Nothing compares to the magic of the Walt Disney World attractions – and the steep price of admission just to experience them. But believe it or not, there’s one can’t-miss ride at Disney World that doesn’t require a pricey park ticket: the Disney Skyliner! This complimentary transportation offering is a convenient and undeniably fun way to get around the massive Central Florida resort and a must for any Walt Disney World vacation. However, it can also be kind of confusing (and temperamental, too). Keep reading for everything you need to know about this high-flying transport, including the route, Skyliner stations, operating hours and more. (Updated May 16, 2023)
The Skyliner, Disney World’s Most Magical Transportation Offering
The Monorail isn’t the only “highway in the sky” at the Walt Disney World Resort anymore. Open since September 2019, the Disney Skyliner sends guests soaring around the Hollywood Studios and Epcot Resort Area in colorful, character-inspired aerial gondolas.
Can you ride the Disney Skyliner for free?
Yes! As with Disney World’s other primary transportation options – including the Monorail, bus system and water taxis (Minnie Vans not included) – there is no cost to ride the Disney Skyliner.
Can anyone ride the Disney Skyliner?
Sure can! While these aerial gondolas can be an easy way to get to and from Epcot, Hollywood Studios and the Disney Skyliner resorts, you don’t need to be a hotel guest or even be going to the theme parks to give this transportation offering a try.
Whether you’re resort hopping or just heading for dinner at one of the hotel restaurants, the Skyliner makes a unique way to soak up some pixie dust and get from Point A to Point B without forking over a fortune for tickets.
Where does the Disney Skyliner go?
Sadly, you can’t use the Skyliner to get around all of Walt Disney World Resort. So, as much as we’d like to hop on a Disney-fied gondola to Magic Kingdom, that’s not possible. Instead, the Skyliner connects Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot theme parks with four Disney World hotels: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Riviera Resort.
What is a ride like on Disney’s Skyliner?
From the moment you step into your aerial gondola until the time you get off, the Skyliner offers a leisurely ride above Walt Disney World, with bird’s-eye views and just enough excitement to keep things interesting. Decked out in vibrant hues, Skyliner gondolas are filled with character. Disney characters, that is!
Many gondolas feature appearances by some of your favorite Disney pals, from classics like Mickey and the gang and Star Wars characters to newer friends from the likes of Guardians of the Galaxy and Moana. If you’re anything like us, you’re sure to get a kick out of the different designs that pass by while waiting for your turn.
Just keep in mind that while they’re certainly cute, these designs also obstruct the view a bit from inside the gondola. For the clearest views of the resort beyond, don’t hesitate to ask a cast member for character-free car.
Inside, the gondolas are outfitted with two wooden benches with enough room for up to 10 people (six if you’re on a gondola with a wheelchair). While there isn’t any air-conditioning, reflective panels on the outside and cross-ventilation windows help to keep things comfortable. Each gondola also has its own onboard audio with narration specific to your destination.
Like the Haunted Mansion’s Doom Buggies, gondolas don’t stop during loading or unloading unless you are riding with a wheelchair or other assistive device. Just walk right in, sit down and enjoy the ride. From there, you’re off to your destination.
For the most part, it’s smooth sailing though things can get a little bumpy when taking turns, coming in for a landing or during rough weather. So, keep this in mind if you’re prone to motion sickness. For an easy ride with as little turbulence as possible, make sure occupants are distributed evenly between the benches to make sure the gondola stays balanced.
As long as you’re mindful (and aren’t claustrophobic or afraid of heights), you’re sure to have a memorable journey and some unbeatable views of the resort. In fact, if you time your flight right, you can even catch the Epcot fireworks glittering over the park at the end of the night.
Is the Disney Skyliner faster than a bus?
Once you’re in your gondola, your actual travel time should be considerably less than what you’d spend taking one of the Disney buses, with most trips taking less than 10 minutes. Yes, the wait can get long at times, particularly in the mornings, but the line tends to move pretty quickly since the Skyliner doesn’t stop to load and unload.
Can you ride the Skyliner just for fun?
Absolutely! While it’s meant to get you between the theme parks and Disney Skyliner resorts, we know we aren’t the only ones who have ridden this delightful transportation option just for the heck of it. Offering up sweeping views of the resort with just a touch of excitement, the Skyliner at Disney World is both fun and functional and more than worth the price of admission – free!
Kids and adults alike will love scoping out the views of Disney below, whether you’re heading out for a fun-filled day in the theme parks, getting in some resort hopping, embarking on a self-led Skyliner food tour, dining at one of the hotel restaurants or simply soaking up the scenery and enjoying the ride.
Is the Disney Skyliner worth it?
Most definitely! For the incredibly reasonable price of absolutely free, the Disney Skyliner gets you where you want to go quickly, easily and with just a sprinkling of pixie dust and pizzazz. Sure, the lines can get long in the AM, but with everyone heading to the parks all once, that’s the same with any form of Disney transportation.
Luckily, the lines tend to move pretty speedily, and the ride itself is shorter in comparison. All in all, between the great views, adorable gondolas, relative privacy, minimal ride times and general uniqueness of it all, the Disney Skyliner is certainly more memorable than taking a bus and well worth the wait.
The only guests who should think twice before hopping aboard are those with a fear of enclosed spaces or heights. If you’re unsure whether the Skyliner is a good fit for you and your crew, consider watching videos on YouTube to get an idea of what you’re in for.
Taking the Disney Skyliner: Routes, Stops, Hours and More
Ready to take flight? Here are some things you should know before using the Disney Skyliner:
Disney Skyliner Stops & Routes
Like the Monorail, Disney’s Skyliner only serves a section of the Walt Disney World Resort. Guests can get on at one of five Skyliner stations, two at Epcot and Hollywood Studios and three at neighboring hotels.
Disney Skyliner Resorts
Four different Disney World hotels offer direct access to the Skyliner, with each touting (or sharing) its own station. They include:
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney’s Pop Century Resort
- Disney’s Riviera Resort
But, these aren’t the only places to stay near this high-flying transportation option. The Epcot Skyliner station located at the International Gateway entrance near World Showcase is also just a short walk from Disney’s BoardWalk and the Epcot-area resorts, including:
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
- Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels
- Walt Disney World Swan Reserve
Disney Skyliner Routes & Travel Times
When taking the Skyliner, you’ll need to decide which station to hop on at – and sometimes, the most obvious choice isn’t always the correct one. Each of the five Skyliner stops is unique, reflecting the design of its anchoring hotel or theme park, from the Art Nouveau stylings of Epcot’s International Gateway station to the fresh pastels and tropical touches of the hub at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort to the bright colors and whimsy of the shared Disney Skyliner station for Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
The Caribbean Beach Resort serves as the central hub station for the Disney Skyliner’s three service routes to Epcot, Hollywood Studios and the Pop Century and Art of Animation Resorts. Similar to the Transportation and Ticket Center for the Magic Kingdom and Epcot Monorails, guests need to transfer here to a different gondola to reach their destination.
The station is located just across the lake from the resort’s Trinidad section. However, guests staying in the Aruba neighborhood may prefer to use Disney’s Riviera Resort station instead due to its closer proximity. Similarly, if heading to Hollywood Studios, Art of Animation or Pop Century, Riviera Resort guests may wish to walk to the Caribbean Beach station instead to avoid an unnecessary transfer.
So, how long is a trip on the Disney Skyliner? It depends on where you’re going to and coming from. (Please note that the following ride times are estimates only and do not include time spent transferring routes at Caribbean Beach or waiting in line.)
From the Art of Animation and Pop Century Skyliner Station to:
- Caribbean Beach Resort – 5-6 minutes
- Riviera Resort – 8-9 minutes
- Hollywood Studios – 10-11 minutes
- Epcot – 18-20 minutes
From the Caribbean Beach Skyliner Station to:
- Riviera Resort – 3-4 minutes
- Art of Animation and Pop Century Resorts – 5-6 minutes
- Hollywood Studios – 5-6 minutes
- Epcot – 10-15 minutes
From the Riviera Skyliner Station to:
- Caribbean Beach Resort – 3-4 minutes
- Art of Animation and Pop Century Resorts – 8-9 minutes
- Hollywood Studios – 8-9 minutes
- Epcot – 7-10 minutes
From the Hollywood Studios Skyliner Station to:
- Caribbean Beach Resort – 5-6 minutes
- Riviera Resort – 8-9 minutes
- Art of Animation and Pop Century Resorts – 15-20 minutes
- Epcot – 15-20 minutes
From the Epcot Skyliner Station at International Gateway to:
- Riviera Resort – 7-10 minutes
- Caribbean Beach Resort – 10-15 minutes
- Art of Animation and Pop Century Resorts – 10-12 minutes
- Hollywood Studios – 15-20 minutes
Disney Skyliner Hours & Wait Times
Disney Skyliner hours depend on the park hours for Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Typically, Skyliner gondolas start running around 60-90 minutes before park open, around 7:30-9:00 AM, and continue operating until about 60-90 minutes after the park close, around 10:00-11:00 PM.
For the most up-to-date schedule, talk to a front desk or concierge cast member at your Disney World hotel or check the signage on site. However, remember that in the event of inclement weather, the Skyliner will temporarily shut down until it’s safe to resume operations.
Wait times for the Disney Skyliner also vary greatly depending on the time of day or even the season you travel. As gondolas are constantly loading, it isn’t unusual to be in your character-bedecked chariot and on your way in 10 minutes or less.
That being said, during the early morning rush to rope drop or on your way back to your room at the end of the night, don’t be surprised if wait times for the Skyliner climb to 45 minutes. Never fear – there are a couple of ways to avoid the rush!
If you’re hoping to use this highway in the sky for rope drop (which is really one of the only times we recommend you don’t), try to be in line at the Caribbean Beach station between 30 to 45 minutes prior to the Skyliner’s start time for that day. Of course, if you’re coming from another resort, plan to arrive even earlier to account for your travel time to Caribbean Beach and transfer.
Ultimately, the best way to make sure you’re at the front for rope drop at either Epcot or Hollywood Studios is to book a room at one of the Disney BoardWalk-area hotels and walk it. Not only will you wind up saving a lot of time waiting, but you’ll also get in a bit of a workout. In fact, clocking in at around 20 minutes from Epcot’s International Gateway to Hollywood Studios’ park entrance, walking is typically quicker than the Disney Skyliner when you add in the time spent in line.
Want to take the Skyliner home at the end of the night? We don’t blame you! It’s a downright beautiful time to ride. Unfortunately, everyone else leaving the Skyliner parks have the same idea. Rather than joining the masses, wait it out in the theme parks with some souvenir shopping or meander over to the BoardWalk for a drink for 20 to 30 minutes to let the lines clear out.
Finally, for those staying at one of the Disney Skyliner resorts, be aware that the Skyliner may sometimes be your only transportation option heading to Epcot or Hollywood Studios. This is because Disney buses between those hotels and parks are often suspended or greatly reduced when the Skyliner is running.
Inclement Weather and the Disney Gondola
While the Disney Skyliner does continue to operate in the event of rain, lightning in the area or high winds will temporarily suspend operations until the bath weather recedes. During inclement weather, signs are updated with the temporary closure and buses begin operating in place of the Skyliner. Signage is placed around the Disney resort hotels directing guests where to go and, if needed, a temporary queue is created for the park buses.
Items Allowed on the Disney World Skyliner
All set for your ride? Here’s what you can and can’t bring with you on the Skyliner:
Can you take food on the Disney Skyliner?
Yes! Whether it’s a morning coffee or late-night snack, you’re more than welcome to bring food and drinks, as long as they have a lid, on the Disney Skyliner. The only beverages not permitted are those with booze, so be sure to finish off your drink from the pool bar before you get on.
Are strollers allowed on the Disney Skyliner?
Yup! Strollers are more than welcome on the Disney Skyliner – as long as they fit Disney’s requirements and fit through the gondola opening. The opening for each Disney gondola is 30 inches wide. This is more than enough space for a single or tandem stroller to roll right on through with your kiddo still in it. However, side-by-side double strollers are too wide and must be folded shut on the platform prior to boarding.
Can you take a wheelchair or scooter on the Disney Skyliner?
We’re pleased to say that guests who require a wheelchair or ECV to get around don’t have to miss out on the Disney Skyliner. Accessible accommodations are provided for guests with mobility needs, including a dedicated loading zone where gondolas stop completely for safe loading and unloading. Disney gondolas with a wheelchair or scooter accommodate six guests rather than 10.
Have you taken flight on the Disney Skyliner? Which Disney World transportation option is your favorite? Let us know in the comments! Using Disney transportation is quick, convenient and easy on the wallet (AKA free!). For even more savings, check out our Disney World discount tickets.