The Walt Disney World Skyliner: A Whole New Highway in the Sky

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If you’re planning a Disney World vacation, you might be excited to learn that there is a new member of the complimentary transportation system: the Walt Disney World Skyliner. You can think of it as another highway in the sky, a cousin to Walt’s original monorail, only this time, the parks feeling the special love are EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

How to Ride the Disney Skyliner

Riding the Disney Skyliner is easy, and best of all, free. Simply walk up to a station located at either park or one of the resorts and wait your turn to board. Soon, a colorful gondola will arrive to whisk you off to your destination. Some are even wrapped with popular character images to welcome you aboard.

If you’re worried about getting on the gondola, don’t be. It’s far easier than getting on a chairlift at a ski resort.

As each gondola arrives at the station, it will slow or sometimes even stop, making it easy for you to step on board. Doorway openings are wide, providing ample room to move, so there is no feeling of pressure as you enter the gondola space.

Inside, you’ll find two benches on either side, providing room for up to ten people to sit. Keep in mind that if your party doesn’t fill the space, you might be sharing your journey with other guests. Look at it as an opportunity to make new friends.

According to feet on the ground, the Disney Skyliner hours run between 7:30 or 8:00 am and cease operation between 10:00 and 11:00 pm. However, hours can change according to seasonal openings and closings at either EPCOT or Hollywood studios, so it is best to consult a station posting for up-to-date information.

Which Disney World Resorts Have Disney Skyliner Transportation?

Walt Disney World Skyliner coming into the Riviera Station
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Similar to the monorail, Disney’s first highway in the sky, the Walt Disney World Skyliner only runs from select Disney World resorts. These include:

You will find Skyliner stations at each of these onsite hotels, with the exception of Pop Century and Art of Animation. These two resorts share a single Skyliner stop.

While it’s exciting to stay at a Skyliner resort, it’s important to understand that you might not be able to take one gondola to every destination. Again, it’s similar to the monorail which services both EPCOT and Magic Kingdom, but uses 2 separate lines, requiring guests to get off of a Magic Kingdom monorail and board a different one heading to EPCOT. More on this below.


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Disney Skyliner Route

Admittedly, the Disney Skyliner Route can be a bit confusing. Unless you are staying at the Riviera or Caribbean Beach Resorts, you will need to transfer at least once to get to where you are going. This involves exiting your gondola, re-entering a different queue for your destination, and boarding a new gondola.

It’s easiest to understand the Skyliner route if we break it down by resort.

The Skyliner at Caribbean Beach

Hollywood Studios:  Guests can board a gondola for either EPCOT or Hollywood Studios at the Caribbean Beach resort station. If you’re traveling to Hollywood Studios, you’re in luck. The Skyliner route travels directly into this park of movie magic without stopping or requiring a transfer.

EPCOT: If you’re traveling to EPCOT, you’ll need to exit at the Riviera Resort Station and transfer to the EPCOT Skyliner line.

The Skyliner at Riviera Resort

EPCOT: If you’re traveling to EPCOT from the Riviera, you’re in for an easy ride. The Skyliner route directly connects this Disney World deluxe resort with the park, no stopping or transferring required.

Hollywood Studios: If you’re heading to Hollywood Studios, you will need to take the Skyliner to Caribbean Beach resort. Here, you’ll be required to exit your gondola and requeue for the EPCOT line. However, since these two resorts are so closely located, we find it easier to walk to the Caribbean Beach resort station from the Riviera and get on the Hollywood Studios line directly.

The Skyliner at Pop Century/Art of Animation

If you’re traveling to the parks from either of these value resorts, you can expect to transfer at Caribbean Beach resort, the Skyliner hub.

EPCOT: Board the Skyliner at your resort station. Travel to Caribbean Beach Resort where you will exit the gondola and requeue for the Skyliner to EPCOT.

Hollywood Studios: Here again you will board the Skyliner at your resort station and travel to Caribbean Beach Resort. Exit your gondola here and requeue for the Hollywood Studios Skyliner.

Walt Disney World Skyliner Route Map

Walt Disney World Skyliner Route map
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How Long Will It Take to Reach My Destination Using the Walt Disney World Skyliner?

Walt Disney World Skyliner with Riviera Resort in the background
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When it comes to reaching all of the magic that Disney parks have to offer, we understand that time is of the essence. When it comes to getting where you’re going quickly, the Walt Disney World Skyliner may be your new favorite mode of transportation.

According to most averages, you can plan to spend 5-15 minutes in transit using the Walt Disney World Skyliner. Disney buses – the most popular mode of transportation – average depot-to-depot times of around 20 minutes.

However, transit time only accounts for the amount of time you spend sitting in your gondola. In reality, this may be only a small portion of your actual door-to-door travel time.

Keep in mind that the Skyliner queue can grow quite long close to park opening and near park closing. We’ve heard nightmare stories of guests queueing up an hour or more before the Skyliner opens and still not being near the front of the line. Leaving the parks, it’s a similar experience.

However, the Walt Disney World Skyliner was designed to be more the stuff of dreams than nightmares, and most accounts indicate that waits up to 45 minutes can be expected if traveling either hour of park opening or around park closing.

To avoid the longest waits in the morning, plan on arriving at the gondola station at least an hour before you want to reach your destinations if you’re traveling within 2 hours either side of park opening. When leaving the parks, you can avoid the lines if you head back to your resort an hour before the park closes or linger inside the park for a half hour or so after closing.

Tips for Using the Walt Disney World Skyliner

Mickey and Minnie Mouse featured on a gondola on the Walt Disney World Skyliner
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While the newest highway in the sky is a fun way to travel and explore Disney World property, some handy tips could make the experience more enjoyable. For one thing, don’t expect to feel a refreshing blast of AC as you enter the gondola. Each unit is air-cooled, so the interior is roughly the same temperature as the air outside.

Also, while viewed as one of the fastest modes of transportation on Disney World property, the gondolas do move slowly—around 11 miles per hour. This speed is great for taking in the sights around and below you but may test the patience of little ones (and some adults) anxious to reach the park gates.

And while we’re tossing out numbers, you can expect to soar a good 60 feet above ground as your gondola makes its way to your destinations. If heights like these make your stomach churn or your head feel light, you may want to consider another option for getting to the park. In this case, ridesharing is really your only alternative.

Buses no longer run from resorts to the parks served by the Skyliner unless the gondolas are not operating, as in the case of severe storms.

Unfortunately, fear of heights isn’t the only conditioned aggravated by the Skyliner. The gliding movement can also trigger motion sickness. To give you an idea, I get extremely ill when riding Flight of Passage, a motion simulator ride, and feel mildly unsettled after getting off of Soarin’. However, I had little trouble riding the Skyliner.

On the other hand, my daughter who easily tolerates the aforementioned attractions felt ill on the Skyliner. If you’re prone to motion sickness, ask to sit facing the forward motion of your gondola. Looking in the direction you’re traveling is your best bet to avoid a headache or nausea while riding.

As mentioned above, you may be required to exit your gondola at one resort and re-enter a new queue to board a new gondola, depending on where you are going (see the section above covering Disney World Skyliner route). That means you’ll need to plan some extra time for exiting your gondola and picking up one on the new line toward your destination.

Last, be sure to ride the Skyliner at night. The world around you takes on an entirely new appearance and appeal as you float above it in the dark.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Disney Skyliner

Since the Walt Disney World Skyliner is the newest form of complimentary transportation being offered, there are a lot of frequently asked questions, so we’re covering the answers below. Feel like we missed something? Leave us a question in the comments.

 Is the Walt Disney World Skyliner Free?

The Disney World Skyliner is free to ride. Keep in mind though that the Disney Skyliner stops are located at either a Disney World resort or in the case of Hollywood Studios, a park.

To reach the latter, you will need to pay a parking fee. To reach any of the other stops, you’ll need access to a Disney Skyliner resort.

Depending on Disney’s current approach to social distancing, you may not be able to access the resort without a room reservation or advanced dining reservation at one of the restaurants located on the property.

Can I Take a Stroller on the Skyliner?

Strollers are permitted on the Skyliner. However, if your stroller measures greater that 30” x 50”, you will need to fold it up for transport.

Is the Skyliner Wheelchair Accessible?

The Skyliner is accessible to wheelchairs as well as ECVs. However, there are no special gondolas to accommodate either device. Instead, you’ll ride in an ordinary gondola that will be pulled temporarily off the main travel line to ensure that you and your party have ample time to board.


More Information About Disney World Transportation


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Kathleen Hesketh

Kathleen is a travel agent with Mickey World Travel, a platinum level Authorized Disney vacation planner, where she helps people discover the magic of a Disney vacation and other travel destinations. She is also the chief author and editor for Seconds to Go - a travel blog where she shares experiences from traveling the U.S. with her daughter, Ali.
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We're Kat and Ali, a pair of mother-daughter travel bloggers exploring the U.S. We're sharing our experiences, tips and insights to help you more easily get out and explore the beautiful landscapes and places of this nation.

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