Once you’ve learned how to book a split stay at Disney World, you need to figure out how to get around on your dream vacation. There are various modes of transportation for getting around the 26,000 acres of Disney World, such as monorail, car, buses, boats, and now, a Skyliner. This newest mode of transportation opened in 2019 and has been a fan favorite ever since.
Not only is the Skyliner a fast and efficient mode of transportation, it’s expansive — it has five stations and three separate cable lines that connect several Disney resorts with the BoardWalk entertainment area and two theme parks.
What Is the Disney Skyliner?
The simplest way to explain the Disney Skyliner is to say it’s a large suspended cable car that carries visitors above Disney World and transports them to various destinations. Similar to a gondola lift that you’d see in a ski resort, Disney Skyliners are usually wrapped in Disney-themed decorations, making them a fun way to soar around Disney World.
Where Does the Skyliner Go?
The Skyliner links several different points of Disney World. You can go directly to Hollywood Studios, the Caribbean Beach Resort, EPCOT, Disney’s Riviera Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, and Pop Century Resort — and be within short walking distance of several other resorts.
The main Skyliner station is at Caribbean Beach Resort. From there, you can go anywhere by taking any one of the three Skyline cables.
The Pop Century and Disney’s Art of Animation line is a direct course from Caribbean Beach Resort. It’s just a short four-minute ride one way that deposits you at the hourglass-shaped lake between Pop Century and Art of Animation.
The Hollywood Studio line is the second line, which directly transports you from Caribbean Beach to Hollywood Studios and vice-versa. It’s a five-minute ride, but you’re mostly soaring over parking lots, so you don’t get to experience the prettiest view available.
EPCOT is the third line, which will take you from the Caribbean Beach station, over the Caribbean Beach Resort, then makes a quick stop at Disney’s Riviera Resort. From there, the Skyliner continues and drops guests off at the EPCOT’s International Gateway. The EPCOT station is also within a short walk of the BoardWalk, Yacht Club, and Beach Club resorts — and within a “long walk” of the Swan, Dolphin, and Swan Reserve resorts.
How Does the Skyliner Operate?
The main cables of the Skyliner are looped between two bull wheels that are always moving. The cars utilize spring-loaded grips, which can be detached from the cable. For passengers with disabilities or guests needing extra time to board, there’s a separate load and unload area. The cabins stop there for a fixed amount of time before joining the other cabins at the merge point. The Disney Skyliner is the only gondola lift system that has double loading–in the load and unload area, the cabin comes off the cable.
Riding the Disney Skyliner
To ride the Skyliner, you don’t need to stay at a Disney Resort or even to have purchased a Disney World vacation package. It’s free to ride. The easiest way to ride on the Skyliner is to board at Epcot or Hollywood Studios.
Boarding the Skyliner
Guests get on the gondola while it’s moving extremely slowly at the loading and unloading zone. Guests with disabilities and guests using strollers or wheelchairs are taken to a separate loading area where the gondola cars are at a complete standstill.
Will You Get Motion Sick?
If you’re not afraid of heights, then riding the Skyliner is an incredible experience. Most people don’t get motion sick from riding the Skyliner – there is a little swaying, but the whole ride is very smooth. If you’re prone to motion sickness, you might find it best to sit on a seat that faces forward.
The cars of the Skyliner are wrapped in the artwork of iconic Disney characters and attractions; each of them follows a theme. Every car can hold up to ten guests, but if there’s a wheelchair or stroller, the car can hold up to six guests. The guests sit on twin wooden benches that face inward.
The Skyliner gondolas use passive ventilation systems that allow the breeze to move through and cool down the cabin. As long as the gondola is moving, the cabin stays cool and comfortable. The cabin does get a bit warm if the gondola temporarily stops, but if you’re concerned, you can plan by packing a folding fan.
And if you’re concerned about getting stuck midair for hours during a breakdown, you needn’t worry; each car contains an emergency kit with water and other necessities, and there’s an extensive “rescue” plan involving specialty cranes, boats for the over-water portions of the route, and the local fire department.
Disney’s Skyliner is a fantastic addition to Disney’s long line of magical transports. It’s an incredible engineering feat and a fun way to soar through Disney World and get from place to place in a snap!