Park of the Week: Islands of Adventure

New Skyliner gondola system dedicated at Walt Disney World

September 27, 2019, 4:52 PM · The Walt Disney World Resort this morning officially dedicated its newest transportation system — the Disney Skyliner, a gondola system that connects two theme parks and several hotels in the middle of the resort.

The Disney Skyliner system begins on one end at the International Gateway entry to Epcot, from where the system continues to the site of the upcoming Disney’s Riviera Resort. There, the system makes a dogleg south toward Disney's Caribbean Beach, from where you can connect to Disney's Hollywood Studios or continue to the Art of Animation and Pop Century resorts. You can ride from any destination on the Skyliner to any other, provided you make the necessary switches at the appropriate stations.

The Doppelmayr gondolas are wrapped with colorful designs featuring Disney characters and seat up to 10 people each. (It's six on gondolas designated for wheelchairs.) Each gondola also includes several air vents, which will keep everyone comfortable on the speedy ride between destinations.

These gondola systems have been used at other theme parks and resorts around the world, including at Universal Studios Singapore, whose heat and humidity can make a Central Florida summer feel like San Diego in springtime. (So yeah, that whole manufactured online outrage over the gondolas not having heavy, expensive, superfluous air conditioning units onboard always was nothing more than rage-soliciting clickbait. End rant.)

The Disney Skyliner officially opens to the public on Sunday.

Replies (10)

September 27, 2019 at 9:31 PM

"So yeah, that whole manufactured online outrage over the gondolas not having heavy, expensive, superfluous air conditioning units onboard always was nothing more than rage-soliciting clickbait"

Except people have been posting videos of them on the SKyliner with a thermometer showing the internal temperatures to be in the 90's, so I would hardly call that manufactured outrage or click bait. Lol. 90 degrees is HOT.

September 27, 2019 at 11:17 PM

I think the temperature inside will be manageable as long as there aren't any extended breakdowns.

September 28, 2019 at 7:20 AM

The EPCOT/DHS area has always been very well connected between the two parks and the Yacht and Beach Clubs, the Boardwalk and the Swan and Dolphin Resorts. The Skyliner has expanded that connectivity to include the Caribbean Beach, Pop Century and the new Riviera Resorts. WDW is only getting better! I cannot wait for the DAK area to continue to develop and expand.

September 28, 2019 at 11:07 AM

I would assume that the high traffic times would be in the morning and evening, when temps are not so high, but I also assume that they have emergency plans in case of breakdown, I would hate to be stuck in one during the heat of the day.

September 28, 2019 at 1:15 PM

Early comments by those who have experienced it..."those with a fear of heights or enclosed spaces might want to skip this."

....nope nope nope nope nope nope..not for me.

September 28, 2019 at 3:44 PM

Edmplur, If you put a thermometer in a convertible car on a 100 degree day, it will show 100 degrees. Start driving at 60 and you complain a lot less about the heat.

The ventilation of a moving gondola is what makes it comfortable. The click bait is taking people's basic ignorance of physics, and general desire to be outraged by something to get worked up over something that's not an issue

September 30, 2019 at 8:11 AM

How fast do these cars move? They look like they're moving at a pretty good clip in the video.

September 30, 2019 at 6:11 PM

Never mind. Found something that said about 11 mph cruising speed. That is moving pretty well.

October 1, 2019 at 8:28 AM

It seems the biggest issues so far with the system have been the lines at the Caribbean Beach hub and the hours of operation that don't quite cover all of the park hours.

It seems as though the fears regarding the heat inside the pods were somewhat overblown, but I wonder if those have been mitigated by a debut that strategically avoids the hottest, most humid period of Orlando's summer. While most guests are reporting decent airflow within the pods, it's still not necessarily "cool" inside if it's hot and sticky outside - if the air temperature is 90, it's still going to be 90 inside the pods. Also, the airflow inside the pods is more circulatory, and not necessarily a "breeze" that will cool already hot guests. The passive system is essentially replacing interior air heated by body heat and replacing it with exterior air, so it's not really much of a "relief" on a hot day as opposed to a bus with even mediocre AC, which replaces hot interior air with cooled air circulating throughout the interior. If you're already dripping in sweat when you get on the system, you're going to keep sweating in the pod, which is going to feel uncomfortable and likely to make those in the pod with you uncomfortable too.

I think the hope is that the lines eventually subside as the novelty of the system wears off. Let's face it, there were probably thousands of APs flocking to WDW over the weekend just to try the new system, which added a bunch of unnecessary demand for it. However, the lines are definitely something to consider and monitor since most guests are likely to have to perform a transfer at the CB hub station. This is a pretty significant flaw of the system, especially for park hoppers that were seeing total travel times of 30-45 minutes to get between DHS and EPCOT over the weekend, which is almost double the time it takes to make the brisk walk or for a boat between the 2 parks. Disney may need to start posting wait times at the hub station throughout the system since once guests make a decision to travel to the hub, they're committing to it, and may get frustrated from having to wait in a second, even longer line just to get to their final destination.

The hours of operation are going to be a continuous work in progress. However, I do think if Disney is going to offer on-site guests "Extra Extra Magic Hours" at DHS, they need to provide all forms of transportation to the park whenever the park is open. If the Sweatliner is not going to start running until after 6 AM, that doesn't really help. I could see them not wanting to run the system at full capacity at the crack of dawn, but if they want guests to use the system instead of the buses, they need to make sure it's running when guests need it.

October 1, 2019 at 9:26 AM

whereas we have been having our usual hot september temps, for the most part, the month hasn't been so bad and we have enjoyed a nice breeze which is unusual. and it's been really nice in the evening this year, which is also unusual. i think the skyliner's ventilation system will be tested in full next july. stay tuned.

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