Updated January 13, 2020
The newest form of transportation at Walt Disney World is now my favorite.
The Disney Skyliner does not disappoint, friends! Embrace this travel option for so many stops around WDW.
Read further for what you need to know to get the most out of your experience.
The Disney Skyliner is an Aerial Gondola at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Disney shares all about it here.
Simply put, this travel system connects Disney Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway of Epcot (the back entrance/exit in World Showcase) to the following resorts:
- Art of Animation
- Pop Century
- Caribbean Beach
Debuting late September of 2019, it’s still new to many guests. Some people fear the height aspect of it. Some are concerned about comfort due to the gondola cars lacking air conditioning.
I can’t help the height aspect if it makes you nervous, but I can say that the Skyliner experience is lovely and not at all hot – even in July. Each car includes vents, allowing plenty of air flow.
As you travel, you’ll stay in your Skyliner car if you don’t wish to get out at each stop.
Everyone must exit when the route ends – at Epcot or Pop Century/Art of Animation.
This map from Disney details where the Skyliner travels to:
Tips on Using the Skyliner
- Don’t feel obligated to break down your stroller before boarding. Unlike buses and monorails, you’re welcome to load your stroller onto the Skyliner as is.
- The Skyliner accommodates all guests including those in wheelchairs and ECV scooters. ADA-friendly gondolas are set off to the side for these guests. Cast members will direct you to a specific queue for boarding. You will be able to drive your wheelchair or ECV right into one of these designated gondola cars. So convenient!
- All guests are welcome to use the Skyliner free of charge. A theme park ticket is not required, and you don’t have to stay on site to access this travel system.
- When park hopping is allowed, you can essentially reach 3 out of 4 theme parks via the Skyliner. As mentioned above, there are stops at both Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway of Epcot. If you wish to travel all the way to Magic Kingdom on the Skyliner, get off at Epcot and walk through the park to the main entrance. Exit Epcot and walk to the Transportation and Ticket Center (the TTC). Then, board the Express Monorail, which will drop you in front of Magic Kingdom. This route isn’t necessarily faster than a bus, but it’s more enjoyable for me. I don’t mind the bus system at WDW, but will choose the Skyliner again and again if possible. Remember, though, you can only reach Magic Kingdom as described when park hopping is permitted.
Skyliner Bar Crawl
I’ve done the important research, guys!
Follow this plan to hit all the best bars in close proximity to the Skyliner stops.
- Start at either Pop Century or Art of Animation. Grab a Pina Colava at the Drop Off Pool Bar if you’re at Art of Animation. At Pop, I recommend the Blueberry Lemonade at the Petals Pool Bar.
- After one or both bar stops at Art & Pop, jump on the Skyliner. Your next stop will be the main Skyliner Hub at Caribbean Beach. Get out at the hub and walk toward the Caribbean Beach Resort. Cross the street and follow the path through the “Jamaica” section. Cross the bridge into Caribbean Cay, the island filled with play structures and fun trails for exploring. You’ll then find Old Port Royale, which is the main lobby/dining area for Caribbean Beach. Settle in at the outdoor bar called Banana Cabana. (I didn’t name it.) If you are like me and live a life without queso (not much Tex-Mex in SoCal), order the Chile Con Queso. It’s good! Choose the Banana Cabana cocktail for a refreshing, colorful drink.
- Next, cross the bridge and veer right. You’ll walk through the “Aruba” section of this resort and toward the Riviera Skyliner stop. Before boarding, walk over to Riviera and find Bar Riva, which is on the main floor. Bar Riva is an open air space that has a delicious Brie in Puffed Pastry. It also offers the only Monte Cristo available in all of Walt Disney World. (Monte Cristos are super popular at Disneyland’s Blue Bayou and Cafe Orleans.) I recommend the La Petit Fleur for your cocktail selection.
- Board your final ride on the Skyliner at Riviera, headed toward Epcot. You’ll arrive at the International Gateway, which is the back entrance/exit of Epcot. You are technically finished here, but for extra credit, I suggest walking to Disney’s BoardWalk, which is a dining/shopping area near the BoardWalk Inn, Beach Club and Yacht Club. Stop at Abracadabar, located between Trattoria al Forno and Flying Fish. This bar pays homage to great magicians and illusionists over the years and is beautifully decorated. Try the Parlor Trick if you’re still thirsty. The Abra Fries are super tasty, too.
At this point, you can do one of two things:
Walk back to the International Gateway of Epcot to take your return trip on the Skyliner.
Continue on to Jellyrolls, located just a few doors down, which is Walt Disney World’s only dueling piano bar. This place is popular with bachelorette party guests, those celebrating a big birthday, and anyone who is generally fond of making bad decisions. (That’s me.)
If you visit on a Sunday, prepare yourself for “Cast Member Night”, which includes discount admission for cast. Sundays are a ton of fun, but crowded. If you see a line outside on Sunday, don’t let it deter you. It’s likely for cast members waiting to get in. If you are not a cast member, they’ll usually allow you to enter without waiting.
I don’t have any drink recommendations for Jellyrolls, as I don’t go for the drinks. No one does. Go for the people-watching. If you can’t stomach the white wine offered, grab a White Claw instead.
- For general information on visiting Walt Disney World, take a look at my planning post. For info on what WDW looks like during COVID-19, go here.
- I now book hotel stays with the Skyliner in mind. I love it that much. Pop Century has become my go-to choice and is my absolute favorite ‘Value Resort’. The Skyliner adds so much to this option and the price is right. Caribbean Beach is my pick for a ‘Moderate Resort’ for several reasons and the Skyliner is high on that list. For reviews of each of these properties, visit this post.
- If you’re staying at any of the resorts along the Skyliner route, the open/close times for it will be noted on signs before you board. They’re listed at each stop. If you’re traveling at night, be sure to check what time it stops running.
- Each Skyliner station has restrooms on site or nearby. Ask a cast member for directions if needed.
- The main Skyliner hub at Caribbean Beach Resort has a Joffrey’s Coffee Stand.
- Wait times for both boarding and from stop to stop vary, depending on when you travel. I rarely see a long wait to board, however, at any of the stops. As mentioned before, this travel system is still new to many guests.
- If you’ve been on a ski lift, you know what to expect on the Skyliner. But, Disney’s version feels safer than any lift I’ve taken at even the fanciest of resorts like Aspen and Beaver Creek. Just like a ski lift, the gondola cars seem to speed up when taking off and arriving, so be ready for that, as they can look a little intimidating at first glance.
- For photos, video and more tips for the Skyliner, take a look at my Instagram Story Highlights here.