Walt Disney World in Florida is one of the most visited theme parks in the world, and with the upcoming 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Magic Kingdom, it is fast becoming the most popular Disney Vacation destination. There are so many awesome additions coming to this “most magical place on earth”, including fantastic new attractions, rides, hotels, restaurants, shopping choices, and a brand new transportation system, which is reminiscent of the “bucket” rides at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
The new system is called the “Disney Skyliner”, a gondola system with a modern ski-lift design, featuring bright colors and some having overlays of Disney characters and attractions. These uniquely designed gondolas soar over parts of Walt Disney World connecting 4 Disney resorts, and 2 parks together, making access to certain Disney theme parks and resorts even more accessible. In addition to the convenience, the bird’s eye view of parts of Walt Disney World is mesmerizing. Here are some exciting facts about this newest Disney transportation system.
There are five gondola stations, three at Disney resorts, and 2 at Disney parks. The Disney resorts are: Disney’s Art of Animation, Disney’s Pop Century, Disney’s Riviera and Disney’s Caribbean Beach. The Skyliner is also within walking distance of the Boardwalk, Beach, Yacht, Swan and Dolphin Resorts. The two parks accessible by the Disney Skyliner system are Hollywood Studios, and Epcot.
The gondola cars are beautifully designed with bright colors and some are wrapped in artwork depicting favorite Disney characters and attractions. As for temperature control, they use a “passive ventilation system” (window vents) which allows the breeze to move through the cabins.
Each car can hold up to 10 guests, or up to 6 if there is a wheelchair or electric convenience vehicle (ECV). Gondolas with wheelchair or ECV are known as WAV cabins. Single strollers are allowed to be open in regular cabins. Double-wide strollers must be folded. If you do not have a stroller or wheelchair, you’ll board a gondola that is moving very slowly, much like “The Haunted Mansion”, “People Mover”, “Spaceship Earth”, etc.
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The current operating schedule is 1 hours before either Hollywood Stuydios or Epcot operating hours. Anybody can ride the Disney Skyliner. You do not have to be staying at a Disney resort that has a station to ride it.
5. Navigating the Stations
Caribbean Beach Station is the hub station of the Disney Skyliner System. If you’re heading to Hollywood Studios Park, you will need to transfer at the Caribbean Beach Station. Also, you’ll need to transfer at Caribbean Beach if going to Disney’s Riviera Resort or Epcot.
Art of Animation and Pop Century share a station located in the middle of a walkway linking the two resorts together over a lake. This is the beginning or ending of your trip. If arriving here, you must disembark your gondola. You can always get back on again and continue your ride. If you are going to Hollywood Studios from here, you will need to transfer at Caribbean Beach station to continue on to Hollywood Studios. If you are going to Epcot or the Riviera Resort, you will also need to transfer at the Caribbean Beach station.
Hollywood Studios Station – If you board a gondola here and are going to either the Art of Animation or Pop Century resorts, you will need to transfer at Caribbean Beach Resort to reach your destination. If, however, you are traveling to Epcot or the Riviera Resort, you must transfer gondolas at the Caribbean Beach Resort.
Riviera Resort – If you get on here and are going to Epcot, no transfer is required. If you are arriving from Caribbean Beach station and are going to Epcot, you can also stay in your car without exiting. If you are going to Hollywood Studios, Caribbean Beach Resort, or Art of Animation or Pop Century Resorts, you will need to disembark at the Caribbean Beach station.
Disney Cast Members will be there to direct you throughout your journey. After you’ve taken a tour of all the routes, you will see how easy and fun this new transportation system can be.
6. Interesting Statistics About the Disney Skyliner gondolas
Estimated ride times for the gondolas range between 5 to 18 minutes. There are more than 300 gondolas in the Disney Skyliner fleet and they travel at heights of up to 60 feet. The cruising speed is around 11mph with a slowdown to 1mph when arriving at the station where people are exiting and loading. The longest ride is from Epcot to the Art of Animation/Pop Century Resorts, with an estimated travel time of 15 minutes.
7. Tips and Restrictions For a Pleasant Disney Skyliner Experience
- There are no height restrictions. Young and old; big or small can ride.
- Children must be 7 years of age or older to ride alone on the Disney Skyliner. Children under 7 must be accompanied by a friend of family member that is at least 14 years old.
- There is no standing on the Disney Skyliner. Guests are required to remain seated at all times.
- Guests who need more time to load for whatever reason have their own line and can board a stationary gondola
- Only 1 scooter, stroller, or other mobility device is allowed in a gondola at a time.
- Each gondola car is suspended a minimum of 20 feet above the ground at any time with some parts reaching a maximum height of 93 feet.
- You can board with multiple strollers, depending on the size of strollers and number of guests in your group.
- The Disney Skyliner System will be expanding in the coming years to include more Disney Resorts and possibly even Disney Springs.
- Disney Skyliner Gondola System merchandise is now available for purchase. There are t-shirts, hats, mugs, trading pins, etc.
What better way is there to view the sights and sounds of Walt Disney World Resort than by flying over in a beautifully designed gondola. It’s more like a ride than a mode of transportation; even better, it’s both.
The ride at nightfall is unbelievably beautiful and magical. During the Holidays, the views of the Christmas decorations and colorful lights are even more spectacular. Don’t take my word for it. Take the flight for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.