For many years now, Disney guests have wished for a better transportation system to take them around the Resort. Monorail resorts are best equipped especially, when traveling to and from Magic Kingdom and Epcot, but Disney resort hotels that relied solely on buses often left guests standing at the bus stop either at the resort or at the park for too long.
In an effort to resolve this issue, Disney is building a travel system in the sky, which we now know will be called the Disney Skyliner.
Rumors had been stirring about this upgrade, and in fact construction had already begun, months before it was officially announced at the July 2017 D23 Expo.
The Skyliner will look a lot like a ski lift; in fact, the whole system is being designed and manufactured by a European company who specializes in ski lift construction. They are building the system to be able to continue operation even during thunderstorms when most other attractions must shut down, but, since the gondolas will be suspended in the air, service may be interrupted in high winds.
Guests will ride inside private cabins, unlike the monorail, which fits several people in one car. The concept art seems to show two people in each cabin, but I would think they will accommodate at least four.
The cabins will be decorated on the outside with popular Disney characters, giving the illusion from the outside that the characters are riding in the cabin with you. Throughout the ride, guests will have a unique bird’s eye view of the resort, some water features, and attractions like you’ve never seen before as the gondolas enter and travel through the resorts and parks.
The Skyliner will have four stops and one turn station near Buena Vista Drive where guests will be able to see the mechanics of the ride. Let’s take a look at the stops!
The station at Epcot will appropriate have a European and Art Nouveau style. The station will be covered with metal and glass canopies and have hand-painted murals on the walls. As guests enter the park in their gondola, they’ll float over World Showcase. You’ll be dropped off at the International Gateway and enter the park through this entrance, near the France pavilion.
As a result, expect to see a decrease in crowd congestion at the park’s main entrance. Also, expect to see a marked increase in guests entering through this back, International Gateway entrance.
Disney’s Riviera Resort
Disney’s Riviera Resort was proposed at the D23 Expo as well, and it will be the next stop on the gondola line once the resort is finished.
The new resort will be located on land that used to be part of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, which is already undergoing some major refurbishment including updated dining and guest rooms.
There’s no word on what the Riviera stop will look like yet since the resort itself isn’t even under construction yet.
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
The next stop is Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, which Disney says will be the hub of the Skyliner system.
The station itself will resemble colorful open air marketplaces often found in Caribbean villages and will have waterfront seating so guests can enjoy the view while they wait for their ride.
Disney also says that guests can transfer at this point much like they do at the Ticket and Transportation Center when riding the monorail. Presumably, this means that guests will have to transfer onto a line that takes them either to Disney’s Hollywood Studios or on to the last two resorts on the line, though there are no clear details about this “transfer” yet.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been under construction for a couple years now, and guests have felt the pain of attractions, restaurants, and shops closing. However, new construction will mean two new lands in the very near future.
Toy Story Land will open in Summer 2018, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open late 2019; this will mean a massive influx of guests wanting to see these new lands. As such, Disney plans to have the Skyliner up and running before Galaxy’s Edge opens.
Guests traveling from Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort will have an unprecedented view of attractions in the studios including a unique view of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
Art of Animation & Pop Century
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Disney’s Pop Century Resort will share a station at the end of the line. This stop will have a colorful, playful theme much like the resorts. Guests will ascent over Hourglass Lake and have panoramic views of both resorts as they head back to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.
Disney Skyliner gondolas: Good idea?