Reaching heights of up to 60 feet, The Disney Skyliner is currently one of the best ways to get around Disney World. With it, you can visit two park locations and four different resorts.
Still, you may not get the most out of the Disney Skyliner if you don’t know how to use it. You could get on the wrong line, forget to use the Skyliner, etc. This could put a dent in what should be a happy, magical vacation.
Thus, if you don’t know a thing about those character-covered vehicles, read on. You’ll get some frequently asked questions about the Skyliner answered. These should help you get the most out of your Skyliner ride.
Why Should I Use the Disney Skyliner?
You’ve probably seen gondola lift attractions at other theme parks before. The Skyliner is a lot like these, but there are some key differences. This is because Disney Imagineers had a different purpose in mind for their cable car ride.
Many gondola rides stay within the park grounds. When this is the case, guests can only get from one part of the park to another using the vehicles. This isn’t the case for the Disney Skyliner.
The main purpose of the Disney Skyliner is to get from certain resorts and other places you can stay to the park. This is a pretty good deal when you consider how aggravating it can be to drive from your hotel to the park. You have to deal with traffic, it can be hard to find a place to park, and you have to pay to park.
Flying over all of that traffic seems like a much better option.
Get a Good View
Yes, the Florida foliage can be pretty, but looking at the same set of palm trees for half an hour can get rather boring. All that you have to look at beyond that is your neighbors’ cars. You’ll probably turn to your phone for relief, but that defeats the point of being fully present during your Disney vacation.
The Skyliner can give you a much better view during your journey. If you and your family look out the windows while riding the gondola rides, everyone with get a bird’s-eye view of the colorful, whimsical world below. That should be a lot more fulfilling than a highway.
How Do I Ride the Disney Skyliner?
Riding the Disney Skyliner is easy! After showing up at a Skyliner station, find the signs that point to your intended destination. Then you’ll just need to hop on and off.
You may also want to check the map first before you get on, though. This can help you make sure that you get off at the right stop.
Wait in Line
Get in the queue that leads to your intended destination. Once you get to the front of the line, a cast member will ask you what the size of your party is. Tell them and they will assign you to a gondola.
When the gondola arrives, the doors to the cabin will open. Make sure to watch your step as you climb in. Find a seat on either side and wait for the doors to close.
The cable cars should pick up speed once they leave the station. You can then sit back and enjoy your ride. Listen to the narration, look out at the view, or do other relaxing activities during your trip.
The gondola may seem to come into the station rather quickly. Don’t worry about this! The vehicle will slow down enough to safely make it to the station.
Gather your belongings and get ready to depart when the doors open. Once the doors open, you can hop off and go enjoy all of the things Disney World offers.
The Ride May Stop
The gondolas may stop in the middle of the journey. This doesn’t necessarily indicate that something is wrong with the ride. A cast member may just be helping a handicapped guest out of their seat.
Please wait patiently for the cable cars to start up again. This should only take a few minutes.
What Are the Gondolas/Cable Car’s Like?
There are nearly 300 gondolas in total. As you’ll see, many of these vehicles feature window decals from some of your favorite Disney friends. There is a Moana car, a Mickey car, a Pirates of the Caribbean car, and more!
But if you want to get a clear view of the outside, you might want to ask for a character-less vehicle. Ask a staff member and they will assist you in finding the right car.
They Keep Moving
Once you get a clear view of the vehicles, you’ll see that they don’t stop moving. Most guests have to enter the vehicles as they move.
Don’t worry if you have a wheelchair, scooter, etc. You can go to a separate line where the special access vehicles stop. Staffers can assist you in getting aboard the vehicle.
Once you get inside, you should see two wooden benches. If you’re in a non-wheelchair-accessible vehicle, each of those two benches can hold five people each. Wheelchair-accessible vehicles will have room for six people.
You can also use the wheelchair access line if you have a larger stroller. However, as with mobility aids, they have to fit within the available space. Smaller strolls can fit into the vehicle without anyone needing to fold them up.
Beating the Heat
Unfortunately, there isn’t any air-conditioning on the vehicle. However, the Imagineers haven’t left park guests hanging. The cable car design has reflective panels and cross-ventilation windows that should keep vehicle riders nice and comfy!
On top of this, each gondola also has an onboard audio narration. This will be unique depending on the route you’re taking.
What Are the Disney Skyliner Stops?
Speaking of routes, where do the Disney Skyliner gondolas go? There are three Skyliner lines in total. Each of these connects at the Caribbean Beach Resort.
Connected Parks and Resorts
The other ends of these lines vary. Besides Caribbean Beach, there are three other resorts that the Skyliner lines connect to. They are:
- Disney’s Riviera Resort
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
- Disney’s Pop Century Resort
One of the lines ends next to Pop Century and Art of Animation. The other two lines end at two areas in the park:
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios
As for Riviera, the lines that run from EPCOT to Caribbean Beach run right through it. That is, there’s a stop at the Riviera where guests can get on and off.
There is also technically a turning station that helps the gondolas turn on the route from Riviera to EPCOT. Guests can’t get on and off at this station. Keep this in mind so you don’t get up when you see the station (it has confused quite a few people, so don’t worry).
Where Are the Stations Located?
Still, just saying that the stops are located “near the Rivera”, “in EPCOT”, etc. may not be enough to help you find the Skyliner stations. You probably need a bit more information on their exact locations. Knowing what they look like can probably be extremely helpful as well.
You’ll find all that information in the sections below.
Pop Century/Art of Animation Skyliner Station
The Pop Century and Art of Animation Resorts are located on either side of a water feature known as Hourglass Lake. Running across this lake is a bridge known as the Generation Gap Bridge. The Skyliner station for Pop Century and Art of Animation is located on this bridge.
You’ll recognize this station by its bright blue color. It also has yellow beans holding the roof up.
Caribbean Beach Resort Station
Unfortunately, you’ll need to walk quite far away from the resort’s main building to get to the Caribbean Beach Skyliner station. Go across the lake and down past the playground until you reach Sea Breeze Drive. Go west on Sea Breeze Drive and the Skyliner station should be across the street from the nearby parking lot.
The Caribbean Beach Skyliner Station was inspired by open-air markets in Caribbean villages. The walls will be yellow and green. The roof will be brown.
Riviera Resort Station
The Rivera Resort Skyliner Station is right next to the main resort building. You’ll probably be able to see it as you’re walking up the building entrance.
This station’s roof is the same color as the main resort building. The walls and columns are white.
Near the International Gateway is where you’ll find the EPCOT station. The creators of the station were inspired by the nearby European pavilions. It has hand-painted murals, metal and glass canopies, and ornamental steel structures.
Hollywood Studios Station
Right in front of the entrance to the Hollywood Studios park, you’ll find the Hollywood Studios Skyliner station. Its blue color and shape match perfectly with the design and color of the official park entrance.
The turning station is located between the Disney Boardwalk parking lot and Buena Vista Drive. After you pass the Riviera parking lots, look out for the next one you see. The “station” next to this parking lot is not the EPCOT one.
When Do I Need to Transfer Lines?
Unfortunately, you can’t travel straight from Pop Century Resort to EPCOT. The same goes for several of the other lines. You often need to transfer from one station to the other.
Look at the Map
How can you figure out if you need to transfer? All you need to do is look at the Skyliner maps you should be able to find at each station. If your path crosses over the Caribbean Beach Station, you will need to transfer during your journey.
Read this Guide
You can also look at the list below to learn about the Skyliner journeys where you’ll need to make a transfer:
- EPCOT to Hollywood Studios
- EPCOT to Art of Animation/Pop Century
- Hollywood Studios to Riviera
- Hollywood Studios to Art of Animation/Pop Century
- Riviera to Art of Animation/Pop Century
Remember that the reverse of these journeys are also ones that need transfers. Also, if you’re not sure, ask a staff member to help. They should be able to direct you to the right place to go.
What Are the Disney Skyliner Hours?
Unfortunately, the Disney Skyliner doesn’t have set hours. They can vary per day depending on the weather, season, and park hours.
You’ll also find that some routes start around an hour before the park opens and others start after the park opens. All routes, however, should stay open for an hour or so after the park closes.
How to Learn the Times
Still, it’s fairly easy to learn what the hours are ahead of time. Just talk to a front desk or concierge cast member at your hotel. You can also check the signage that gets posted in front of each station.
You should also check the closing hours after you arrive at your destination. Doing so can help you ensure that you don’t stay too long and become stranded.
When there is inclement weather or high winds, the Skyliner will temporarily pause its operations. Park operators do this to keep guests safe. Cable cars will assume running after dangerous weather conditions subside.
Don’t worry about missing a show, though. Park operators will send out buses to act as replacement transportation measures while the Skyliner is down. Any guest staying at Pop Century, Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach, or the Riviera can take them.
How Long Does the Disney Skyliner Take?
The amount of time that you’ll spend on the Skyliner varies from route to route. Don’t worry, though; you won’t be on the Skyliner for long. You’ll probably be disappointed by how short your “ride with a view” is.
You can expect to get to your intended destination in around 5 to 15 minutes. The line from Caribbean Beach to EPCOT should last the longest. The ones from Hollywood Studios to Caribbean Beach and Art of Animation/Pop Century to Caribbean Beach should last the shortest.
Keep in mind, though, that those are only the lines without any transfers. If you take any transfers, your ride will be a lot longer.
Don’t forget to factor waiting in line into your time equation. Because the cable cars are always moving, the line should move fairly fast. But even a few minutes can make you late for that must-see show.
So when you’re planning your trip, give yourself around 25-30 minutes for the full Skyliner trip. You should adjust things if the Skyliner seems a lot less busy than usual. Keep in mind that the Skyliner is usually very crowded at park opening and closing times.
Do I Need to Buy Disney Skyliner Tickets?
No, there’s no need to buy a ticket to hop on the Disney Skyliner. Like many of Disney World’s transportation options (Monorail, bus system, and water taxis), the Skyliner is free to ride.
You don’t even need to have a Disney World ticket or be a resort guest to hop on the Skyliner. You can ride from resort to resort to your heart’s content. Just don’t expect to get off at the Epcot or Hollywood Studio stops.
How to Avoid Disney Skyliner Crowds
Disney guests love using the Disney Skyliner. Therefore, boarding wait times can get extremely long. Cast members do what they can to get cast members swiftly through, but they can only do so much.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways that you can avoid the crowds. Learn more about these in the sections below.
Get There Early
Skyliner is often at its most crowded at the park opening. If you want to ride the Skyliner at that time, give yourself an hour to arrive at your intended destination. This is a good estimate because line wait times can be as long as 45 minutes.
Do you want to be at the Skyliner at the exact time it opens? Then you need to be in line at the Caribbean Beach Station between 30 and 45 minutes before the Skyliner starts. If you’re coming from another resort, you’ll need to leave even earlier so you can have the time to travel to Caribbean Beach.
If you want to get to EPCOT or Hollywood Studios at the exact time that the parks open, walking may be better. If you book a room at one of the Disney Boardwalk hotels like the Boardwalk Inn, you can easily make it to EPCOT or Hollywood Studios faster than the time it would take waiting in line.
Riding the Skyliner at the end of the night can give you a gorgeous view. However, that’s what a lot of other people are thinking as well. There will also be a lot of people wanting to get back to their rooms.
Luckily, it’s easy to avoid the crowds. All that you need to do is wait around for about half an hour or so while the lines clear up.
Do some last-minute souvenir shopping in the parks while you wait. You can also go over to the Boardwalk for a drink. There are also tons of other possibilities you can try.
It’s much easier to avoid the crowds when you go on the Skyliner during the middle of the day. However, if you want to get the most out of your Disney vacation, you should want to spend as much time in the parks as possible. Getting to the park in the middle of the day can make you miss out on a lot.
Still, there is a lot you can do in the boardwalk area and the resorts. You can do these activities before it’s time to get on the Skyliner.
Other Disney Skyliner Tips
Before we wrap up this article, here are some final tips for riding the Disney Skyliner. Use them, along with all the other information, on your next Skyliner trip.
Use the Restroom
Yes, the ride should usually only take a few minutes. However, there is a very rare possibility that something could go wrong and the gondolas can stall in the air. You don’t want to be wiggling in your seat if that happens.
Take Some Water
You should take some water for the same reason you should use the restroom. If you’re stuck in the air for a fair amount of time, things can get fairly hot. It’ll be a big relief if you’re able to gulp water once in a while while stuck there.
Phobics Stay Clear
Are you acrophobic (afraid of heights) or claustrophobic (afraid of tight spaces)? Then it may be best for you to avoid the Skyliner. Disney cast members cannot stop the ride vehicles and get you off if you suddenly struggle with being on the Skyliner.
Consider Riding at Night
If you want a great view of the fireworks, consider riding the Disney Skyliner at night. Just keep in mind that, as the Skyliner ride is only a few minutes, you probably won’t be able to see the whole show.
Keep the Gondola Balanced
The gondolas aren’t steady in the air. With enough force, they can rock back and forth. So you should stay in your seat throughout the whole ride.
In addition, do what you can to keep the weight of the gondola balanced. Have kids sit in between adults instead of across from them.
Get Discounted Florida Tickets
In summary, know where your nearest Disney Skyliner station is, how to avoid the crowds, and when to transfer. You should probably write this information down somewhere where you can easily reach it. With this information, you should have a fun ride.
Also, if you’re planning on going to Florida, you can find a lot of other articles about Disney World and other popular Florida destinations on our site. You can also get discounted tickets for these destinations from our partner, Get Away Today. Check out your options on this page.