(UPDATE 10/14/19): You’ve probably heard about the Disney Skyliner Gondola system, the upcoming new transportation system in Walt Disney World. We are excited to share all the details with you about the project including the Disney Skyliner opening date, a full tour inside and outside of the Gondola cars, the air-cooling system, the future expansion map, route information and more!
This is basically everything you need to know before riding the Disney Skyliner Gondolas in Disney World.
Our goal with this post is to help you understand everything you need to know about the Disney Skyliner Gondola project, what it is, where it’s going to stop, the speed of the gondolas, car capacity, travel times, and what future expansion plans are coming in the future.
Now we are more excited than ever since probably by the time you read this article it will already be operational as the Disney Skyliner is opening September 29, 2019.
In the latest update we’ve included the answers to many more Disney Skyliner questions so be sure to check them out. If we leave something out please send us a question below and we will answer it for you!
Disney has announced the operational hours for the Disney Skyliner. We also will be posting first-hand reports and a tour of the Skyliner in the coming days so scroll down for all hours information…
Latest News: Disney Skyliner Incident. Only one week after its original opening, the Disney Skyliner had to be temporarily shut down for more than a week due to a small accident.
Since then the Skyliner is back up and running. If you are interested in reading about that incident, what happened and our thoughts moving forward you can read our Disney Skyliner accident summary.
What is the Disney Skyliner Gondola System?
The Disney Skyliner Gondolas are the newest transportation system in Walt Disney World, roughly based on the old Disney Skyway buckets in the Magic Kingdom. These however are much bigger, and built to carry guests from hotels to parks and are an alternative to the Disney bus system or other forms of public transportation.
They are designed by the Doppelmayr Garaventa Group which is an Austrian company that manufactures chairlifts, gondolas and cable cars for ski and amusement parks. They also have experience building urban people moving systems, and have produced over 14,600 installations in 89 countries
The Skyliner was announced in 2017 at the D23 Expo when Bob Chapek explained Disney’s commitment to improving transportation in Walt Disney World, and construction began on the Skyliner in 2018.
Riding in the Disney Skyliner is a unique transportation experience in Walt Disney World because being in an elevated position allows guests to have a bird’s eye view of the resort in places they’ve never seen like that before. Think the same way the Monorail system allows you, but in new places.
Contrary to what was originally thought about the Disney Skyliner Gondolas, this newest transportation to the Walt Disney World Resort does NOT have air conditioning however with the speed it moves at, it does let significant airflow through them.
Here is a video from Disney showing what the skyliner is like:
Disney Skyliner Stations: Where Does the Disney Skyliner Go?
The Disney Skyliner Gondola system transports guests to and from many Walt Disney World locations including theme parks and hotels. During the initial launch there are 6 Skyliner stations including the following:
- Epcot Park
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney’s Riviera Resort
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort / Disney’s Pop Century Resort
- Turn Station (you can’t actually get off here)
The Epcot station is located right outside the International Gateway and brings guests to the back door of Epcot in between France and the UK. Perfectly located for guests staying at the Yacht and Beach Club Resort, The Boardwalk Inn, or Swan and Dolphin.
This might be the busiest station on the Skyliner route, and be the one with the longest lines now that Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge is open. It’s amazing though to see Batuu from the sky as you land at the station.
Caribbean Beach Resort:
The Caribbean Beach Skyliner station is the “main hub” so to speak of the Disney Skyliner with all three lines departing from here. Guests going almost in any direction will eventually land here and then exit their gondola and choose the direction they want to go in next.
Once of the main benefits of staying at Disney’s newest DVC resort, Disney’s Riviera Resort, is that you are right on the Disney Skyliner line, perfectly positioned between Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
Art of Animation Resort and Pop Century Resort:
The Art of Animation and Pop Century Resorts share this Skyliner station which is positioned right in the middle of a walkway linking the two resorts together over a lake. A perfect move to have two of the biggest resort hotels on property accessible to the Skyliner.
This initial launch of the Disney Skyliner transportation system is only the first phase in what’s likely to be a multi-phase roll-out to other parks and hotels around Walt Disney World property. We’ll go further into Phase 2 for the Disney Skyliner later in the article…
We’ll also have a tour of each station up soon so stay tuned…
Disney Skyliner Gondola Transfers:
So now that you know all the stations, it’s important to know that some stations require a transfer from one gondola to another. Knowing this ahead of time is important because in Disney World every second of your vacation counts and knowing potential delays is crucial!
Can I Stay On the Skyliner When I Arrive at a Station?
Yes and No. When you arrive at an end-of-the-line station (Art of Animation/Pop Century or Epcot) you aren’t allowed to stay on and continue your journey, you MUST get off and exit the gondola. This is also true at the Caribbean Beach station.
Disney is not allowing guests to ride continuously without getting off. Once you arrive at one of these locations you have to exit the Skyliner. If you want to get back on and keep riding that’s no problem. You can go back where you came from, exit the Skyliner and get back in line to take another gondola.
Here is an explanation of each station and transfer rules:
Art of Animation/Pop Century:
This is the beginning or end of the line depending on your journey and if arriving here you must disembark your gondola. You can always get back on again to go back and continue your ride.
If you are going to Hollywood Studios from here, you will not be required to exit at the Caribbean Beach station, you can continue right on to Hollywood Studios. If you are going to Epcot or the Riviera Resort you will need to transfer at the Caribbean Beach station.
This is the central hub station of the Disney World Skyliner system. Like Rome, all roads lead here. Regardless of your final destination, if you are getting on the Skyliner here you will be taken directly to your destination without having to get off. This includes going to Hollywood Studios, Riviera Resort, Epcot or Art of Animation/Pop Century.
This is where things get a bit more complicated. If you board at Hollywood Studios and are going to Art of Animation/Pop Century, there is no transfer at the Caribbean Beach station and you can continue to your destination.
If however you are going to Epcot or the Riviera Resort, you must transfer gondolas at the Caribbean Beach station.
If you get on here and are going to Epcot, then there are no transfers required. If you are arriving from Caribbean Beach and going on to Epcot, you can also stay in your car without exiting.
If you are going to the Hollywood Studios, Caribbean Beach or Art of Animation/Pop Century, you will need to disembark at the Caribbean Beach station.
If you are arriving here you must disembark the gondola.
If you are going to the Caribbean Beach, Hollywood Studios or Art of Animation, you need to stay on the Gondola at the Riviera Resort station and then get off at the Caribbean Beach station to transfer gondolas.
Do I have to Get Back in Line When I Transfer?
If you have to transfer at the Caribbean Beach station, it obviously would be a lot more convenient and save time if you didn’t have to get back in line there and could just step into another Skyliner gondola.
However that’s not how the stations are set up. If you arrive at Caribbean Beach and want to take another Skyliner route somewhere else, the lines are there in the station, so you pick where you want to go and get in that line. No line cutting.
This does add some time to your trip if you go at peak park times (mid-morning and park closing), but there is no other way around it. Honestly it’s not that bad and will probably just take you another 5-10 minutes max.
What is it like When the Skyliner Slows Down and Stops?
Honestly the take off and landing are my favorite parts of a ride on the Disney World Skyliner!
The Skyliner is deceptively fast and have a fast acceleration. You definitely can feel the motion when the gondolas take off and they rock a bit. The same is true when pulling into one of the stations. The slow down from the fast speed is felt and they go from 11 mph to about 2 mph in a short time.
Can Guests Get Off at the Riviera Resort Station?
Disney’s Riviera Resort opens on December 16, 2019 so guests can not currently visit the resort. However, even now guests can board and disembark the Disney Skyliner at the Riviera station.
Due to its position, this station is actually closer to some rooms at the Caribbean Beach Resort instead of going all the way down to where the central station is. This is especially true if staying in the “Aruba” section of the resort.
The Riviera Resort station is not a transfer station however, so if you are continuing on to either Epcot or the Caribbean Beach Resort from the Riviera, you do not switch gondolas here.
If guests want to get out at the Riviera station, they need to let the cast members know at the station, and they will let you out.
Disney Skyliner Route Map:
We’ve created a map for you to follow to see the exact route of the Disney Skyliner showing all 6 stations. It doesn’t matter where you start, most every line will bring you to the Caribbean Beach station in the middle where you will decide which line to get on:
Everything looks really close on the map of the Skyliner, but those gondolas are moving some good distances at a quick pace! We’re hoping Disney releases an official Disney Skyliner map on paper, so we’ll keep you informed about that.
In the meantime Disney also just released a new digital map of the Disney Skyliner system on the My Disney Experience app, check the link so you can see it on there too.
Is the Disney Skyliner Open?
Yes, the Disney Skyliner Gondola system in Disney World is now officially open! The opening date for the Disney Skyliner was September 29, 2019! That means as of reading this, the Skyliner Gondolas is already bringing people back and forth from the resorts to the parks.
It was a bit surprising that the Disney Skyliner wasn’t open in time for Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge which opened August 29, 2019. Apparently Disney didn’t feel like there was it was going to be ready in time.
The Disney Skyliner was closed for about a week recently due to an incident caused by a technical issue in the system. However as of October 14, 2019, the Disney Skyliner is now reopened.
Cast Member Previews and Soft Openings
Before letting the general public ride the Skyliner, there were two Cast Member Previews for the:
- Hollywood Studios Cast Members (September 16 and 18th: from 4 pm – 10 pm)
- All Disney World Cast Members (September 23rd – 26th)
The first preview was only for cast members working at Hollywood Studios, meanwhile the second round was for all Walt Disney World cast members.
Skyliner Gondola Cars Outside:
There are 2 types of Skyliner gondola cabins, ones with solid colors, and the other with the Disney character wraps on them. The characters are not on all of the gondolas (thankfully), but only select ones. This is probably a combination of a few things like leaving it open for future characters to be added who don’t even exist yet, a question of saving money, and that the view is just better without the characters.
There are 7 different colors including the ones with character wraps. Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, Orange, Purple and Teal. And there are 22 different character gondolas to ride in.
Here are a few examples of the gondolas with character overlays. This one is Star Wars themed and has Chewbacca, R2-D2, C-3PO and the gang on it:
This one is Pluto:
Gamora and Star Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy:
Beauty and the Beast:
They are a lot of fun to both ride around in, and to watch from the ground where you can see all your favorite Disney characters!
You can read our article which has the breakdown of all the Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars Characters that are on the Disney Skyliner so far. We’ve counted 22, what about you?
Can I Choose to Ride in a Specific Character Gondola?
If there is a gondola with a specific character you would like to ride in, you can tell the Disney Cast Member working at the Skyliner that you are willing to wait and would like to ride (or don’t want to ride) in that gondola. If they are able to accommodate you then they will tell you to wait to the side until that gondola is available.
Inside the Disney Skyliner:
We’ve had multiple rides in the Disney Skyliner and want to show off what they look like. Here is the inside:
I have to say they are pretty spacious, and unless it’s packed to the gills, you have decent space.
This is one of the gondolas with a character wrap from the inside:
TIP: The Disney Skyliner offers some really incredible views from that height, but unfortunately it’s hard to see well if you are in one of the gondolas with the character wraps. The coating used to stick them onto the window obstructs the view a bit.
If you are more concerned with seeing outside, then ask for a gondola with no characters on it.
On the other hand, if you are afraid of heights, the character gondolas are better because it obstructs your view.
No Air Conditioning, but Air-Cooling:
One of the biggest questions on everyone’s mind has been whether or not the Disney Skyliner has air conditioning. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that it’s hot in Florida and sending up hundreds of passengers to cook under the baking sun in a metal can might not be the most pleasant experience.
Unfortunately the Disney Skyliner DOES NOT have air conditioning after all. At first this was kind of upsetting as I didn’t think Disney would risk having people melt inside the Skyliner cars. They have installed an air-flow system that we have to say keeps guests comfortable 95% of the time.
If you look at this photo you can see there are panels which are able to tilt out on both sides which should let a cross-breeze in. The reflective windows help with the blazing sun!
The biggest problem we’ve experienced with the ventilation system isn’t the temperature, but the rain. At times when it rains, the water can get in through the open panels making the inside a bit wet. Now you can close the vents, but if it’s a hot day when this happens, you cut off the ventilation and the temperature rises significantly.
Temperature Inside the Skyliner:
The temperature inside the Skyliner is obviously important to many, and even though there isn’t air-conditioning, all early reports are positive with temperatures inside not exceeding the outside temperature for the most part.
Even with the sun blazing, the reflective glass on the gondola windows, the cooling system keep it relatively cool despite everything. Most of the times we’ve rode it, even when outside was blazing hot, the inside temperatures doesn’t get too much above the high 80’s. That’s with the sun is blazing too.
This is Florida after all and it does get super hot, so how this holds up from June to August remains to be seen. We’ll continue to monitor the temperatures inside the Disney Skyliner so stay tuned.
If you want to see just what riding in the Disney Skyliner is like, take a look at our POV Disney Skyliner Gondola Tour where we visit all 5 stations:
Another big question that’s on a lot of people’s mind is been how big the Skyliner cars are and how many guests they can transport? The estimated capacity of the whole system is 4,500 guests per hour. The Disney Skyliner fleet has 300 cabins, more of half of which are on the Epcot/Riviera Resort line.
The Disney Skyliner accommodates 10 passengers per gondola and there are twin wooden benches in each car for guests to sit on, and each wooden bench fits 5 passengers. The wooden benches are actually quite comfortable.
There is NO STANDING on the Disney Skyliner according to signs for the transportation system. Guests are required to remain seated at all times.
Is it too Crowded?
For the most part Disney isn’t filling the cars to the max 10 people each times so it’s hard to say what it will be like in peak season. The Disney World Skyliner holds 10 people but obviously 5 children on a bench fit different than 5 adults, so things just might get a little cozy up there depending on the size of the group.
Of all the times I’ve been on the Skyliner, the most people that we’ve had at once is 8, and even then it feels pretty comfortable.
I would say that 10 passengers is a decent number and if Disney can get the loading/unloading down relatively quickly, things should move right along. There are big lines at times (during park opening and closing) but it’s a big enough number to move guests through at a good speed.
With the Skyliner rules being posted, Disney has made it clear they do not want people standing in the Gondolas. I think this was a pretty smart move all around, and we haven’t been in any gondolas where people were disobeying the rules.
Will guests stand if they feel too crowded? We’ll keep an eye on this to see how Disney handles it.
Are there Height Restrictions to Ride the Disney Skyliner?
There are no height restrictions to ride the Disney Skyliner, and young and old, big and small can ride.
Can Children Ride without an Adult present?
Children must be 14 years or more to ride alone on the Disney Skyliner. Children 13 and younger must have someone 14 years older or more with them to ride.
Speed and Ride Time Length:
Disney’s official estimated ride times for the Disney Skyliner are rides between 5-15 minutes, though most will be quicker than 15. There are more than 300 gondolas in the Disney Skyliner fleet and they travel at heights of up to 60ft.
The Disney Skyliner cars also move pretty fast with a cruising speed of 11mph and slow down to about 1mph when arriving at the station and people are exiting and loading.
Typical Estimated Disney Skyliner Ride Times:
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort to Disney’s Pop Century Resort or Disney’s Art of Animation Resort: less than 4 minutes
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort to Disney’s Riviera Resort: about 2-3 minutes
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach to Disney’s Hollywood Studios: about 5 minutes
- Disney’s Riviera Resort to International Gateway at Epcot: about 9 minutes
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort to International Gateway at Epcot: about 10-12 minutes
Most of these times are taken from the Caribbean Beach station since that is the main hub for the Disney Skyliner and guests will be getting on and off here.
From our experience it’s a very fast and effective way of getting around property, and the original estimates from Disney are very conservative. When there are no delays, the Skyliner moves super fast and beats all of the times listed above.
Sometimes though there are delays so make sure to leave an extra 5-10 minutes space if you are on a time crunch.
The longest ride is from Epcot to Pop Century/Art of Animation, and going 11mph at that distance the ride is still right around way less than 15 minutes with no delays. That’s really good and you’d be hard-pressed to get around this fast on the buses.
How Long do I Have to Wait in Line for the Disney Skyliner?
This is going to depend which station you are getting on at, and what time of the day it is. On all our rides we’ve found that early morning rides are the best, with hardly any wait. You can get right on.
Once it gets after 9 am till early afternoon, the crowds pick up. Usually you’re looking at about a 5-10 minute wait, with some waits as long as 20 minutes, especially if there are any delays.
In the evening at park closing things get very crowded and this is where the worst lines are and the longest waits. Epcot is the worst offender, and going on the Skyliner just after the Epcot fireworks are finished is always a bad idea. We’ve seen waits well over 30 minutes during that time.
The stations make a difference and of course the Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Caribbean Beach stations are the busiest and have the longest lines. Pop Century/Art of Animation and Riviera Resort stations are much quieter.
Does Wait Time Include Waiting in Line?
Guests will have to get off and back on to change directions to wherever they want to go at the Caribbean Beach station which slows it down a bit. So add a few min for loading and going from Epcot to Pop Century is still pretty fast!
Second, the cars keeping moving while at the station during the loading/unloading process means Disney is putting a priority on efficiency and speed.
Loading the Skyliner
It’s like an omnimover attraction (think Spaceship Earth or the PeopleMover) where it never really stops but Cast Members can pause or slow down the gondolas to give guests as much boarding time as needed.
The Skyliner slows down dramatically when inside the stations, and loading is not a problem for the most part.
Is the Disney Skyliner be Accessible to Wheelchairs and Scooters?
Wheelchairs and scooters are definitely allowed on the Disney Skyliner and fit in quite nicely. There are special gondolas fitted to accommodate wheelchairs, ECVs and other mobility devices.
Normally each Disney Skyliner gondola car can fit 10 guests, however, gondolas fitted to accommodate any wheelchairs, mobility devices or ECVs will be limited in capacity to 6 guests per cabin.
Strollers and mobility aids must fit within a 30″ x 48″ area to board the Disney Skyliner. The benches fold up making for easy access, but they still need to be small enough to get in the doors.
The level of the cars is the same as the platform which means it will be really easy for anyone in a wheelchair or whoever has a stroller to get on/off. For wheelchairs they even have special wedges to put behind the wheels to keep them immobile.
Separate Loading Area for Guests needing More Time
Another nice thing is that Disney has built a seamless second loading area for guests with mobility issues or using wheelchairs, scooters, etc. Specially marked Gondolas exit the normal loading loop onto a separate track where it’s easier to load.
The Gondola comes to a complete stop here and loading is no longer an issue. Guests need to inform a cast member upon arrival and they will be put in a special queue where they can load the gondola at their leisure.
Can I Use the Special Loading area even Without a Wheelchair/Scooter?
Absolutely. Guests who need more time to load for whatever reason have their own line and can enter these still gondola and take their time.
All of this is really good to hear and helps to minimize wait times. We’ll keep you updated as we watch this more closely.
Can I Bring a Scooter on the Disney Skyliner?
Parents absolutely can bring strollers on the Disney Skyliner. There is no need to fold it up either as long as the stroller fits in the 30″ by 48″ space when unfolded. If the stroller is larger than the designated size, strollers must be folded up to fit.
The whole process is very similar to the Monorail, and most parents can just wheel their children into the gondolas with no problem.
Can More than Mobility Device Put in a Gondola at a Time?
No. Each Skyliner Gondola car is limited to one mobility device (Strollers, ECVs, Wheelchairs, Scooters, etc.) If you have 2 or more of these in your party, you will have to spilt up and go in separate gondola cabins.
Does a Child in a Stroller Count as a Passenger?
Yes they do. The Disney Skyliner has a capacity limit of 6 when strollers are in use, and children seated in strollers are counted as passengers. That means if you are a family of 4 with 1 child in a stroller, you count as 4 passengers.
Only 1 stroller, scooter or other mobility device is allowed in a gondola at a time. That means if you have multiple strollers or scooters in your group, you will need to take separate gondolas for each device.
Do I Have to Ride with Other People in the Gondolas?
This is going to depend a bit on how busy the Skyliner is when you visit, but in general the cast members will not force other people into the gondola with you, if you have a group. Let’s say you have 6 people in your party, typically you will ride alone and not be forced to ride with 4 other people.
On the other hand if you are a single rider, it’s likely that they will put more people into the Skyliner with you. Again everything depends on the current capacity and how busy it is at the time you ride.
Disney Skyliner Times and Schedule:
When does the Disney Skyliner open everyday? The answer is early, very early. So for the most part the Skyliner operates just like any other form of Disney transportation in that it will open 45 minutes before park opening and close 1 hour after park closing every day.
A recent job posting for the WDW Skyliner mentioned that Cast Members assigned to the system could expect to work as early as 5 a.m. in the morning and “as late as 3am, 4am, or 5am.”
For the first months of operation for the Disney Skyliner in September, Hollywood Studios will be running its Extra, Extra Magic Hours event and will be opening at 6am each day. Because of this you can expect the Skyliner to start running really early each morning to bring guests to the park.
Below are the first official operating hours. We’ll continue to update this as Disney publishes their schedule:
Operational Hours October 14 – 18:
Disney has just announced the operational hours for the Disney Skyliner for the next few days of operation, October 14 through 18. Operation is divided into 3 lines, all starting at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort:
October 14 and 15:
All lines of the Disney Skyliner will run with operating hours from 8 am to 10:30 am.
The Hollywood Studios Line will remain closed October 16.
The rest of the lines will be operational from 1:00 pm to 10:30 pm
October 17 and 18:
All the lines will be operational from 1:00 pm to 10:30 pm
These are reduced hours due to the system upgrades that need to be installed this week, most likely to make sure there are no more incidents.
During the first week of operations the Hollywood Studios line of the Disney Skyliner was running even as early as 5:45 am to get guests to the park in time for Extra, Extra Magic Hours for Galaxy’s Edge.
You may have noticed though that the earliest riding time listed right now is 8 am, which is a far cry from the 5:45 am time they were running to Hollywood Studios before the accident took place. This is important to note if you plan on visiting Star Wars Land during the opening hours, as the Skyliner won’t be running the next few days. In that case you’ll need to take a bus or another form of transportation.
There is no word what the schedule will be like after the 18, but we can assume if everything goes well during the next few days of limited operation, the Skyliner will return to normal operational hours as early as the 19th.
Prior to this change the times were as follows:
Hollywood Studios Line – 5:45 am to 11 pm (from Caribbean Beach Resort to Hollywood Studios entrance)
Epcot Line – 8 am to 11 pm (from Caribbean Beach Resort to Epcot)
Pop Century/Art of Animation Line – 5:45 am to 11 pm (from Caribbean Beach Resort to Pop Century/Art of Animation station)
For Hollywood Studios, since it’s only a 4-5 minute ride, it gets you there just in time for park opening. If you are planning on being one of the absolute first people in the park though, that might be cutting it a little close because guests arriving by car and bus will beat you. It’s up to you.
Again we’ll have to see what the operating hours are like after this week is over.
Especially in slower parts of the year when the park openings are a bit later and these times will probably change so stay tuned…
Will Disney Skyliner Gondola Wait Times be on My Disney Experience?
As of now Disney hasn’t commented on whether or not wait times for the Skyliner will be on My Disney Experience, however it’s likely that it will be added soon. It’s possible to see the bus schedule times in the app, so one would think they’ll put wait times for the Skyliner eventually too.
Is the Disney Skyliner Scary?
This depends on your point of view, but Disney has not made the Disney Skyliner to be scary on purpose, it’s a transportation system designed to get people from their resort hotel to the theme parks, not as a thrill attraction.
That said if you have certain phobias, then you might want to reconsider riding the Disney Skyliner.
Each Gondola car is suspended approximately 30-50 feet above the ground at any time, with some parts reaching a maximum height of 60 feet. It’s also hard to ignore the fact you are so high seeing that the glass windows are so big inside the gondolas, everywhere you look you can see out. If you have a fear of heights this might be scary for you.
Though riding in one of the character gondolas makes this experience a little less scary as it impedes your vision outside to a certain degree.
Disney has already posted signs outside of the Disney Skyliner stations recommending guests who have a fear of heights to not ride. So it’s up to you but if you feel nervous about any of these scenarios, it’s probably best not to go.
The Gondolas are connected to a wire and suspended above the ground. That means that when there is a bit of wind, or if people are moving around inside the gondola cars, there is a small bit of a natural rocking motion taking place which might make some guests uneasy or nervous.
We don’t find that it moves very much ourselves, it’s actually less than we thought it would be but it might bother some who suffer from severe motion sickness.
Just like being in an elevator, this is a small space. It holds 10 people, but with 10 it could get pretty tight at times. So if you don’t like closed spaces then you might want to skip it.
Does the Disney Skyliner Close for Bad Weather or Lightning?
Yes, the Disney Skyliner system does absolutely close for bad weather, especially lightning. In fact Disney has posted on signs that operating hours vary depending on the weather. That means if there is a storm coming you might have to wait a while.
Obviously they are very cautious about passengers getting stuck out on the line between stations, and they have to anticipate bad weather conditions far in the distance because they can’t allow people to get stuck out there.
Disney Cast members explained to us that they are extra careful for lightning and the Disney Skyliner closes for lightning 6 miles out. Disney has their own radar system and closely monitors lightning here like it does in every other place on property.
The distance between most stations will be under 10 minutes, so that should be enough time to foresee bad weather moving in, and take the necessary precautions for guest safety.
Also, Disney is always really good about handling bad weather situations already with attractions and swimming pools. Whenever a storm is in the area they shut down rides like Test Track, Expedition Everest and evacuate the resort swimming pools. You can expect the same prudence with the Disney Skyliner.
During the testing period for the Skyliner, we saw the gondolas being tested for their reliability during bad weather conditions. They stopped when it was raining very heavily, or during lightning storms and heavy winds. So obviously Disney has been testing the effects of these weather conditions and is gathering information to decide when it’s necessary to shut down the gondolas.
Overall I wouldn’t fret about it. Again, Disney is very good about safety and keeping track of the weather conditions already with outdoor attractions and they will be on top of things.
Other Potential Delays or Problems?
What happens if you have to get off the Skyliner at a station before your destination because of bad weather? – This is the most likely worst case scenario when riding the Skyliner. This could be a problem because you could have hundreds of guests now at a location they don’t want to be in and trying to make other plans to get to their destination.
The Caribbean Beach Resort has its own dedicated Bus Stop right next to the Skyliner station where you can go to catch a bus if you are stuck there.
Taking a bus from your current location to your new one is the cheapest way to get there. If the wait is too long, your best bet is to use ride sharing (Uber, Minnie Van, etc). It will be interesting to see how Disney handles this over time. In the case the Skyliner isn’t running, will they have buses on call to pick up all the remaining guests?
When you have Dining Reservations – If taking the Disney Skyliner when you have dining or other reservations, allow for enough time in case of weather delays. We’d encourage you to look at the weather forecast and avoid it if things aren’t looking good.
What if you’re Stuck at at Station? – In the unlikely scenario you are stranded between Skyliner stations still in a gondola, Disney has emergency rescue services in place to come and get guests much like they do for the Monorail system.
They have already used these on guests, though the wait can be quite long.
Even Over Water? – Yes, even if the Disney Skyliner gets stuck over water, you will be able to get down. For example at the Art of Animation and Pop Century station guests will have to travel over Hourglass Lake. Not to worry, Disney has a rescue barge nearby and motor riders to bring guests in to safety in the case these gondolas ever need to be evacuated.
Disney is very sure that the Skyliner is going to be a success because they are investing hundreds of millions of dollars into it. They have to have already figured out all the solutions to any potential problems.
In the event of an emergency on the Disney Skyliner, there is an emergency kit under the bench in every gondola car. Of course you hope you’ll never have to use one, but inside each kit you’ll find:
- Nausea/Bathroom Bags
- Cooling packs
- a Notepad
There is also an emergency button which will get you in contact with Disney officials if you have an emergency situation while onboard.
Are there restrooms in the Skyliner? Well there aren’t in the actual Skyliner Gondolas themselves. However, if you need to use the facilities you’re in luck because four of the Skyliner stations have restrooms in them (Epcot, Riviera, Hollywood Studios and Caribbean Beach).
There are no restrooms at the Art of Animation/Pop Century station at this time, but a restroom is currently being built. For now you can use the restroom at either hotel nearby.
Another common question is whether or not there is a security check before getting on the Disney Skyliner. At this time there are no security checkpoints before getting on the gondolas.
This one is interesting because while there are security checks for guests before getting on the Monorail system going to the Magic Kingdom, when you arrive at the park you are already past the security check there so it just replaces it. Instead the Disney Skyliner drops guests off outside the edges of park security at Epcot and Hollywood Studios so 2 security checks might not be necessary in that case.
We’ll keep an eye on this and update you if this changes.
Cast Member Costumes:
Disney has revealed what the cast member costumes for the Disney Skyliner look like.
There are two colors: Blue and Orange. Read the link above for a better look at the design and hidden features of the costumes.
Disney Skyliner Future Expansion Map:
Right now during this phase of the Disney Skyliner project there are 5 stations: Epcot, Disney Riviera Resort, Caribbean Beach, Hollywood Studios and Pop Century/Art of Animation. The key word though is “this phase” because if everything goes smooth with the Skyliner, Disney has plans to expand it out to other parts of Walt Disney World Resort in phases.
Below I have a map of the current Disney Skyliner Route and the potential expansion routes for the future. Red is the current Skyliner route. Green is future:
Right now the Skyliner runs through the center of the Walt Disney World Resort. However one expansion would bring the Disney Skyliner west out to Disney’s Animal Kingdom with potential stops at Blizzard Beach, Coronado Springs Resort, Animal Kingdom Park and Animal Kingdom Resort (with a stop even 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. Supposedly the stop at Disney Springs would be on the far side close to Rainforest Cafe. That would allow guests staying at Saratoga Springs Resort and Hotel Plaza to use the Skyliner. For both of these expansions we’re probably looking at about 5 years down the line if everything goes well with the first phase.
This is a lot of information and makes it clear that Disney doesn’t view the Disney Skyliner as some little toy model, but as a realistic, viable solution to their transportation needs for the long-term. Disney hired a transportation expert who was in charge of the system in San Francisco some years back, and the Disney Skyliner they decided is a big piece of the puzzle for the future of the resort.
The Skyliner provides quick transportation from some of Disney’s biggest hotels to and from the parks, and it should also keep traffic from overcrowding the Walt Disney World highway system which is taxed right now.
Also much like San Francisco has, it gives Walt Disney World an iconic transportation system moving into the future. You know, that thing that people have to try while here on vacation, and gets them talking to others about it back home. Years ago it was the Monorail system, but now people talk about that only for negative reasons.
We still don’t know when new monorails are coming to Walt Disney World and they are a complete mess right now. Supposedly there’s also a plan eventually to bring the Disney Skyliner to the Magic Kingdom, but that’s very far off and may or may not happen depending on a lot of other factors.
Ultimately I think anyone just looking at the Disney Skyliner as this small, little toy transportation system is missing the point. It’s an attraction in of itself. It’s going to make a huge impact on the way guests move around the Walt Disney World Resort for the next decades and in light of these new details, that choice is seeming better and better.
Disney Skyliner FAQ’s
Here are some other common FAQ’s about the Disney World Skyliner System:
This is Disney World’s newest transportation which is similar to high speed gondolas popular in Europe. It will take guests from select resorts to the theme parks. They are similar to the old Skyway Buckets in the Magic Kingdom only bigger and faster.
Yes, at this time the Disney Skyliner transportation system is now open. It opened on September 29, 2019.
Unfortunately the Disney Skyliner do NOT have air-conditioning in its gondola cabins. There is an air ventilation cooling system though that from our experience inside keeps guests cool.
From the announcement at the D23 Expo it was just over 2 years to build the Skyliner when it opened in September 2019.
That’s a more complex question as going from one station to the other is different depending on where you want to go. On average gondola rides are between 5-15 minutes, but please refer to our Ride Length guide above for more details.
There is no charge for riding the Disney Skyliner Gondola system, just like other forms of Disney World transportation. All guests are allowed to ride whether staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel or not.
No, there aren’t any restrooms on the Disney Skyliner itself, however there are restrooms in some of the Skyliner stations, so you can go right before or after riding. it’s also helpful that the ride times are very short so this shouldn’t be an issue.
While there is Wi-Fi available in many locations throughout Walt Disney World, there is no Wi-Fi onboard the Disney Skyliner. You might be able to pick up a signal at certain points of the ride, but there will be outages in usage.
While we haven’t see any official rules on this yet, we have seen guests with coffee riding the Skyliner, and have brought snacks on it ourselves without cast members saying anything to us.
There is a Joffrey’s Coffee stand right outside the main Skyliner station so I don’t think this its a problem. This may change though as Disney tightens up their policy so we’ll keep an eye out on this.
Disney has just revealed all the Disney Skyliner-specific merchandise that’s available in the parks and hotels. Shirts, hoodies, toys, MagicBands and more are all available, along with some special Annual Passholder Merchandise too.
Read our Disney Skyliner Merchandise post for more information.
Stay tuned at ZiggyKnowsDisney.com for more info on the Disney Skyliner as we’ll keep updating you as soon as we know more! The latest news is about the Disney Skyliner reopening after being temporarily closed due to the first incident, where guests had to be evacuated from the gondolas.
In the meantime you can check out our updates on some of the other construction projects going on in Walt Disney World and track their progress!
Need help planning your Disney Vacation? Contact René from Show You the World Travel for all your trip planning needs. All of the agents there are certified Disney Travel Agents and are super helpful with all your planning needs. I highly recommend them and the best part about it is they are FREE to use!
I want to know what you think about the new Disney Skyliner Gondola system…
- Did you like riding the Disney Skyliner?
- What other locations around Walt Disney World do you want it to go?
Let us know in the comments section below!
If you enjoyed this article, as always I appreciate it if you’d share it with others via social media. I work hard at making this website into a useful resource for you and your family to plan your visit to the Disney Parks and I hope it can help you! Thanks 🙂