Disney Skyliner: Convenience is cool

Disney Skyliner: Convenience is cool
Photo Credit: Jamie Biesiada

The Disney Skyliner, a transportation system of some 300 gondolas shuttling guests between two theme parks and four resorts, is a great value-add to the resorts it serves. 

The Skyliner quickly and efficiently moves guests around the Walt Disney World Resort. Plus, it's just plain cool.

The Skyliner opened in September, connecting Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios with four resorts: Art of Animation, Pop Century, Caribbean Beach and Riviera (opening on Dec. 16). 

I rode the Skyliner for the first time this week, expecting it to be a good way to get around. I didn't expect it to be as fun as it was.

You enter a gondola as it slowly moves past the load station. A cabin can fit up to 10 guests -- six if there’s a wheelchair or stroller in the cabin. 

The cabins aren't air conditioned. It wasn't an issue the day I rode because temperatures hovered around 60 degrees, but I've heard that the built-in vents do a good job circulating air when they're open.

Then, the gondolas are whisked dozens of feet upward, giving you a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding area.

That's probably the best part of the Skyliner: the views. Epcot is especially impressive from up high, looking down on the iconic Spaceship Earth. The Skyliner takes you directly past the France pavilion, where you can grab a great shot of the Eiffel Tower and get a sneak peek of the construction on Remy's Ratatouille Adventure, an attraction due to open next summer.

The Skyliner hearkens back to the Skyway in Magic Kingdom, a gondola ride that provided great views of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. It opened in 1956 and closed in 1994. Today's Skyliner is far more advanced, and it's nice to have a gondola attraction again.

It's also nice to watch from the ground: the colorful cars, some with Disney characters printed on wraps, are a fun sight from the parks and surrounding roadways.

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