Skip the bus ride and fly around Disney World on new Skyliner gondolas

Sep 30, 2019

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Lots of rides at Disney World mimic the feeling of flight. But, the brand-new Disney Skyliner gondolas are the real deal. One of the most anticipated additions to Walt Disney World in 2019 was absolutely the Skyliner gondolas that began carrying guests high above Disney World over the weekend for the very first time. These gondolas connect four Disney resort hotels with two of the theme parks: Hollywood Studios and Epcot. Serving as an alternative free transportation option to the buses, flying in a gondola is actually pretty cool even if you have nowhere in particular to go — much like riding Disney’s monorail or boats between resorts or parks.

Based on social media reports, the first full day of operation of the Disney Skyliners, Monday, seems to have gone pretty well overall. There were some boarding lines, but most moved quickly even if they looked long.

There were also a few reported pauses in service where riders were suspended in place in the air for a few extra minutes but nothing major. While the gondolas are not air-conditioned, the vents seemed to keep things cool enough.

Related: Ultimate guide to visiting Disney World

Here are three things to know about the new Disney Skyliners before your next trip:

Skyliners stop at four resorts

If you are staying at Disney’s Art of Animation, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort or the yet-to-open Disney’s Riviera Resort (opening in December), then the new Skyliners can serve as a legitimate transportation option for you when heading to Epcot or Hollywood Studios. Of course, the Epcot station is also easily reachable from a number of other resorts, including the Disney Swan and Dolphin and Disney’s Boardwalk. This means lots of folks could use the Skyliners not just to head to the park and back, but even to head to a meal or activity at another resort on the line.

Related: Best restaurants at Disney World

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

You may have to transfer lines

The Skyliners are not all one big connected loop. The main hub where the lines connect is at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. From there, you can head south on a Skyliner to the Disney’s Art of Animation / Pop Century station at Hourglass Lake. You can head north to the Riviera Resort and on to Epcot. Or, you can head west to Hollywood Studios.

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
Skyliner station at Hollywood Studios (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

You don’t need a ticket to ride

While I don’t recommend you do this for a “once in a lifetime trip,” it is very possible to have fun at Disney World without spending lots of money on tickets to go into the parks. Or, at a minimum, you can have a bunch of fun without going into the parks every single day. Since I’m walking away (for now) from my Disney World annual pass, I’m actively planning a non-park day for our December visit and riding the Skyliners for fun is 100% on my list of planned activities with my 4-year old.

(Photo courtesy of Disney Parks / Kent Phillips, Photographer) 
(Photo courtesy of Kent Phillips/Disney Parks)

Bottom line

More (free) ways to get around Disney World is a good thing. The Minnie Vans are great, but can be pricey. While it’ll be a couple more months until I have a firsthand experience to share, the Skyliners look like a really fun way to get from a few Disney resorts to the parks and back again, or just to take a nice ride and enjoy the unique aerial views.

Featured image by David Roark

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