Walt Disney World guests have a variety of transportation options to choose from when travelling to and from the parks. From the ubiquitous bus transportation to the monorail and water taxis, not to mention the new Minnie Vans, there are lots of fun ways to get to your destination. But as Disney is always looking to improve its transportation system, a new gondola transportation was announced at D23 Expo in 2017 – and it has Disney fans buzzing with anticipation. So what do we know about this exciting new transportation option at WDW? Read on to find out…
First things first! We know the gondola system will be called The Disney Skyliner Transportation System. It will add to existing transportation, giving guests more options and ideally lessening wait times for other transportation modes.
The Disney Skyliner will link two Walt Disney World parks and three resorts, and guests will experience the thrill of riding high in the sky and enjoying unparalleled views. There will be Skyliner stations at Art of Animation, Pop Century, Caribbean Beach, Hollywood Studios and Epcot, at the International Gateway. We even have details on the look of specific stations!
Disney’s Art of Animation and Pop Century Resorts will share a station, so it’ll be designed to fit into both resort schemes, and will definitely have a whimsical feel. Once guests leave the shared station, they’ll rise above Hourglass Lake and be treated to stunning views of both resorts.
At Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, the Skyliner station will remind guests of open-air markets in the Caribbean, and it will share the colors and architectural style of the resort. Guests will be able to transfer to another gondola route at this station, so it promises to be a busy one!
The gondola station at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios will be designed to look right at home with that park’s existing bus stations and the park entrance. If you’re travelling from the hub at Caribbean Beach Resort, get ready for a fantastic glimpse of some famous Hollywood Studios icons (ahem, Tower of Terror…).
Guests boarding or disembarking from the Skyliner at Epcot are in for a treat! The station here will mirror the European pavilions within the World Showcase (think painted murals, 18th century ornamental metal work, and canopies of glass), and you’ll be able to see the World Showcase as never before while you soar above it.
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3. Skyliner Cabin Theming
Disney Skyliner cars themselves will of course enjoy the best of Disney theming! You’ll find artwork of your favorite characters, as well as of your favorite theme park rides. The artwork will continue outside of certain gondola cabins, making it look like Disney characters are riding with you!
We know a bit about the technology and specifications of the new Disney Skyliner. The cabins are made by Dopelmayr (D-Line Omega IV-10 SI D cabins, to get really technical). It’s been estimated that the Skyliner can transport 4000-5000 guests per hour in each direction! There are few gondola systems in the world with such a high capacity. And the cabins will enjoy other top-of-the-line perks you won’t find in other gondolas: ceilings that soar to over seven feet, roomy seats, and a large interior that will allow for wheelchairs and strollers. It’s been speculated that the system may use a passive ventilation system to keep guests cool without needing air conditioning.
5. Opening Date
Gondolas have been glimpsed strapped to trailers in Walt Disney World, and if you’ve been on property lately, you’ve no doubt seen the construction in progress on the stations and towers. Even though the Skyliner system was only announced last year, work seems to be progressing rapidly. So, the bottom line: when will the Disney Skyliner open? Our best intel points to an opening date in late spring to early summer 2019. This would place it before the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in late fall 2019, which will be helpful for the influx of visitors that are predicted to descend upon Hollywood Studios. Walt Disney World is definitely the place to be in 2019!