Five Ways the Skyliner Is Improving Disney World’s Transportation

With the Disney Skyliner now officially open, it’s not a stretch to say that transportation at Walt Disney World will never be the same. The gondola system – which connects Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and several Walt Disney World Resorts – will alter how we get around the Vacation Kingdom in a litany of ways, and these are five of the biggest.

Views from a standard, non-character gondola

Increases the “Value” of Two Value Resorts

While both Disney’s Pop Century and Art of Animation Resorts have long been popular among travelers for their family-friendly decor and low cost (compared to the rest of Disney’s on-property hotels). However, one of the major knocks on these two Value Resorts was their lack of transportation options. Tucked on the southern end of Walt Disney World property, at their inception the only way to travel to Disney World’s Parks from Pop Century or Art of Animation was either with one’s own car or by using the Resort’s bus system.

Now that the two Resorts have a dedicated Skyliner stop, guests can get to either Epcot (and there a monorail to the Magic Kingdom) or Hollywood Studios in a matter of minutes, all without traversing Disney’s often gridlocked roads.

Art of Animation and Pop Century Skyliner Station

Brings Many More Guests Through the International Gateway

For years, Epcot’s International Gateway entrance – located at the back of the Park between France and the United Kingdom pavilions in World Showcase – flew under the radar, with many guests not even aware of its existence. However, the entrance is about to get a whole lot busier, as Epcot’s Skyliner station is located just outside its gates. Given the fact that Epcot’s main entrance will be a sea of construction for the next several years, the International Gateway definitely seems like a more aesthetically pleasing entry point into the Park for the foreseeable future.

Disney Skyliner Gondola Unwrapped

Takes Some Pressure off the Bus System

Anyone who has visited Walt Disney World in the last decade knows that the Resort’s bus system often seems taxed to its limit, especially in the early mornings and late nights. The Skyliner should alleviate some of that pressure as it transports guests from the aforementioned Pop Century and Art of Animation Resorts, as well as the Caribbean Beach Resort and the upcoming Riviera Resort to Epcot and Hollywood Studios, presumably removing thousands of guests a day from the buses.

Immediately Makes Riviera Resort a Must-Stay Resort

Speaking of the Riviera Resort, the opening of Walt Disney World’s newest DVC Resort was sure to be an event no matter what. However its location on the Skyliner route gives it the combination of luxury and transportation cache previously only held by the hotels on the Magic Kingdom Monorail line. Riviera’s appeal just got even greater! (Click here to see why this Resort already gets a thumbs-up from us!)

International Gateway Station at Epcot

Captures the Original Spirit of Epcot

While this change is more philosophical than literal, the existence of Skyliner does channel a bit of the classic spirit of Epcot. As Disney aficionados know, the original plans for the Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow — and the whole of Walt Disney World — included many transportation options, including a much larger monorail system and a fleet of People Movers, designed to cut down on traffic and fuel emissions. Skyliner harkens back to that thought process, at least philosophically, which is more than welcome at a time when classic Epcot seems to many to be disappearing.

How do you think the Skyliner will impact your next Walt Disney World vacation? Let us know in the comments below.

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8 Replies to “Five Ways the Skyliner Is Improving Disney World’s Transportation”

  1. Spent the last 2 days at WDW and am entirely underwhelmed with this thing. While it seems great in concept, in reality it’s been horrible. Yesterday during our first ride from Caribbean Beach to Epcot, it stopped 3 or 4 times. The longest for almost 10 minutes. No one ever tells you why. You just get recorded messages that it’s stopped momentarily. I thought that was just a fluke. Oh yeah, and when it stops on a sunny 94 degree day be prepared to sit and sweat. With no AC, it gets incredibly hot in there. Then today it was shutdown to the animation resort, and when we tried to use it to get back to Epcot, it shutdown right when we got to the station. Finally tonight thinking we’d take it from Epcot back, again shutdown and this time in the dark. And the cars have no light either inside or out. It amazes me that others haven’t reviewed or commented about this. For us we’ll be sticking with the alternatives until they really iron out the kinks.

    1. As a follow up, we avoided it last night and are so happy! I’m sure you all read about the 3 hours people were stranded. And today we were notified it’ll be down all day. Hmm.

    1. According to people who have ridden it, the time between rides is maybe 15 minutes, max. That is FAR less time than it takes to get ANYWHERE in Disney by bus. So I think the time savings will be significant, especially considering that this is a continually moving system. Even if wheelchairs or ECV’s need to be boarded, they are done on a separate track that is then moved into the regular gondola rotation track.

  2. I think that the scenery has been compromised by these dangling items and their
    large pillars. This is not a new system, these gondala’s have been around in many parks across the country and many go unused as some feel unsafe in them. No control if the system were to stop and of course no air conditioning.
    I think another monorail system would have been a better use. Holds more people per
    car and sits low enough to now impede the beauty of the skyline.

    1. You are comparing apple to oranges. These are are transportation devices and not attractions. Places around the world utilizes similar type of devices to transport people and I am not talking about taking people up a mountain just to ski down.

      Over 25 years ago the per mile cost of building a monorail was over 1 million dollars.

      Let’s see, how the monorail pylons that have to be every few hundred feet compare to the pylons used for the gondola system which can be spaced further apart affects the view.

      Doesn’t matter how much people can be held in a particular car. What matters is “through put”. I.E how much can each system handle per hour, based on expected demand.

      Over the last 20 years, almost every time I have been on the MK beam, there has been a “hold” of a few minutes, so much for efficiency.

      While I love the monorail system. It is a matter of applying the right tool for the job at hand.