Our First Ride on the New Disney Skyliner!
The Disney Skyliner has been open for a month. It joins the buses, monorail, friendship boats, resort boats, and Minnie Vans. The Skyliner uses gondolas, like at ski resorts, to connect Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot with Caribbean Beach, Art of Animation, Pop Century, and (soon to open) Riviera Resorts. Three separate lines branch from a central hub at the Caribbean Beach Resort.
A Rough Start
One week after its debut, the Disney Skyliner left passengers stranded for 3.5 hours. I’ve been stuck on rides, but to be literally left hanging for that long would be really bad! It took 9 more days for the Disney Skyliner to get back up and running.
No more major incidences had occurred by the time we rode it. That very weekend, though and the following week saw two more breakdowns: one for an hour and another for 25 minutes.
Disney reports that in its first month of operation, that the Disney Skyliner transported more than a million passengers. They obviously still have some kinks to work out.
Hollywood Studios Station
We took the Disney Skyliner from Disney’s Hollywood Studios to Epcot. The wait in the queue at Epcot was almost nonexistent. We pretty much walked on. Our first leg took us from Hollywood Studios to the Caribbean Beach Resort hub. Each car holds a maximum of six people. Trams continuously arrive and take off every few seconds. The exteriors are decorated with an array of Disney characters like Peter Pan, Buzz Lightyear, Remy from Ratatouille and on and on.
Caribbean Beach Station
Liftoff was smooth and swift. We enjoyed the views while gliding along. A deer fed below us. When we stopped at the Caribbean Beach Resort, we had to disembark. Each tram does a loop from this hub and to another station. Our next queue to go to Epcot was just a few yards away. It was really easy.
While waiting, the Disney Skyliner stalled for 4-5 minutes. This made us a little nervous. Fortunately, it resumed operation without more problems. I am thankful that I was on the ground when it occurred!
The line to Epcot stops at the not-yet-open Riviera Resort. After successfully taking off, we slowed down, but didn’t stop at the Riviera. We got a good view, but no good photos, of the new resort. Soon we were lifting back up and were cruising to Epcot.
The Epcot Terminal of the Disney Skyliner lies at the Epcot International Gateway between the U.K. and France pavilions in the World Showcase. This is where Friendship Boats dock and where people staying at the Yacht & Beach Club and Boardwalk Resorts enter by a short walk.
What to Expect
On a moderately busy Saturday in October, 4 weeks after opening, the Disney Skyliner gave us a comfortable and efficient ride. Our two waits were less than 5 minutes each (plus the 4-5 minute time for breakdown). Hollywood Studios to Caribbean Beach Resort took 5 minutes; Caribbean Beach to Epcot about 10. Our total trek took less than 25 minutes. Not Bad. This is similar to taking the Friendship Boats or briskly walking along the canal and Boardwalk.
We enjoyed our trip. It was smooth, comfortable, and scenic. It took me back to riding the Magic Kingdom Skyway which closed in 1999. The Disney Skyliner makes a nice addition to the Walt Disney World transportation options; when they finally get all the kinks worked out.
Click here see how we rank the Walt Disney World transportation options.
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