The Complete Guide to the Disney Skyliner Route

disney-skyliner

The Complete Guide to the Disney Skyliner Route

In this post we are going to break down the Walt Disney World Skyliner Gondolas, and how the newest transportation system has changed Disney forever. Guests can now easily hop from EPCOT to Hollywood Studios, and also ride from a select group of Walt Disney World hotels connected to the new skyliner.

This is sure to change how guests pick their Walt Disney World hotel, espcially as we continue to see the popularity of the EPCOT festivals and also Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge continue to rise. In this post we have included the Disney Skyliner opening times, skyliner operating hours, Disney skyliner map, and so much more.

We hope you find this post helpful, and if you are planning a trip to Disney be sure to check out our other FREE vacation planning tools. Our goal at The Park Prodigy has always been to help you save time on your next vacation and find the cheapest Walt Disney World tickets! So if you’re ready for the new details on the new

So if you’re ready to learn about the new Disney skyliner sit back, relax and enjoy the most magical flight on Earth!

March 2021 update: Complimentary Disney transportation, including the Walt Disney World Skyline, has been modified and is operating in limited capacity. It is also subject to limited availability or closure based on re-opening guidelines from government officials to promote social distancing.

At this time the Disney Skyline is open, but limits boarding to one party per gondola. Operating at limited capacity may increase wait times.

What Are The Walt Disney World Skyliner Gondolas?

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The newest Disney skyway transportation system has been up and running for just over a year. The first flight (that’s what Disney likes to call each ride) of the Disney World gondola system took off in September 2019 and has been transporting guests from four different resorts and two parks ever since. This addition to Disney’s already fantastic transportation system is not only a way to get from here-to-there, but much like the monorail, has become a must-do experience for guests when they are enjoying their Walt Disney World vacation.

So, as the omniscient friendly voice likes to tell all of the guests riding the Disney skyway gondola, sit back and relax as we share some of our favorite Disney Skyliner information to help you make it a fun part of your next vacation.

Disney Skyliner Cable Cars

The Disney World gondola system has almost 300 gondolas that take guests from destination to destination. You’ll see the brightly colored gondolas floating through the air high overhead on steel cables as they transport guests to and from parks and resorts.

To make them even more fun, about half of the WDW gondolas are decorated with Disney character wraps showing Marvel characters, Star Wars characters, ride characters and of course, Disney and Pixar characters enjoying the ride. What could be more inviting than seeing your favorite characters inviting you to fly along with them?

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How Big Are The Disney World Gondolas?

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Each WDW gondola is large enough to seat up to 10 people. The exception to this is the gondolas set aside that are made specifically for wheelchair and ECV access. Those can seat about 6 people at a time as well as the wheelchair or ECV. Walt Disney gondolas have two benches inside the gondola. The two benches face each other, so you’ll be able to choose a forward-facing bench or a backward-facing bench. If you rented a stroller in Disney, you’ll be able to simply push the stroller right on into the gondola, and keep your child in the stroller. Not having to break down a stroller and disturb your sleeping little one is a definite benefit of riding the Skyliner at Disney World.

During this time of social distancing, only one party will be seated in a gondola at a time (even if there is just one of you). Before there were social distancing guidelines, if you had a smaller party, it was likely you would be paired up with another group to keep Disney World gondolas running quickly and lessening wait times.

What Time Do the Gondolas Start at Disney World?

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So what are the Disney skyliner hours? Walt Disney World skyliner gondolas fire up each morning Disney parks are open.

While skyliner operating hours will fluctuate with park hours, they generally begin their flights about an hour before Disney’s Hollywood Studios opens and a half hour before EPCOT opens. Each Disney skyliner route will generally continue to run for an hour and a half after the respective park closes. One thing to keep an eye on is that infamous Orlando weather. Inclement weather, like strong winds or lightning strikes, may cause the Disney skyliner System to temporarily close down until the all-clear is given.

Disney Skyliner Operating hours: 

  • Open: One hour before Hollywood Studios & half hour before EPCOT
  • Close: Hour and a half after Hollywood Studios & EPCOT close

Related Article: Complete List of all EPCOT Festivals

What is the Disney Skyliner Route?

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You will be surprised just how big the Disney World skyliner route is. As a guest, you have four places you can hop onto a Disney Gondola Skyliner  and begin your journey. Where you begin your flight will be up to you.

The Disney skyliner stops are:

  • Caribbean Beach Resort Skyliner Station
  • Riviera Resort Skyliner Station
  • Pop Century / Art of Animation Resort Skyliner Station
  • Epcot World Showcase Skyliner Station
  • Hollywood Studios Skyliner Station

We will cover these in greater detail shortly!

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Who Can Ride the Disney Skyliner?

Each Disney Skyliner station is open to anyone who wants to ride that particular flight. You do not need to be staying at the resort the station is located or even visiting the park. Let’s look at each station to help you determine where you want to begin your skyliner flight.

Disney Skyliner Stations

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Caribbean Beach Resort Skyliner Station

The Caribbean Beach Resort skyliner station is considered to be the “hub” of all of the Disney gondola stations because from here, you can get anywhere the Skyliner gondolas travel.

Set in the heart of the Caribbean Beach Resort, guests staying at this resort can use the internal bus transportation system to ride over to the skyliner at Caribbean beach.

The Caribbean Beach skyliner is the largest station since it travels to so many places and is designed to fit right in with the rest of the theming at Caribbean Beach Resort with its beautiful open air and wrought iron design.

Related Article: Complete Guide to the Best Walt Disney World Pools 

Disney Rivera Resort Skyliner

This Disney Riviera Skyliner station is a great stop for this resort or for any of its fabulous restaurants. It is also a good place to hop on or off if your Caribbean Beach Resort room is closer to this station than the Caribbean Beach Resort hub. It’s often more quiet and easier to use.

If you do start your flight here and plan to travel to the Epcot Skyliner or Pop Century/Art of Animation, just know that you will have get out of your gondola at the Caribbean Beach Resort Hub and then get back on a new gondola for the destination you are heading to. This particular station is also the only terminal where you don’t have to get off and can ride “through” the station if you are traveling to Hollywood Studios.

Pop Century / Art of Animation Resort Skyliner Station

The addition of the Disney skyliner makes the Pop Century resort our favorite value resort when comparing hotels at Walt Disney World. This gondola station’s claim to fame is that it’s the only floating gondola station. When you ride your gondola flight to or from Pop Century / Art of Animation, you’ll get a low-gliding beautiful ride right over Hourglass Lake.

Add in a sunset and you’ll enjoy one of the prettiest views at Disney World. If you are using this station as your launching point for flights to any other location, you will travel to the Caribbean Beach Resort Gondola Station first, debark and then get in line for whichever place you want to travel to, if Caribbean Beach Resort isn’t your destination.

Epcot Skyliner Station

Designed with hand-painted murals, this skyliner station is made to transport right into the European countries near the World Showcase entrance. The Epcot skyliner station is one end point of the Disney Skyliner system so once you arrive here, you’ll need to step off and travel on your way or wait in line to get back onboard to go back from where you came from.

Because of where this skyliner station is located, you can also easily use this station to then take a quick stroll to the Boardwalk area to visit the resorts, entertainment venues and restaurants in that area. We like riding this particular route of the Disney skyliner right now because it is a great way to get a birds-eye view of the construction happening in the France pavilion as they work on the Ratatouille ride.

Hollywood Studios Skyliner Station

Another end point on the skyliner ride system, the Hollywood Studios Skyliner station lands you right at the entrance of Hollywood Studios. And like all of the skyliner stations, it is designed to blend right in with the theming of its home, beautifully decorated in those gorgeous turquoise and red art deco tones that are quintessential Hollywood Studios.

While most people will use this station for their trip to Hollywood Studios, you can also walk off the Hollywood Studios gondola and walk right onto the pathway to Boardwalk destinations, including the Swan and Dolphin, Boardwalk and Beach Club Resorts.

Related Articles: How to Grab a Rise of the Resistance Boarding Pass 

Disney Skyliner Travel Times

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Riding any of the Skyliner Flights is also a fast way to get from destination to destination. Here are the approximate Disney Skyliner travel times for each flight from the Caribbean Beach Resort Hub:

Disney Skyliner Ride Times

  • To Hollywood Studios: about 5 minutes
  • To International Gateway at Epcot: about 12 minutes
  • To Pop Century/Art of Animation: about 3-5 minutes
  • To Riviera Resort: about 3 minutes

Disney Gondola Wait Times

Of course, you’ll have to wait in line to board your gondola but we have found that except for very busy times (like opening and closings of parks), the continual boarding system (the gondolas move slowly through the terminal and you walk on much like a ride at Haunted Mansion or Spaceship Earth), creates a quickly moving line that produces small wait times.

Is the Disney Skyliner Transportation System Air Conditioned?

The short answer is no. But to help keep guests comfortable, each Walt Disney World Skyliner gondola has reflective panels to avoid direct sunlight and cross-ventilation windows that allow for air flow. Even on the warmest days at Walt Disney World, the gondolas stay nice and cool so long as they are moving. And on those cool nights, the vents can be closed so guests will not get too chilly.

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Are The Walt Disney World Skyliner Gondolas Safe?

In case of emergency, each Disney skyliner gondola is equipped with an emergency contact call button as well as an emergency kit. While the Disney skyliner did have one notorious flight shortly after it began where guests were stuck in gondolas for hours, it has not had anything similar happen since that incident.

It appears the Disney skyliner system has worked out its kinks. But if you happen to get stuck in a stationary gondola for a longer time frame, you are welcome to open the emergency kit and use what you need in order to help you a through the emergency.

The emergency kit can be found under the bench inside the gondola. The Disney skyliner Emergency Kit includes things like:

  • Instant ice
  • Emergency drinking water
  • Glow sticks
  • Notepad
  • Pencil
  • Sickness bags

Disney Skyliner Travel Times

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Riding any of the Skyliner Flights is also a fast way to get from destination to destination. Here are the approximate Disney Skyliner travel times for each flight from the Caribbean Beach Resort Hub:

Disney Skyliner Ride Times

  • To Hollywood Studios: about 5 minutes
  • To International Gateway at Epcot: about 12 minutes
  • To Pop Century/Art of Animation: about 3-5 minutes
  • To Riviera Resort: about 3 minutes

Disney Gondola Wait Times

Of course, you’ll have to wait in line to board your gondola but we have found that except for very busy times (like opening and closings of parks), the continual boarding system (the gondolas move slowly through the terminal and you walk on much like a ride at Haunted Mansion or Spaceship Earth), creates a quickly moving line that produces small wait times.

How Much Does the Disney Skyliner Cost to Ride?

One of the best parts about the Disney skyliner is it is 100% free to ride. Just like the Disney World monorail and bus services you do not need a ticket or have to pay to ride.

This is one of the reasons why we love it so much! It’s the perfect way to not only get from park to park but also visit the different Disney hotels. We have specifically fallen in love with the restaurants at Disney’s Riviera Resort. There is no better way to end a great dinner than to watch the sunset on the Walt Disney World gondola.

Is the Disney Skyliner Wheelchair Accessible?

Yes, absolutely! Every Disney World Skyliner station has a specific wheelchair accessible queue to board as well as specific Skyliner gondolas. This Gondola which is made specifically for wheelchairs and other electric vehicles loads to the side so that the other Disney skyliner cabins do not have to stop and guests can take their time loading. Once everyone is inside the cabin the skyliner will merged seamlessly into the rest of the moving gondolas. We find it very cool how easy it really is!

Walt Disney World Skyliner Gondolas Tips & Tricks

We highly suggest that no matter where you’re staying during your Disney vacation, see if you can squeeze in at least one flight on the newest Disney mode of transportation. Here are a few quick tips for those of you planning to make this a part of your next Disney vacation.

  • Not staying in one of the Disney Resorts that the Skyliner flies to? Use the skyliner to park hop from Epcot to Hollywood Studios or make a dining reservation at one of the many resorts that has a Skyliner terminal for after your park day at either Hollywood Studios or Epcot.
  • Before you hop aboard, take a quick bathroom break. Like any transportation vehicle or ride, we fully expect our travel will be on time, but just in case you get stuck or the line is long, it’s better to be comfortable while you wait. This is especially true if you have little ones.
  • To get the best view from your gondola, ask if you can have a non-character wrapped gondola. The cute character wraps are fun to see floating along, but they create an obscured view as you travel in them.
  • If you are prone to motion sickness, sit on a bench that is forward facing near the sides of the vehicle so you can look out as you travel. The gondola ride is generally smooth, so it doesn’t upset most people sensitive to motion sickness.
  • For beautiful views all around, ride the gondolas around sunset time. You’ll see parts of Disney in a completely new way.
  • About the only time we don’t recommend riding a Skyliner is during “rope drop,” when parks open. Even with reduced park capacity, early morning rides on the Disney Skyliner can have long waits and may cause you to miss rope drop.

Disney Skyliner FAQ

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Q: Are the gondolas open at Disney World?

A: Yes, the Walt Disney World skyliner gondolas are open at Walt Disney World, however their hours of operation may vary.

Q: Does the Skyliner go to Disney Springs?

A: Unfortunately not,  the Walt Disney World skyliner gondolas only travel to the destinations outlined above.

Q: What resorts does the Disney skyliner connect?

A: The Disney skyliner connects the Caribbean Beach Resort, Riviera Resort, and the Pop Century & Art of Animation Resort.

Q: Is there a Disney skyliner to Magic Kingdom?

A: Unfortunately not,  the Walt Disney World skyliner gondolas do not travel to Magic Kingdom park.

When is The Best Time to Visit Disney World?

Our Disney Crowd Calendar is the best tool to help you get the most out of your time in the parks. We break down park crowds, park hours of operation, ticket prices, and average temperature. We also break down the best time to visit Disney World based on specific times of the year and special events.

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Are You Ready to Plan Your Next Disney World Trip?

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The Park Prodigy can also help you save up to $20 per ticket when purchasing your Walt Disney World Tickets, and we offer promotional discounts for special events such as Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Tickets and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Tickets.

If you’re brand new to Disney vacation planning we recommend our Walt Disney World Planning Page! Learn more about Disney hotels by reading our Walt Disney World Hotels Review page.

Last but not least if you’re also planning a trip to Universal Studios, be sure to check out the best time to visit Universal Studios and our Universal Orlando Tickets! All Park Prodigy Universal Orlando tickets come with Universal Studios Early Park Admission.

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Michael Belmont

Michael Belmont is the owner and chief editor at Theparkprodigy.com, an authorized Disney and Universal travel agent. He specializes in Disney and Universal theme park tickets and vacation packages, as well as daily park plans to help optimize vacation time. Michael and The Park Prodigy have been featured on ABC’s Florida affiliate, WTFV, as well as over 10 Disney focused blogs. As owner, Michael manages The Park Prodigy blog and social media, a Disney themed podcast, and a Disney and Universal focused YouTube channel. Prior to starting The Park Prodigy, Michael was a long time Disney and Universal enthusiast, frequent visitor of the parks, and even served as a Walt Disney World Cast Member in Orlando, Florida!