Disneyland. Needless to say, we were thrilled, and this became our vacation destination for the next 10 years. Later, when Walt Disney World was opened, we travelled to Florida and discovered a whole new Disney experience, and WDW became our new vacation destination. Now, our extended family members are all Disney Fanatics and always ready to talk about anything Disney.

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