After years of anticipation, we’ve finally taken to the skies aboard the Disney Skyliner gondola system! We took flight at Disney’s Hollywood Studios; soared to Caribbean Beach Resort, Riviera Resort, and Art of Animation and Pop Century Resorts; and touched down at Epcot’s International Gateway.
But as with anything built for the Disney Parks, Skyliner is not without controversy or questions. So DFB is sailing into action to answer all of YOUR questions. Read on, and be sure to reach out in the comments if you’ve got a question that we didn’t answer about Disney’s newest mode of transportation.
What is the Disney World Skyliner?
The Disney World Skyliner is a new transportation option to get Disney World Resort guests to and from the Parks. Similar to the Disney Skyway that used to be in the Magic Kingdom, these gondolas will give guests the opportunity to see Walt Disney World Resort from above. The Skyliner consists of 300+ gondolas in eight bright colors and features a slew of character wraps.
What are the Disney Skyliner’s operating hours?
Skyliner will operate pre-Park opening and post-Park closing each day. They are expected to operate on the same schedule as buses (45 minutes prior to Park opening and one hour after closing). Signs at the stations state “operating hours vary depending on weather,” and Skyliner may close early if weather is a factor.
Will Skyliner operating times and wait times be listed on My Disney Experience?
Cast members we spoke with said My Disney Experience is expected to add Skyliner operating times and wait times. This technology is not expected in time for Skyliner’s opening on September 29, but it is expected to be added relatively soon after opening day.
To which Resorts does the Disney Skyliner travel?
Resort Skyliner stations can be found at Caribbean Beach Resort, Riviera Resort (opening December 16), and Art of Animation and Pop Century Resorts (located at Generation Gap Bridge). The Skyliner’s hub is located at Caribbean Beach Resort, where all three lines can be accessed or where transfers from other Resorts and Parks can be made.
To which Parks does the Disney Skyliner travel?
There are Skyliner stations at Epcot’s International Gateway and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
How fast does the Disney Skyliner travel?
The Skyliner moves at speeds up to 11 MPH.
How high do the Disney Skyliner Gondolas fly above the ground?
Those guests afraid of heights, take note: Skyliner’s highest point is 60 feet up.
Is the Disney Skyliner air conditioned?
There is no air conditioning on the Disney Skyliner gondolas. The gondolas are actually fitted with cross ventilation and feature reflective windows to mitigate effects from the central Florida climate. But it DOES get hot in there if your gondola is paused or stopped for some reason — at least during what’s still considered the hot time of the year in Orlando.
What is the temperature like inside a Skyliner gondola?
We found the temperatures inside a Skyliner gondola to be comfortable when the cabin is in motion. When the cabin is stopped for a few minutes or more, temperatures do noticeably rise.
How many people can travel inside a Skyliner gondola at one time?
Skyliner gondolas are designed to fit ten passengers seated on the cabins’ wooden benches. They can also accommodate wheelchairs, ECVs, and strollers. When one of these vehicles is inside the gondola, the capacity lowers to six passengers. Children in strollers and anyone using a wheelchair or ECV count toward the gondola’s maximum capacity.
Will cast members make my party ride with another to reach capacity in the gondola?
Cast members we spoke with told us they they will not typically force different parties to ride together. However, if crowd levels (and thus wait times) are high, they may group parties to fill gondolas and run the lines at their maximum capacity.
How do the Skyliner Gondolas board ECV’s, wheelchairs, etc?
Each line in every station has a wheelchair-designated queue. Cabins designated for this line will stop to allow boarding. When guests have boarded, the cabin will be added to the Skyliner line without interruption to the line’s continuous service
Can more than one ECV or wheelchair be placed in a single gondola?
We did not see more than one ECV or wheelchair loaded per gondola.
Will a wheelchair be strapped into Skyliner?
Cast members told us that they have wedges to place behind the wheels of a wheelchair to prevent it from rolling inside the cabin.
What if I don’t need a wheelchair or ECV but still need a stationary gondola for boarding and disembarking?
No problem, a cast member tells us. Just speak with the cast member in the wheelchair/ECV queue and explain that you need to board and disembark from a stationary cabin.
Will the wheelchair and ECV gondolas also stop at the line’s destination?
They will. No gondola is specifically designated as a handicap cabin; rather they are identified by the system and will therefore automatically shift to the stationary queue at the next station for deboarding.
What is the travel time between each location?
Travel time between Caribbean Beach Resort station and Disney’s Hollywood Studios is about five minutes. Travel between Caribbean Beach Resort and Riviera Resort is about three minutes. Travel between Riviera Resort and Epcot is about ten minutes. Travel between Caribbean Beach Resort and Art of Animation/Pop Century is about five minutes.
Riviera Resort station isn’t a transfer station; does that mean I can stay on the gondola to continue on to Epcot or Caribbean Beach stations?
Riviera Resort will open on December 16, and until then, Skyliner riders will have to remain in their gondolas through the station as they travel on toward Epcot or Caribbean Beach Resort. When Riviera Resort opens, guests will be able to stay on through the station. There will be no transfers at Riviera Resort. Cast members tell us that if guests wish to disembark at Riviera station (once the Resort opens), they’ll just need to stand up when their gondola pulls into the station to signal their intentions. If guests want to remain in their gondola through the station, they’ll remain seated.
What are the Skyliner gondolas like when they slow and stop?
Guests will board a gondola on the continuous line (unless they’re boarding with a wheelchair — see above). When the gondola doors close, they pick up speed quickly. Riders do notice some motion related to the launch. When gondolas arrive at a station, they do so at what feels like a relatively high speed, and they slow abruptly. The gondolas are fairly close together when one arrives behind another in the station.
Are strollers allowed on the Disney Skyliner? And if so, do I need to fold my stroller?
We saw families load single strollers with children riding in them by simply rolling the stroller into the cabin (just as guests can do on the Monorail). Stroller size is limited to 30″ by 48″ when unfolded. We expect families with larger strollers are able to fold them to bring them onto the skyliner gondolas; we will confirm later this week when we ride again.
Does my child in the stroller count as a passenger?
Yes, children seated in strollers do count as passengers. So if you have one child in a single stroller or two children in a double stroller, you’ll only be able to load 5 and 4 other passengers respectively. If you are a family of over six with one or more strollers, you will be asked to board two gondolas.
What happens if it rains or if lightning is in the area?
Disney prioritizes safety, and we expect plans are in place to adjust to these conditions. Skyliner signs indicate “operating hours vary depending on weather.”
What happens if the Skyliner gondolas get stuck above water?
Should your gondola get stuck above Hourglass Lake at Art of Animation and Pop Century Resorts, Disney has a rescue barge built to unload passengers. Learn more about it here.
What if I want to ride in a specific character gondola?
You can tell a cast member in the queue that you’d like to wait for a character gondola (or conversely if you’d prefer NOT to ride in a character gondola). They will try to accommodate as they’re able; you’ll need to move to the side to wait. Cast members told us that it will be more of a challenge if you want to wait for a specific character gondola versus any character gondola or the next character gondola.
Can children ride without an adult?
Cast members told us that the same rules for minimum ages on other Disney transportation applies to Skyliner. We were told that guests age 14 and older can ride Skyliner on their own. According to cast members, kids ages 7-13 must ride with someone 14 or older.
Can I eat and drink on the Skyliner?
We saw guests riding with coffee (with lids) from the new coffee stand at the Caribbean Beach Resort station; no word yet on whether you can carry food onto Skyliner.
Is there WIFI in the Skyliner gondolas?
WIFI is available throughout Walt Disney World property, but it’s not wired into the gondolas themselves. There may be lapses in accessibility at times.
Want to know more about Skyliner? Be sure to check out our DFB Skyliner video below!
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What do you think of this new Disney World transportation addition? Have a question we didn’t answer above? Let us know in the comments below!