This past week I rode the new Walt Disney World Skyliner service as part of Cast Member previews. The Disney Skyliner opened Sunday, Sept. 29, and will transport guests from Epcot International Gateway to Disney’s Riviera Resort (opening this December) to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. From Caribbean Beach, guests can transfer either to Disney’s Hollywood Studios or to the station connecting Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Disney’s Pop Century Resort.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios Skyliner station | © Evelyn Morehead
I began my ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios station and rode to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. This resort features the main hub for the Skyliner in which guests can choose one of three lines to ride on. From here, I rode to Epcot International Gateway which passes through Disney’s Riviera Resort (but does not stop there for now). I did not end up riding to Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Disney’s Pop Century Resort, but it appears to be a quick and pretty ride across Hourglass Lake to the station on the bridge.
Map of the Skyliner | © Evelyn Morehead
So without further ado, here are all of my thoughts on Disney’s Skyliner:
Overall, I give the experience an 8/10, as I thoroughly enjoyed my ride. However, also take into account that I did not have to wait in any lines, so I cannot speak for the queue experience once the Skyliner opens. The system appeared to be fairly efficient though. For example, gondolas were moved to a separate track to load wheelchairs/ECVs as to not slow down the loading process for everyone. These gondolas were then moved back onto the main track once fully loaded. I think this is a great system that will increase the efficiency of the loading process.
The main Skyliner hub at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort | © Evelyn Morehead
Do you actually want to ride in your favorite character’s gondola?
The most surprising thing to me was that I really did not enjoy riding in one of the character gondolas. I much preferred the completely clear gondola since the character ones make everything look grainy from the inside. My friends and I all got headaches from staring out of the character ones from too long, so get a clear one if you can!! You will get a much better view that way – and the views are absolutely incredible! The best part of the ride is getting aerial views of Walt Disney World that you wouldn’t be able to get otherwise. A Cast Member recommended riding in a clear gondola during the fireworks, which I haven’t tried yet, but I am sure the view is beautiful.
A Skyliner gondola | © Evelyn Morehead
HOW HOT ARE THE GONDOLAS??
Now I know what everyone is waiting to hear about. This has been the biggest question concerning the Skyliner since it was announced – WHAT ABOUT A/C? ISN’T IT GOING TO BE DEATHLY HOT WITHOUT A/C!!?!?!? Well, I can assure you that, no, you will not be sweating to death aboard the Skyliner. As you can see pictured below, the Skyliner gondolas have vents along the top sides which direct the breeze towards guests. The design creates nice airflow throughout the ride. There was only one point during my ride – when I was passing Disney’s Boardwalk Inn – that I started to warm up. However, it wasn’t long before the breeze picked up again, and the temperature inside felt completely fine. You’ll be hottest before you board and before the gondola launches. Once it launches, the breeze quickly picks up. Overall, I would not worry about the lack of A/C.
A view of the vents on the Skyliner | © Evelyn Morehead
During the ride, you will experience some mild swinging of the gondola. My friend I rode with deals with extreme motion sickness, and the swinging did not bother her that much. If you are worried about motion sickness, I wouldn’t let it stop you from riding. Other than that, the ride is very pleasant and relaxing. Announcements during the ride provide fun facts about Walt Disney World and detail what you see from your gondola, similar to the greetings on the monorail.
In my opinion, the Skyliner is a great addition to Walt Disney World’s transportation. The route from Hollywood Studios to Epcot was a bit of a long trek, so it may be more time-efficient to take a bus. However, as anyone who has taken Disney busses knows, sometimes the wait can be up to 30 minutes. So if the bus is there, take it, but if not, I would suggest the Skyliner. Not only is the Skyliner a way to get from point A to B, but it is more intimate, enjoyable and breath-taking than taking the bus. Unless you are in a rush, you get more out of a trip on the Skyliner than any other mode of transportation.