Disney already has fantastic transportation options to help get you and your family around the entire Walt Disney World Resort area.
But soon, in addition to the buses and boats and monorails and Minnie Vans guests will have a brand new transportation option to use: gondolas!
Yep. That's right - gondolas are coming to Disney World, but just where will they go and when will they be available?
In this article
Gondolas begin operation on September 29
September 29 is the big day and we can hardly wait!
After so many years of construction it will be awesome to see them finally in action.
What is the Disney Skyliner?
I'm not ashamed to admit that I am over-the-top excited about this new transportation option. I'm also not embarrassed to admit that when I first heard the term "gondola" in my mind I was thinking of the small 2-3 person versions you'd see at most domestic ski resorts.
It wasn't until Disney released the artwork that I fully understood the size and scope of this project - its major. And it is really cool.
The new gondola system will be named the Disney Skyliner. This new transportation option will link 3 resorts and 2 parks by carrying them high above the treetops for spectacular views of the entire Disney World Resort area.
The Disney Skyliner will have stations at:
- Art of Animation (station shared with Pop Century)
- Pop Century (station shared with Art of Animation)
- Caribbean Beach
- Disney Riviera
- Hollywood Studios
- Epcot (at the International Gateway)
In true Disney fashion, these stations will be well themed and reflect the aesthetics of their location. The gondola cars themselves will also be themed and include artwork of favorite characters and attractions.
One thing that is interesting is that the gondolas won't have air conditioning, which has made some people a little upset.
Instead they'll have a "passive ventilation system" (aka window vents) which will allow the breeze to move through the cabins.
I think it's important to note here that there are attractions at Disney World (like the Tomorrowland Transit Authority - PeopleMover) that are outdoors and don't have air conditioning, either - and it works just fine.
AND, I'd much rather sit in a moving "vehicle" where there are vents for air flow versus walking over the hot pavement of one of the parking lots (or standing still on one of the paths in Animal Kingdom; that park always feels 10 degrees hotter than the others to me!).
At the time of this writing, the gondola construction is well underway with towers popping up all over. But just when will the Disney Skyliner be open and ready to take passengers?
We now know that September 29 will be the big opening day for this brand new (and oh-so-fun) mode of transportation.
My Disney Experience
Want to see the exact path these beauties will be taking?
Disney has added the Skyliner to the My Disney Experience app.
Here's the Pop Century/Art of Animation station:
And here it is a little bit further out (so you can see the distance to each resort):
Here's the station at the International Gateway at Epcot (its at the top of the screen):
News & Updates
Opening date announced!
After years of construction, we finally know the magical start date: September 29, 2019.
Read more about it on the Disney Parks Blog.
You may want to sit down because some severe levels of cuteness are ahead!
The gondolas have been unwrapped. I repeat: the gondolas have been unwrapped and they. are. ADORABLE.
Unfortunately, in the post highlighting the fact that they have been unwrapped Disney does again mention "fall" as the opening date so until then, we'll just have to admire this cuteness from afar.
Over at the International Gateway, more walls have come down providing a better view of the station there:
Disney has released some additional information about the Gondolas. Each Gondola will have bench seating with the ability to accommodate up to 10 people. Guests using wheelchairs or other assistive devices will also be able to utilize the Gondolas.
The Skyliner will be continuously moving (though can be stopped if needed) and travel times are expected to be short. Here are the expected travel times for each of the Skyliner routes:
- Pop Century/Art of Animation Resorts to Caribbean Beach Resort - 5-6 minutes
- Caribbean Beach Resort to Hollywood Studios - 5-6 minutes
- Caribbean Beach Resort to Riviera Resort (opening Dec 2019) - 5-6 minutes
- Riviera Resort to Epcot International Gateway - about 9 minutes
- Caribbean Beach Resort to Epcot International Gateway - about 15 minutes
Construction continues and if you're lucky, you just might get to see some testing of the Gondolas, too!
The new station at the International Gateway is really taking shape:
Over at Hollywood Studios, you can see lots of testing going on:
The cars slow down significantly when they enter the station giving guests lots of time to load and unload.
Once it exits the station, it picks back up speed and zips along at surprisingly quick pace!
And it is all whisper quiet (and so fun to watch!).
New concept art released for Skyliner station! January 22, 2019
Disney released new concept art for the Skyliner station at the new Disney's Riviera Resort.
New video and a first look! November 17, 2018
At Destination D, Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products Chairman Bob Chapek proudly presented the crowd with a first look at one of the new Disney Skyliner Gondolas!
Disney Skyliner to begin operation in Fall of 2019
Although we don't have an exact date yet, Disney announced on November 14, 2018 that the new Skyliner gondola system would begin operation in the Fall of 2019 - which should be in plenty of time ahead of the opening of Star Wars Land.
New animated video released - October 19, 2018
Disney released a video today highlighting some of the key facts and information about the new system.
Photo update - September 2018
Here are a few photos from September 2018. So much progress!
Shannon looks tiny next to the giant pole!
You can see the construction clearly from the Aruba section of Caribbean Beach.
Construction is pretty far along over at the station in-between Art of Animation and Pop Century.
This is taken from the walkway along the water on the Art of Animation side.
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