These days, it seems like change is the name of the game in Disney World. From Epcot’s massive transformation to the recent opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the World seems to be in a constant state of change.
Given this amount of updating, it’s no surprise that Disney World’s modes of transportation are transforming as well.
Let’s chat about how these huge Disney transportation changes will affect your Disney trip!
Skyliner Gondola System
We’ll start with the biggest transportation change on its way to Disney World — the Skyliner Gondola System. The character-themed gondolas are slated to open to the public on September 29th and will connect Epcot and Hollywood Studios to several Disney resorts. They will travel up to 11 MPH as they transport guests around Disney World property.
There are five Skyliner stations. These are located at Hollywood Studios, Epcot’s International Gateway, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation/Pop Century Resorts, and Disney’s upcoming Riviera Resort.
While many of our readers are looking forward to taking a ride on the Skyliner when it opens, others are a bit wary about the gondolas’ ventilation capabilities, and we totally understand that.
As we reported a few months ago, the Orlando Sentinel spoke to Thomas Mazloum, the Disney senior vice president who oversees resorts and transportation, who explained that the gondolas will feature “thoughtfully designed cross-ventilation crafted with the Florida climate in mind.”
Additionally, the windows of the gondolas are designed to reflect sunlight away from the vehicles, maintaining a “comfortable” temperature inside the cabin.
Whether you choose to utilize the Skyliner system when it opens or not, it will likely affect your time in Disney World. If you stay in an Epcot resort, you can expect Epcot’s International Gateway entrance to be most likely much more crowded than it is now. This entrance is historically INCREDIBLY fast to get through! Similarly, you might see an increase in the number of guests congregating at the resorts with Skyliner stations waiting to board as well.
The most obvious change (aside from the fact that there’s a new transportation option) is that the Skyliner system will alter certain sightlines around Disney World property. That picture-perfect view of the Eiffel Tower in the France Pavilion might take a bit of maneuvering to avoid the Skyliner in the background!
Only time will reveal more long-term effects of the Skyliner. It very well might alter the number of guests utilizing the other transportation methods in Disney World, but there’s no way to know for sure until September 29th.
Disney World Bus Additions and Changes
Sensational Six Buses
We’re not gonna lie — in the past, we’ve had a bit of a love-hate relationship with the Disney World bus system. While we’ve loved the fact that they’re free for guests to use, we haven’t been wild about the lengthy wait times the buses can garner. But NOW, we have more reasons to love Disney World’s buses, starting with the NEW Sensational Six bus line!
These snazzy new buses, which debuted this summer, feature some of our favorite Disney characters, like Mickey and Minnie…
…and Daisy! These vibrant color palettes sure make riding to the parks even more exciting.
Not only are these buses decked out on the outside, but on the inside as well! The Sensational Six buses each have laminate floors with a wood-look finish, and the plastic blue and gray seats offer something extra…
We’re talking about USB ports that you’ll find between each set of seats! Talk about making your vacation a whole lot better!
You can catch these nifty new buses rolling around the Disney World theme parks.
Updates to Existing Buses
While the Sensational Six buses are certainly sensational, some of Disney World’s other buses have seen some improvements as well. For starters, some of the buses now have the same upgraded seating and charging ports.
In addition to the functional upgrades, these buses also have NEW Disney-themed wraps! During your Disney World day, you just might spot Simba and Zazu…
…Mike and Sulley…
…Moana and Pua…
…or Rocket and Groot!
As far as we’re concerned, these changes certainly make bus transportation more enjoyable, so we’re hoping Disney will continue to update additional buses!
Potential Magic Kingdom Walkway
Early mornings and late nights in Magic Kingdom may soon get 10x easier for Grand Floridian and Polynesian Village Resort guests!
A couple of months ago, we shared that a recent permit seems to indicate that a walkway may be built between the Grand Floridian and Magic Kingdom at some point. More recently, we’ve spotted a continuation of construction work outside the Grand Floridian.
Note that Disney has not announced the walkway officially, so this could just be random construction happening over there…but it does kinda look like it might become a walkway at some point in time.
Since there is already a walkway between the Polynesian Village Resort and the Grand Floridian, if a walkway does indeed open it would mean that Polynesian Village Resort guests would also have walking access to the Magic Kingdom from their resort.
And while there is a monorail system station at both resorts — and boats are available to and from the Magic Kingdom from both the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian — with this potential walkway, guests would be able to walk straight from their rooms to the Magic Kingdom for Extra Magic Hours or take a stroll back after fireworks on the walkway, avoiding the lines and crowds at the monorail and boat boarding stations.
Also, guests not staying at these resorts will be able to more easily escape the Magic Kingdom and have a quiet lunch at the Grand Floridian or Polynesian!
Over the past few years, you may have noticed that Disney World’s Monorail system is becoming a bit outdated. While we’ll always have a place in our hearts for the Monorail, we’re super happy Disney has (finally) started to update them.
Disney has been taking steps to update the existing fleet to make for better travel accommodation for guests. And the Silver Monorail is the first to emerge with these new updates.
The Silver Monorail not only received a new exterior wrap…
…but BRAND NEW SEATS as well!
We’re digging the interior silver look as well.
Though these have been around for about two years now, Minnie Vans are still a fairly new transportation option in Disney World, and they can definitely affect your vacation. Minnie Vans are “powered by” the popular ride-share program Lyft, but drivers are experienced Cast Members of Walt Disney World.
Unlike the other transportation methods on this list, Minnie Vans will cost you some cash. The original cost of a ride on Disney property in a Minnie Van was $20. In February 2018, the price increased to $25. As of September 2018, a Minnie Van ride runs $15 plus $2.75 per mile. That cost includes a one-way trip from the starting location to any other location on Disney World property. It also includes perks like car seats (expertly installed!) and phone chargers in the vehicle.
If you’re running late and need to get somewhere quickly, we can definitely recommend the Minnie Vans. While we wouldn’t necessarily use them all the time given their price, we do enjoy the convenience and ease of ordering one.
Thanks for joining us on our journey through Disney World’s transportation transformation! Stay tuned to Disney Food Blog as we’ll share even more changes to the various modes of transportation the World has to offer.
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What is your preferred mode of Disney transportation? Let us know in the comments below!