First Flight! Photos from Our First Ride on Disney World’s New Skyliner System!

Disney’s new Skyliner gondola system opens this Friday, September 29, and we were able to catch a ride on the new, colorful transportation option thanks to an AllEars.net friend. We’ve got photos, details, and thoughts — read on!

Views from Disney Skyliner

The Disney Skyliner connects Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios to the Caribbean Beach, Riviera, Pop Century, and Art of Animation resorts.

We rode the entire line, checked out the differences between character and non-character gondolas, snapped pics of the views, and even monitored our comfort in the gondola.

Skyliner Views

Disney Skyliner Gondola System Basics

As Disney has stated, the gondolas do not stop; they are moving continuously (think Spaceship Earth, Haunted Mansion, etc.). But don’t worry: even though they are moving, they are moving slowly as you board. We were able to comfortably enter the gondola at a normal pace; we didn’t feel rushed at all.

All aboard!

The gondolas are designed for 10 people with two inward-facing wooden benches. The wood benches are comfortable enough but more functional than luxurious. If a stroller or ECV is in the gondola, the maximum number of people reduces to six.

Benches will do the trick!

As we were entering we were reminded there’s no standing or rocking of the gondolas.

Safety information

If needed, an emergency call button is located in each gondola as well.

Emergency Call Box

Flight times vary, of course, but in our experience they ranged from 2-3 minutes to 10 minutes. The longest is the Riviera to Epcot line at 9-10 minutes. Hollywood Studios to Caribbean Beach (the Skyliner’s hub and where all three lines converge and transfers happen) is about five minutes. Same for Caribbean Beach to Art of Animation and Pop Century. Caribbean Beach to neighboring Riviera Resort is only about 2-3 minutes.

View of the Skyliner Turn Station

We expect transfers could take some time on busy days, but because the line is continuously loading, we didn’t experience any waits on our inaugural trip.

Now with that business out of the way, it’s time to fly!

Disney Skyliner Gondola System in Flight

With the vents open in flight, the temperature in the gondola is comfortable; it’s warm air, but it’s moving and breezy.

Cross-Ventilation

The only time we did get uncomfortable was when the line stopped temporarily. Since we were not moving, the airflow also stopped. We definitely don’t want to sit in a stationary gondola too frequently or for more than a few minutes.

Cross-Ventilation

We loved the views from the gondola — when we were in a non-character gondola.

Views from a standard, non-character gondola

The character decals on the character gondolas obscure the view (and did not appear to lower the temperature). Maybe we will shelve our dreams of riding in every character gondola in favor of the plain gondolas so we can enjoy the ride a little more.

Slightly obscured Skyliner views

The ride into the Riviera Resort station offers a great view of the new resort. It really lets you see the scale of the resort, get a long-range peek at Topolino’s (the rooftop restaurant), and get a feel for the overall layout of the Resort.

As you sail into Riviera, you can watch Caribbean Beach Resort pass by below you, too.

Arriving at Riviera Resort

Riding over Hourglass Lake gives a unique viewpoint of both Pop Century and Art of Animation resorts. The station here serves both resorts.

View over Hourglass Lake

When you ride to Hollywood Studios you sail over the parking lot for the park and get an eye-level look at the Tower of Terror. How’s that for one-of-a-kind?

Parking lot views… not as fun as Tower of Terror views

On the ground, the station blends perfectly with the style of the park.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Skyliner Station

Our favorite view was the view of Epcot. Seeing the whole park in front of you is a lot like riding Soarin’… but in real life.

Soaring in on the Epcot line!

You also get to take a peek at the construction for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in the France pavilion from your gondola and from the International Gateway station!

Epcot Skyliner Station

While riding, we also got an answer to the question we have received most frequently: ECVs will enter gondolas that are separate from the main line. There’s a separate queue and stationary cabins for loading. Once everyone has loaded into the stationary cabin, the gondola will will be added to the line seamlessly.

Wheelchair queue for the Art of Animation and Pop Century line

Disney Skyliner Gondola System Overall

Overall we had a lot of fun riding the Skyliner. The views are one-of-a-kind and a lot of firsts for us. We were comfortable most of the time in the gondola. We never felt unsafe. We did get a little warm when it stopped for a period of time, so perhaps we won’t ride this on a muggy day in July.

View from the Epcot line

The gondola does move a bit coming into and leaving the stations as well as on the line. If you are nervous, have a fear of heights (the highest point on the line is 60′, according to Disney), or are prone to motion sickness, you might want to skip this transportation option.

Gondolas in the Hollywood Studios station

We will be riding the Skyliner again on opening day, so stay tuned for more posts, news, opinions, and updates then!

What do you think after seeing our photos? Will you be riding the Skyliner? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Sarah has built a career in communications and marketing that started when she was the editor of her high school newspaper. She has written for AllEars.net since 2018, and enjoys sharing Disney news and updates with the AllEars community. She's been a Disney fan ever since her first visit to Walt Disney World when she was 5, and has been known to arrange trips around visiting a Disney park!

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