Disney Skyliner: A Complete Guide

by | Apr 17, 2024 | Walt Disney World Resorts, WDW Blog

Here’s everything you need to know to take flight across Walt Disney World Resort and make getting to and from different resorts or theme parks a breeze with the Disney Skyliner.

Buses, boats, and cars might be the most common ways to get around Walt Disney World, but there’s another, even more magical mode of transportation: the Disney Skyliner! Since it first opened in fall 2019, the Disney Skyliner has been a favorite among guests. Not only does the Skyliner make traveling between resorts and theme parks easy, but it’s also an enjoyable ride –– with some stellar views of Disney World property.

As one of Disney World’s free transportation options for guests, you can climb aboard a Skyliner gondola and soar off to your desired destination. Wondering how to navigate its routes, wait times, and more? As Disney World experts ourselves, we’re sharing all the details you need to utilize the Disney Skyliner like a pro.

What is the Disney Skyliner?

Disney Skyliner, gondolas mid-air against blue sky

Photo by Laurie Sapp

The Disney Skyliner is a totally new form of transportation at Disney World. Well, to be honest, it’s not entirely new – it’s a gondola system that’s actually reminiscent of the Skyway at Magic Kingdom Park, which closed in 1999. However, the Disney Skyliner sits outside of Disney World’s theme parks and is a true mode of transportation around the resort versus an attraction.

As a gondola lift system, the Disney Skyliner transports guests via enclosed cabins, which rise up and move across the sky via cables. The system operates out of a central “hub” at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and connects additional hotels (and two theme parks) with those cables.

You can use the Disney Skyliner to travel to and from:

The Disney Skyliner Gondolas

Guests ride the Disney Skyliner via large gondolas, which are spacious enough to fit up to 10 people. There are nearly 300 gondolas on the system, and each one uses reflective panels and cross-ventilation to keep guests inside cool (that’s right: there’s no air conditioning!).

Boarding the gondolas is easy: They move continuously, so the gondola will keep moving as it enters a station and opens its doors to passengers. 

Worried about bringing a stroller onboard? The Skyliner’s gondolas are actually designed to accommodate them! There’s enough room inside for strollers to roll right onboard, no folding required. However, if you have a larger stroller, you can also use the wheelchair queue for extra space.

Speaking of wheelchairs, if you’re using a mobility aid or wheelchair, there is a separate queue at each Disney Skyliner station. Here, you can take extra time to board a gondola; the gondolas move to the side to allow for a stop. Just make sure that your wheelchair or mobility aid fits within a 30 x 48 inch space so you can board with ease.

Once you’ve boarded your gondola, you’ll hear announcements via an onboard audio system that’s unique to each Skyliner route and destination. On the outside, the gondolas are decorated with different Disney characters and attractions, including the Haunted Mansion, Mickey Mouse and the rest of the Fab Five, Finding Dory, Pirates of the Caribbean, and more.

Disney Skyliner Map and Stations

Disney Skyliner Map

Map courtesy of Disney

Wondering how to navigate the Disney Skyliner’s different routes and stations? You can find a full Skyliner map here to help you travel across Disney World.

It’s important to remember that Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is the hub of the Skyliner. As a result, you’ll need to get off at this station and transfer to a different gondola route if you’re hoping to travel longer distances.

You’ll need to exit your gondola at each station on the Skyliner system except for Disney’s Riviera Resort. This is the only station that allows guests to stay on (unless it’s where you do need to stop and exit!).

Each station is themed to its destination. For example, the central hub at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort features vibrant colors and architectural cues that match the resort’s buildings. The International Gateway station at EPCOT is designed to blend in with the European pavilions of the World Showcase, with ornamental steel, hand-painted murals, and glass and metal canopies overhead.

How Long Does a Skyliner Ride Take?

Since each Skyliner gondola can carry up to 10 guests, lines for this mode of Disney World transportation tend to move fairly quickly. Even the longest lines can have a decent pace – and at peak times of the day, the queue for the Skyliner can move faster than bus or boat transportation lines.

Once you’re onboard a Skyliner gondola, it’ll take just a few minutes to reach your destination. While ride times can vary due to crowd levels, weather, and other unpredictable factors, we took the Skyliner ourselves and timed the routes so you have a general idea of the ride time from each location. Find out how long it’ll take to get from stop to stop below.

Disney Skyliner sign at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort station

Photo by Laurie Sapp

From Disney’s Art of Animation Resort or Disney’s Pop Century Resort to:

  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort: 5 minutes
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 10 minutes
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort: 8 minutes
  • EPCOT: 18 minutes

From Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort to:

  • Disney’s Art of Animation and Pop Century Resorts: 5 minutes
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 5 minutes
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort: 3 minutes
  • EPCOT: 10 minutes

From Disney’s Riviera Resort to:

  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort: 3 minutes
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 8 minutes
  • Disney’s Art of Animation and Pop Century Resorts: 8 minutes
  • EPCOT: 10 minutes

From theme park to theme park:

  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT: 18 minutes

Note: These estimates don’t include the time required to disembark and change lines when you reach Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.

Disney Skyliner Hours

Daily hours of operation vary for the Disney Skyliner, so you’ll want to check the posted hours for the latest information during your visit. The Skyliner can change its hours based on theme park hours, weather, the time of the year, and more. Different routes will open and close at different times of the day, too, meaning some may open before theme parks open, while others will stay open after park closing.

Generally, however, the Skyliner will open one hour before Early Theme Park Entry and close 90 minutes after EPCOT or Hollywood Studios closes. On nights with Extended Evening Hours, the Skyliner will stay open until one hour after the park closes (but only limited sections may remain open).

Frequently Asked Questions About the Disney Skyliner

Disney Skyliner station

Photo by Laurie Sapp

Can you ride the Disney Skyliner for free?

Yes, the Disney Skyliner is free for guests to ride. There’s no theme park ticket or resort hotel reservation required – just head to one of the stations and hop aboard! 

Just note that if you’re headed to Disney World just to ride the Skyliner, you may need to pay parking fees wherever you leave your vehicle.

Is the Disney Skyliner faster than taking a bus?

Typically, the Skyliner is faster than Disney World’s bus transportation. Because it’s continuously moving, there’s no downtime – guests and lines can keep moving as more gondolas enter each station. 

It’s also worth noting that a lot of the resorts on the Disney Skyliner route don’t have buses that will take guests to EPCOT or Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If inclement weather shuts the Skyliner down, bus service can become available, but otherwise, you’ll need to rely on the Skyliner to get to and from these theme parks.

Where is the best place to get on the Skyliner?

The best place to board the Skyliner is from your resort! If you’re staying at one of the resorts on the Skyliner route, you’ll find it incredibly easy to walk right to the station and get onto a gondola.

If you aren’t staying at a resort with a Skyliner station, then it’s easy to get on at either the EPCOT or Disney’s Hollywood Studios station. Then, you can travel anywhere on the route with ease.

Posts by Heather Adams

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Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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Authored by
Heather Adams

Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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