Last weekend, my friend Sara and I had the absolute pleasure of riding on Disney Skyliner!
This new transportation system opened originally at Walt Disney World Resort on September 29, 2019. The system operated for about a week before it closed temporarily for a system update. Disney Skyliner re-opened on October 14, 2019 with a modified schedule. I was so happy to hear that Disney Skyliner would be up and running during our girls' weekend getaway to Walt Disney World!
Our very first ride took place on Friday, October 18, 2019, when we departed the station at International Gateway at Epcot and rode over to Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort. There weren't very many people in line to ride, and we boarded the gondola with just two other guests for the ride.
The gondola took us up fairly quickly, but it wasn't scary or sudden. Being up above Epcot was exhilarating! After so many months of anticipation, the day was finally here, and the experience, for me, more than lived up to my expectations. Once we were up in the air and en route, it was so quiet, so still and calm, and a wonderful break from the excitement and bustle of the theme parks. There was a lovely breeze through the gondola, and we were very comfortable and felt very safe. A friendly voice came over the intercom to point out landmarks and the station ahead. It's very easy for guests to navigate the system...all it takes is listening to the instructions once you're alight.
On Monday, we rode the other two lines of the Disney Skyliner system, heading from Disney's Hollywood Studios back down to the station at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, where we transferred to the line that would take us to Disney's Art of Animation Resort and Disney's Pop Century Resort.
Real Ride Times on Disney Skyliner
I kept track of our ride times on Disney Skyliner. Here's what we discovered.
Ride Time Summary
Can you see what a difference this will make for guests who are accustomed to waiting a lot longer to ride to these theme parks by bus?
Traveling from Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort to Epcot
6:38 pm--Departed Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
6:41 pm--Arrived at Disney's Riviera Resort station. Did not disembark.
6:42 pm--Departed Disney's Riviera Resort.
6:47 pm--Reached Disney Skyliner turn station. This is not a station where guests depart, but a station where the gondolas change direction toward Epcot.
6:50 pm--Arrived at Epcot's International Gateway.
Traveling from Disney's Hollywood Studios to Disney's Pop Century Resort & Disney's Art of Animation Resort
10:33 am--Departed Disney's Hollywood Studios.
10:38 am--Pulled into Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort station. Disembarked and walked over to the other line servicing Disney's Pop Century Resort and Disney's Art of Animation Resort.
10:39 am--Boarded gondola and departed Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort.
10:42 am--Arrived at Disney's Pop Century Resort & Disney's Art of Animation Resort.
Traveling from Disney's Pop Century Resort & Disney's Art of Animation Resort to Epcot's International Gateway
10:45 am--Departed Disney's Pop Century Resort & Disney's Art of Animation Resort
10:48 am--Pulled into Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort. Disembarked and walked to the other line servicing Disney's Riviera Resort.
10:52 am--Boarded gondola at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, headed toward Disney's Riviera Resort.
10:54 am--Arrived at Disney's Riviera Resort. Did not disembark.
10:56 am--Departed Disney's Riviera Resort.
10:59 am--Arrived at Disney Skyliner turn station.
11:03 am--Arrived at Epcot's International Gateway.
A few other notes about riding Disney Skyliner:
There is an internal bus station at the Skyliner station at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort. This means you may disembark from the gondola, then wait for an internal bus to take you over to your section of the resort or to Old Port Royale. However, we found it was not too far to simply walk, and was faster than waiting for the bus. Some guests will definitely prefer to wait for the bus, which would be very handy if need be.
There is a Joffrey's coffee station at the Skyliner station at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort.
The gondolas do not stop for you to board them, but move very slowly.
A Disney Cast Member will ask you how many guests are in your party, and direct you to a specific gondola to ride. They seem to spread folks out among the gondolas rather than put 8 or 10 people in one gondola. Most of the time it was just my friend and I in the gondola, or perhaps one or two other guests were with us.
It is easier to see out of the gondola windows if there is not a character wrap on the glass.
The temperature inside the gondola was lovely, with a breeze coming in. The temperature was above 85 F on the days we rode, and it still felt cool inside.
The station at Epcot's International Gateway is outside the gates of the park, so the Disney Skyliner can be used by folks who aren't using a park ticket that day. For example, you may be staying at Disney's Pop Century Resort, but having a meal on Disney's Boardwalk. The Skyliner would be the ideal form of transportation. Just hop off the gondola and walk the path over to your restaurant on Disney's Boardwalk.
Have you been a passenger on board Disney Skyliner yet? What did you think?
I know, you love Disney's Magical Express. You love receiving those special, yellow luggage tags. You anticipate receiving that Mickey mail containing your confirmation, and when you get off the plane at Orlando International Airport, you love how it feels to skip the baggage carousel and head right over to the ground level of Terminal B to join that magical bus line.
Going forward, there's another magical option for your family to get from Orlando International Airport to your Walt Disney World Resort hotel.
A Minnie Van!
You can now confirm your family's reservation to hop inside a Minnie Van to ride directly from Orlando International Airport to your Walt Disney World Resort hotel.
I have experienced several rides in a Minnie Van, and what I love about this service is that, unlike Uber and Lyft, Minnie Vans are driven by Walt Disney World Cast Members. This means you'll receive the same high standard of service as a Minnie Van passenger that you're accustomed to throughout Disney property. Don't forget to ask your driver for a transportation collector card before you get out of the vehicle. And don't forget to take your phone with you...after all, you'll have a chance to charge it during your ride.
A few fine points:
This option will be added to the "Request a Quote" page, above.
What do you think? Would you love to take a Minnie Van from the airport to your resort on your next Walt Disney World vacation, or will you stick to using Disney's Magical Express?
Some of you may know that Disney Skyliner, which opened to resort guests at the tail end of September, has been closed due to operational difficulties and an incident which occurred on October 5, 2019.
Today, Disney Skyliner reopens to guests at Walt Disney World Resort!
The entire system has been reviewed with the manufacturer, and in true Disney fashion, many of the training, communication and processes have been adjusted. If there is a silver lining to the malfunction that took place earlier this month, it is the fact that Disney has learned from it, and continues to improve the system for guest safety and enjoyment.
Disney Skyliner is open today from 8 am until 10:30 pm.
Later this week, there will be modified hours of operation to accommodate additional system updates:
It's important for guests to understand that, from time to time, the Disney Skyliner system may slow down or come to a stop, especially while cast members are assisting guests who need some extra time and help to board the gondolas.
Disney Skyliner can help you get from Epcot or Disney's Hollywood Studios to four different resorts:
I'm really looking forward to taking Disney Skyliner for a spin this coming weekend!
Amy is a former Disney Cruise Line cast member, Certified Cruise Counsellor and Vacation Specialist at Pure Magic Vacations.
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