Disney Skyliner! Yes? or No?


I’m sure you’ve all heard of the new Disney Skyliner transportation option, they sure started off with a bang when they malfunctioned the first week that they were open.  So, what are our opinions of them?  Katie and I differ, but I’ll tell my side of the story, she can add hers later!

I love the skyliners.  I rode them in October while it was still quite warm  REALLY HOT in Orlando, and I was never uncomfortable or sweaty inside my gondola.  While they are moving, there is a very nice breeze in them, I rode both day and night and enjoyed them immensely.  They never stopped unexpectedly, and the ride was very smooth.

As someone who has as of late become rather angry frustrated unenthusiastic about the Disney bus service… I was happy to see a new mode of transportation for my skipping around the Disney property.  Buses are consistently getting fewer and farther between, what used to be “no more than a 20 min wait” is often a 45+ minute wait.  My family had begun to opt for Lyft or Uber, and once for my birthday a Minnie Van for our vacations, but that can start to add up quickly.  We were just so unenamored (yes, I know that isn’t a word) with the bus wait that it was deemed worth the expense to get where we were going faster and in a more comfortable fashion.

So, the Skyliner opened, and Prince Charming and I rode them a couple days, both just to ride and have the experience, and also to actually get from place to place.  I rode it first, and I must admit that there is ONE thing that is… ummm… well, it takes getting used to.  When it comes into the station, you REALLY feel like you are going to hit the gondola in front of you.  It is scary the first time or two that you do it.  And given that that is the very thing that happened the first week they opened, it will cause a good bit of pucker-factor.  So, I rode it alone first, then PC rode with me, and I told him about it, but I’m not sure he believed me until we came into the first station.  It’s quite the experience.

Once you get past that butt-clenching moment (which by the way really doesn’t translate on video, I tried), we enjoyed the views, and the ease of getting around the world.  We rode as far as the HUB at Caribbean Beach resort and turned around to go somewhere else…  it is still technically faster to walk from Epcot to HS, but I would estimate that it is about the same amount of time as the friendship boats between the two.  It is DEFINITELY faster than waiting on a bus, going to a resort, and waiting on another bus to go to the other park.

Pro Tip: Don’t be upset that you don’t get a character gondola, the plain ones are actually easier to see out of!

As I said, it was breezy and not uncomfortable inside when we rode, although, when you come into the stations and you lose the breeze, it does get a bit stuffy, but that’s only for a couple minutes, and your doors open while you are in the station, so you can sometimes catch a breeze.  Also of note, I rode alone or just me and PC so, we weren’t stuffed in like sardines either – that may be a factor that I didn’t experience.  I will also admit that the temperature does get another 10 degrees or so warmer at times in Orlando than when I rode it, it was only 95 the week we were there, so, I can’t vouch for how it handles the 100+ heat, but it was more than tolerable for us, pretty comfortable.  And, I also can’t talk to what they are like when it does happen to hit winter in Florida, it may be pretty chilly…?

The details:

  • 10 people can fit inside each Sklyliner Car
  • They are essentially always moving, just very slowly in the stations
  • There is an emergency kit inside should the worst happen again and you get stuck in one

My fears going into the Skyliner experience were less that I was going to get stuck, and more that my fear of heights would make it a miserable experience for me.  That was not the case, I did brave it and look down a couple times, but even that didn’t bother me.  Mostly, I was looking out at the hotels, or parks, or landscape – I was enjoying the scenery out ahead or behind.  I was able to see SO MUCH of the new construction in France at Epcot where they are building the new Remi ride.  I felt like I’d been given a sneak peek.

My other quasi fear about them came from seeing them from the ground before I rode them.  They appear to be pitch black.  No lights at night.  And that freaked me out a little.  But, turns out, they are fully lit inside, but somehow through Disney magic (or dark glass, or something really simple I’m sure) you cannot see the light from the ground – nor are the occupants lit up or on display, you are fairly private inside your gondola.  I mean, if you look really hard and try you can see people in another gondola as you pass them, but you are both moving fairly quickly, so it’s not a privacy invading thing.

I have to say that this makes me want to stay at skyliner resorts more, I stayed at Caribbean Beach once, as a senior in High School (more than a couple years ago), and didn’t REALLY have it on my list of must do’s again… but now, yes, I hope to be staying there in 26 days, because I am excited to use the Skyliner as my primary mode of transportation.  As a DVC member, I’m excited to try out Riviera, it looks beautiful!

What do you think?  Are you intrigued? Nervous? Scared? Excited? Or have you already ridden them and can’t wait to go back? Or never again?

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