There are lots of ways to get around Walt Disney World in Florida. There’s the tried and true bus option, by car, boats and, of course, the monorail. But did you know about Disney’s newest mode of transportation? Let me introduce you to the Disney Skyliner. The Skyliner isn’t your ordinary mode of transportation. These flying gondolas are a lot of fun and can be considered an attraction of their very own!
In this Skyliner Guide, we’re going to give you everything you need to know about using these magical gondolas in the sky. We’ll cover everything from routes, resorts, tips, and even how to pull off the perfect restaurant or bar crawl!
If you’re wondering how the Skyliner can be incorporated into your next trip, keep reading our Skyliner guide and learn all about this fun transportation option in Walt Disney World!
In this article:
Skyliner Guide: What is the Disney Skyliner?
The Skyliner opened in Walt Disney World in September of 2019 as its newest mode of transportation. The Skyliner consists of fully enclosed gondolas that are suspended on wires high above the ground moving from station to station and serving both resorts and theme parks. For those of you who might remember, they are very reminiscent of the now-removed Skyway that once roamed the skies of Disneyland and Walt Disney World. This time around, they are not attached to any particular park and the best part is that they are completely free, even if you don’t have a park ticket!
The gondolas are all equal in size, but vary in their theming and decor. It’s so fun to pick out your favorite one and hope that you get it for your ride! The gondolas are designed to fit 10 people, but that can depend on whether or not the gondolas are being used with wheelchairs or strollers. If you’re wondering more about using strollers around Walt Disney World, we have a guide for that here. The gondolas are constantly moving very slowly, think Ariels Underwater Adventure, but for those needing to board with a wheelchair or stroller, that’s done separately so you don’t have to worry about rushing on.
A few important things to note about the Skyliner:
Hours of operation
At the time of writing this Skyliner guide, the hours of the Skyliner depend on the hours of EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Therefore, the operating hours can fluctuate depending on the day. That said, you can expect the Skyliner to begin running 60-90 minutes before park opening and closing 60-90 minutes after park closure. More often than not, this means you’re looking at an estimated opening time of around 7:30am to 11pm. Again, you’ll want to check park hours for these two resorts first before making official plans. You will see signs at your nearest station that will advertise the hours for the day.
Despite being new, the gondolas are not equipped with air conditioning. I know, you’re probably wondering: don’t they get stuffy in there?! Luckily, no. The gondolas all have windows that can be opened thereby creating a nice circulation of air. That said, depending on the time of year, you might enjoy having a personal fan handy that you can use if you get too hot.
As most outdoor things in Florida, their availability depends heavily on weather. On days with severe inclement weather, like high winds or lightning, the gondolas will close.
The Skyliner is a constantly moving hanging gondola so there is a chance you might feel some motion sickness. They won’t rock terribly unless you move around them nonstop. In my experience, they don’t move any more than a boat might rock so consider that when hopping aboard.
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Skyliner Guide: Route Map and Resorts and Theme Parks Served
The Skyliner is connected through five stations around the EPCOT and Hollywood Studios resort areas. For a birds-eye view, let’s take a look at the route map below:
The Skyliner has stations for the following resorts:
- Disney’s Riviera Resort
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
- Disney’s Pop Century Resort (shared station with Disney’s Art of Animation Resort)
Side note: we appreciate the fact the Skyliner serves value, moderate and deluxe resorts. This makes this a transportation option for all guests of the Walt Disney World Resort.
As for theme parks, the Skyliner has stations for the following parks:
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios
The station at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is unique in that it serves as a transfer station for different destinations. Depending on where you’re headed, you may need to hop off your gondola and grab another one. The remaining stations are more straightforward and don’t serve as transfer stations.
Skyliner vs Buses
As you can probably can tell by now, the Skyliner serves as a great option to other forms of transportation such as buses. However, it’s important to know that guests staying at the Riviera Resort, Caribbean Beach Resort and the Pop Century Resort only have the Skyliner as an option to get to EPCOT or Disney’s Hollywood Studios. These resorts do not provide buses to the two mentioned theme parks unless the Skyliner is closed for any number of reasons. So, if the weather is great and the Skyliner is running, you’ll definitely want to hop on a gondola if you’re headed to either of the two theme parks.
Guests staying at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort will usually have buses to the EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Skyliner Guide: Travel Times
Since the gondolas are constantly moving, you can expect some pretty reliable transportation times. They do take pauses here and there for varied reasons, but for the most part they keep moving all day just like the Haunted Mansion buggies!
The ride times below are strictly estimates, but they give you a good idea of how long the different routes take.
Route 1: Disney’s Caribbean Beach to Hollywood Studios = ~8 minutes
Route 2: Disney’s Caribbean Beach to Riviera Resort = ~5 minutes
Route 3: Disney’s Caribbean Beach to Disney’s Art of Animation/Disney’s Pop Century Resort = ~4 minutes
Route 4: EPCOT to Disney’s Riviera Resort = ~10 minutes
As you can see, travel times aren’t that bad and for the most part can be a little quicker than bus transportation! Plus, you won’t have to worry about finding a seat or standing in the middle of a crowded bus!
Skyliner Guide: Merchandise
Disney releases Skyliner merchandise throughout the year. So far, we’ve seen some mini gondolas that are perfect for your home collection, Funko Pop collection, mugs and most recently some ornaments.
Skyliner Guide: A Skyliner Dining Tour
Since the Skyliner is open to anyone visiting the Walt Disney World Resort, it’s really fun to do a mini dining tour using the Skyliner! This tour is really simple and allows you to do a ‘crawl’ of sorts by checking out the various restaurants along the route! Below is just one example of a tour that you can make using the various lines of the Skyliner incorporating a mix of snacks, desserts and meals.
Start: Disney’s Art of Animation Resorts
Stop #1: The Drop Off Pool Bar
We’ll begin our tour at the The Art of Animation pool bar. Since this is a value resort, you won’t find many dining options, but it does make for a perfect place to start the night with a refreshing cocktail! Our pick for this stop is the Caribbean Limeade. It’s a refreshing drink that kicks off the tour with sweet flavors!
Up next, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort!
Stop #2: Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Disney’s Caribbean Beach is our next stop and right about now we’re ready for an appetizer! Head on over to Banana Cabana and take in the fun atmosphere that the resort has. For this stop, we recommend the yummy Jerk Chicken Wings. They are delicious and just the right amount of food to not spoil your dinner!
Up next, Disney’s Riviera Resort
Stop #3: Disney’s Riviera Resort
Alright, now it’s time to eat! the Riviera Resort is Disney’s newest Vacation Club resort that mimics the beautiful sights and sounds of the French and Italian Riviera. The resort has various food options, but since we’re here we’re going to go big and grab a table at Topolino’s Terrace! Topolino’s sits atop the Riviera Resort and has quickly become a Disney foodie favorite. It is named after what is Mickey is called in Italian. It is a table-service restaurant so be prepared to spend some time here, but it’s truly worth it. Plus, if you get lucky and end up on the terrace, you’ll enjoy some wonderful views of the EPCOT resort area.
Our pick for this stop is the Roasted Eggplant. It’s a wonderful dish and will leave you plenty satisfied!
Up next, let’s head on over to the EPCOT resort area for dessert!
Stop #3: Beaches & Cream Soda Shop
After hopping back on the Skyliner from the beautiful Riviera Station, we head over to the EPCOT resort station. This is a fantastic stop since it will give you access to the EPCPOT park, Disney’s BoardWalk, Disney’s Beach Club and Disney’s Yacht Club.
We’re in the mood for some desert and what better place to end the night then at Beaches & Cream! Newly renovated, this is a fan-favorite restaurant that always fills up quickly, so you definitely want to have a reservation. The restaurant serves diner options, but we’re here for the sweets. The most famous desert is the Kitchen Sink, but we’re going to recommend the Fudge Mud Slide. It’s the perfect desert to share and if you’re a chocolate fan, you will not be disappointed!
And that’s our Skyliner foodie tour! As you can see, it’s very simple to get around and explore different resorts. This is the perfect activity to do on a non-park day!
Now, if you’re looking for a tour that is for adults, then keep reading to check out our Skyliner Bar Crawl!
Skyliner Guide: A Skyliner Bar Crawl
Alright, if you have a night off from the kids and are looking to have some fun, then you might consider our Skyliner Bar Crawl. Similar to the food tour, this bar crawl uses the Skyliner to travel to some great bars along the route. Don’t try this on an empty stomach as our drink picks will have you feeling really good!
Start: Disney’s Pop Century Resort
Stop #1: Petals Pool Bar
We’ll begin our crawl at the Petals Pool Bar at Disney’s Pop Century Resort. This fun pool bar has lots of great drink options in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. We’re going to start with the Magical Beacon Cocktail. This drink really packs the punch so be ready, but it’s delicious!
Up next, Banana Cabana!
Stop #2: Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Even though we stopped here on our food tour, we really need to come back to the Banana Cabana as their drinks are incredibly delicious! We’re going to skip the wings this time and instead go for the Banana Cabana cocktail. If a drink is going to share a name with the location, it better be good, and this does not disappoint. This drink uses rum as it’s base and mixes well with the added tropical fruits. We might even grab our drink and walk around the resort area as it always has a relaxed vibe.
Up next, Disney’s Riviera Resort
Stop #3: Disney’s Riviera Resort
This time around, we’re going to make a stop at Bar Riva. While it’s technically a pool bar, it really doesn’t feel like one. Its open-air concept makes for a wonderful environment and is located just far enough from the pool that you won’t feel overdressed if you’re not in swim gear. Here, we’re going to go for the Riva Margarita. It’s so good and for only having a few ingredients, makes for a refreshing add to our night!
We’ll definitely take our drink to go here as it’s always fun to wander around the beautiful grounds of the resort. If you head over near the water, you’ll find a perfect cozy spot to have your drink. The space includes lounge chairs so you can take in the sunset from your seat, with a drink in hand, of course!
Next, let’s stumble over to the EPCOT resort area!
Stop #4: AbracadaBar
If you’re still standing, then finish the night off with a mystical drink at AbracadaBar located at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort. This bar is not like any bar, it’s a magical experience! The bar is themed after the 1920’s heyday of magic and magicians and really transports you to another era. It’s located right on the baordwalk so you’ll be able to take in the sights and sounds of the fun area prior to having your last drink of the night.
We’re going to recommend a truly magical drink that changes colors right before your eyes! The Conjurita is a tequila-based drink that comes with its own magic trick. It’s also really tasty and the perfect way to end the night.
Four bars later, let’s hope you can make it back to your hotel….!
Skyliner Guide: Final Thoughts
If it’s already not obvious, we LOVE the Skyliner! Again, for it to be free, it’s such a cool attraction that you have to try out during your next visit. Whether you’re using it to get around or simply for fun, it’s such a neat experience that makes for a ton of fun. The only downside to mention is that depending on the time you use it, it could have a long line. This is especially true if you’re taking it home from EPCOT or Disney’s Hollywood Studios at closing. That said, the line does move steadily, but it’s still something to consider. All in all, however, we recommend it so be sure to check it out at least once on your next trip!
Plan Your Vacation to Walt Disney World!
If you’re ready to hop aboard the Skyliner, let us help you plan your next Disney vacation! We can put together a fantastic trip and make sure that you don’t miss out on some amazing money-saving secrets!. Plus, if you’re not yet subscribed to our FREE newsletter, you’re missing out on even more Disney savings! Be sure to check out our other articles to help you plan your next Disney getaway: