The Disney Skyliner is the newest and one of several methods of transportation between resorts and parks at Walt Disney World.
It’s an elevated gondola lift system that travels in the Epcot and Hollywood Studios area of Disney World, providing birds eye views of resorts, swampland, and magical parking lots along the way.
So, where does the Disney Skyliner go and how much does the Disney Skyliner cost? This blog post will answer those questions and more. Keep on reading about the newest and most fun mode of transportation at Disney World – the Disney Skyliner!
What is the Disney World Skyliner?
The Disney Skyliner is an elevated gondola transportation system at Walt Disney World that opened in 2019.
The Skyliner directly connects four Disney resort hotels and two parks – Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
There are five stations connecting three separate Skyliner lines along the route. At each station, the gondolas return to ground level and slow down considerably, allowing you to safely exit the passenger cabin and be on your way. And by “slow” I mean slooow. We’re talking, slow enough to roll your stroller into the cabin without a problem. However, if you need more time to enter or exit your cabin, the individual cabins can be separated from the main cable and temporarily sit in a holding area so you can take as long as you need to safely embark or disembark from the cabin before it returns to the cable and continues along the route.
The Skyliner’s hours of operation usually begin one hour before the earliest park opening along the route to one hour after the latest park closing. However, these hours fluctuate, so be sure to check official Disney schedules for Skyliner operating hours during your trip.
Inside each gondola cabin are two facing wooden benches. The cabins can hold up to 10 people or less with a wheelchair or stroller. During Disney World’s 2020-21 phased reopening, you won’t share your gondola with other families. Prior to the COVID-19 closure, more than one group of guests could share a cabin to maximize the Skyliner’s capacity.
Each gondola cabin is painted a bright color and many are also wrapped in character artwork. These include classic characters such as Mickey and Minnie, Star Wars characters (my son’s favorite gondola is Chewbacca with porgs!), and characters from recent movies including Frozen and Coco. From the inside, the unwrapped cabins provide clearer views out the windows so, if the station where you’re boarding isn’t busy, ask the cast member to wait for an unwrapped gondola if you won’t be holding up anyone behind you.
The Skyliner cabins are not air conditioned, but top windows may be opened for ventilation. While the Skyliner is in motion, these open windows provide surprisingly comfortable air circulation even on warm Florida days.
Disney Skyliner Hotels
There are four Disney resort hotels with stations on the Skyliner route:
Additionally, the Epcot station is within walking distance of Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, Beach Club Resort, and Yacht Club Resort.
Consider staying at any of these seven resorts for if Epcot or Hollywood Studios are your favorite parks where you plan on spending the most time. The Skyliner provides fast, direct access from these resorts to two parks.
Disney World Skyliner Map
Disney Skyliner Route
The Skyliner route consists of three lines and a central hub.
At the central hub, located adjacent to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, you must disembark and transfer to another line or remain at Caribbean Beach if that’s the final destination. If you’re staying overnight at Caribbean Beach, request the Jamaica section (specifically, building 41, 42, or 43) if you want a room closest to the Skyliner station.
The Epcot line is the longest and travels from the central hub to Epcot’s International Gateway with a pause at the Riviera Resort station along the way. The ride from the central hub to Epcot will take just over 10 minutes. Unlike the central hub, you don’t need to disembark at the Riviera Resort station. Your gondola cabin’s doors will open and, if no one is getting off at the Riviera and no one else will be getting in, the doors will automatically close and you’ll just continue on to Epcot. This station is also easily accessible to the Aruba section of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Request building 54, 55, or 56 for the shortest walk.
Since Epcot’s Skyliner station is located at its International Gateway “side entrance” and not at the main, front entrance where the parking lot and busses are located, you’ll need to travel through the park in order to reach the front to catch a bus or find your parked car. You won’t be able to enter the park after closing time at the end of the day, so make other plans to reach your car if you’ve taken the Skyliner away from Epcot’s International Gateway near the end of the day!
The Hollywood Studios line travels west out of the central hub at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort to Hollywood Studios. This is a straight route over the Hollywood Studios parking lot and only takes about 5 minutes.
The Art of Animation and Pop Century line travels south from the central hub and will arrive at the pair of resorts in less than 5 minutes. This station is situated in the middle of Hourglass Lake which separates the two resorts. Art of Animation’s Finding Nemo section and Pop Century’s 60’s section are closest to the Skyliner station, so request these sections if you’re staying at either resort and want a room closest to the Skyliner station. Both sections are also considered “preferred” at their respective resorts and are a higher price category.
How much does the Disney Skyliner cost?
Nothing at all!
The Disney Skyliner is free to ride and part of Disney World’s network of complimentary guest transportation.
Can anyone ride the Disney Skyliner?
Ride the Skyliner if you’re staying at a Disney resort on the Skyliner route.
Ride the Skyliner to park hop between Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
Ride the Skyliner if you’re traveling to the character breakfast at the Riviera Resort’s Topolino’s Terrace.
Ride the Skyliner even if it doesn’t go anywhere that you need to go! I highly recommend enjoying the Skyliner just to experience it. Kids, especially, often love it and may even consider it one of the favorite Disney World rides.
True story: The first time my family visited Disney World after the Skyliner opened, we parked at Hollywood Studios after driving south all day long from North Carolina. When asked whether they wanted to head right into the park or ride the Skyliner first, my boys immediately chose the Skyliner!
A ride on the Disney Skyliner is a fantastic option for an afternoon break during your Epcot or Hollywood Studios park days. Even with a base ticket that doesn’t allow park hopping (visiting more than one Disney World theme park in a single day), you can still leave and return to the same park with any Disney World ticket. So, take a break from the crowds in the afternoon when attraction lines are longest and enjoy a ride on the Skyliner in the middle of the day when it’s least busy!
And while you’re on your Skyliner leisure ride, be sure to briefly disembark at Disney’s Riviera Resort on the Epcot line. You’ve probably seen the majestic Peter Pan and Tangled arched tile mosaics located just steps away from the Riviera Resort’s Skyliner station. They’re worth the brief stop for an unforgettable photo opp!
Disney’s Art of Animation is one of my top Disney resorts to visit even if you aren’t staying there, so add a visit to Art of Animation to your Skyliner itinerary and enjoy the larger than life Disney movie theming.
Will you be riding the Disney Skyliner on your next trip?