The skyliner has arrived at Walt Disney World and while it had a rocky start at first, it looks like it’s here to stay, for now anyway. We recently stayed at Pop Century, which is one of the resorts on the skyliner route so we got to experience it firsthand. So, what did we think of this new transportation system at Walt Disney World? Well, that’s what we are going to tell you in this post!
First of all, let’s get a few things out of the way here. The Skyliner at Walt Disney World cannot take you everywhere. If you’re looking to go to the Parks, you can only take the skyliner to Epcot and and Hollywood Studios, so make sure you plan accordingly if you’re staying at a skyliner resort. To catch you up to speed on the skyliner, you can read our quick guide here .
Riding on the Skyliner at Walt Disney World
The Skyliner is operated similar to the rides at Walt Disney World. You stand in a line, a Cast Member greets you, asks your party size and directs you to your gondola. The gondola never actually stops, so you will board it while it is moving, again similar to the rides there.
If you are traveling with a wheelchair or ECV, there is a separate lane for those guests, and there are signs to direct you to the right place.
One difference you will see between the Skyliner and the rides at Walt Disney World is that you won’t necessarily just get your own gondola for your party as you would on a ride. You can request to be in a gondola with only your party, but unless the lines are low, you will likely be seated with another party unless you ask for your own.
The gondolas aren’t air conditioned, but between being higher up in the sky and the breeze flowing through the vents, the gondola stayed at a pretty comfortable temperature for us every time we were on it.
There is also a speaker system that will give you updates about where you are and what the next stop will be.
Navigating The Skyliner Routes at Walt Disney World
It is important to note that the skyliner doesn’t run in one straight line. Unless you are staying at Disney’s Riviera Resort, you will have to change routes at some point. The Riviera Resort is considered the “hub” for the Skyliner and it is here that you will make your way to your final destination, unless of course that is your final destination.
We were afraid that it would be difficult to figure out, but there are signs everywhere and cast members to answer your questions if you get lost. There are also restrooms at this stop, so feel free to take a small break if needed.
How long does the Skyliner Take?
Realistically, you should give yourself a half an hour to get anywhere on the skyliner; but as we all know by now, this time can change depending on crowds and whether or not there are any issues with the skyliner itself. The longest trip we took from Pop Century was about 20 minutes total, which includes how much time we spent in line as well. Overall it was much faster than the buses, which is always a nice change! That being said, our lines were always pretty low and we never had to wait very long to board.
Keep in mind though, anything can happen that could cause delays in transportation at Walt Disney World. We always recommend allowing for extra time no matter what type of transportation you’re using.
Review of the Skyliner at Walt Disney World
Ok, so now that we have that out of the way, what did we actually think of the skyliner? Well….. we’d be lying if we said we loved it. But it does add a bit of convenience that oftentimes gets lost when riding the busses.
So while it’s not our favorite thing, it could be much worse. Let’s just say we are somewhere in the middle on this. I know, I know, not extremely helpful, but like everything, it has its pros and cons.
First of all, when you are riding with another party, well the word that comes to mind is awkward. And we were definitely not the only ones who thought so. Our friends on Instagram agreed and so did other guests in line. Yes, we were being nosy. It’s called research.
It’s not like riding a bus with a bunch of other strangers. You’re confined in a smaller space with only a few other guests and, yea it’s just awkward. And think if you got stuck in the gondolas for any period of time with those strangers? Not really appealing for us. Now this isn’t to say that everyone will feel this way; who knows, maybe you could make a new friend on your way to Hollywood Studios! But if you’re unsure, just know that, as of right now, you can request your own. We never had an issue getting one to ourselves and the entire experience is just a lot better.
The ride is smooth and they surprisingly went faster than we had originally anticipated. There are a few areas when the gondola slows down, especially if it has to turn at all, but for the mostpart, it is a continuous ride, only stopping at other stops along your route.
We did love that we never really had to wait too long in line for the Skyliner( this will change with crowd levels) and that we were able to get to where we were going faster than with the busses. Since it’s a continuously moving system, there’s not a lot of waiting, which we really appreciated for days when those Florida temps were high.
We also loved that the gondola stations were spacious, comfortable and covered, since you never really know what kind of weather to expect in Florida. The whole system is super easy to navigate and if you get confused or lost, there are plenty of people to help you at each station.
However, you have a fear of heights, or don’t do great in tight spaces, we wouldn’t recommend riding the Skyliner. With the windows being quite large, you can definitely see all the way down to the ground, which makes it feel more open, but also gives you a very real feeling of exactly how high up you are. And unfortunately, once you’re inside the gondola, you can’t get out until you get to the next stop.
Now, with that being said, we did talk to a few friends on social media who deal with these issues and they said they had no problem riding the skyliner. Only you can make that decision, but just keep in mind, once you’re up there, you’re there until the next stop.
The view from above is pretty cool if you can handle heights, and we even were able to see a fireworks show one night on our way back to the resort!
As with all things, there are good and bad points to the skyliner at Walt Disney World. Hopefully this post has given you a little bit of insight on the pros and cons so you can decide if it’s right for you and your family! Have you ridden the skyliner yet? We’d love to hear your thoughts!