Since 1971, Walt Disney World has been known for its exotic and innovative transportation options, from the steam trains that circle the Magic Kingdom, to the monorail connecting that park and its surrounding hotels. Now you can add the new Disney Skyliner to that list, and although the Doppelmayr-built gondola system made headlines soon after its opening for unfortunate operational issues, the cable cars are once again up and running. We documented our recent Disney Skyliner flight from Disney’s Hollywood Studios to Epcot in this POV video that lets you virtually preview the cable car voyage:
My first Disney Skyliner experience started mid-afternoon at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where only a few guests were waiting to board. A cast member helpfully informed me that the system would continue operating until 90 minutes after both parks had closed, and within only a couple minutes I was up and away.
The Skyliner journey from Disney’s Hollywood Studios to the Caribbean Beach Resort provides scenic views of the parking lot and passes through a forested wetland that was clear-cut and paved over to create the gondola’s right-of-way. Luckily, this leg only lasts about 5 minutes, leaving you off at the system’s central hub; all guests must exit here and re-queue to continue.
At the Caribbean Beach Skyliner station, you can select between three destinations: Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Art of Animation/Pop Century, or Epcot, by way of the new Riviera Resort. My wait for a car from here to Epcot was again only a matter of moments because the gondolas load continuously.
If a member of your party has mobility issues, be aware that there is a separate loading station where the cars can come to a complete stop without interrupting other passengers. Be sure to look for it if you have doubts about stepping into a moving gondola.
The trip from Caribbean Beach to Epcot passes through the Riviera Resort, where you may optionally exit or simply stay seated. Travel time for this portion is around 11 minutes, but you experience a greater variety of sights, including a sneak peek at France’s upcoming Ratatouille expansion as you come in for a landing at International Gateway.
My total Skyliner travel time from the front of Disney’s Hollywood Studios to Epcot’s rear entrance was just over 16 minutes. That is almost 10 minutes shorter than the same trip by water, assuming a boat was departing exactly as you arrived.
Even more impressive was my experience departing Epcot at the end of the night. I watched the Epcot Forever fireworks from France and quickly headed to the nearby exit. I was in line at the Disney Skyliner’s International Gateway station by 9:16 p.m., waited less than 10 minutes for a gondola, and stepped off at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios terminal at 9:39 p.m. Veteran Walt Disney World visitors know that it can easily take more than 23 minutes just to board a resort bus at closing time, much less transfer to another park.
Despite its dramatic growing pains, I found my round-trip on the Disney Skyliner pretty painless, and I plan on choosing it over the boat or bus options whenever possible. At least the Skyliner hasn’t yet caught on fire, unlike a certain other iconic Disney vehicle.
For all there is to see and do at Walt Disney World, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter here. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.