In a special event featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse and many other Disney character friends on Friday, September 27, Walt Disney World officially dedicated their newest transportation system: the Disney Skyliner.
Beginning Sunday, September 29, the gondola system will finally begin its operations taking guests from Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Riviera Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort to and from Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot. The new system will take to the skies with resort guests on a high-flying adventure that not only provides scenic and stunning views of Walt Disney World but also peace of mind from the system’s extensive safeguards.
First announced in July 2017, the Disney Skyliner gondolas have taken shape and the result is a cozy and cute cabin featuring imagery of everyone’s favorite animated friends in addition to other elements ensuring for a comfortable and safe ride.
Similar to other non-stop transportation systems, the gondolas are continuously moving. Upon stepping onto the loading platform, the gondola you’ll take flight on will be moving as you enter. As the cabin approaches the loading area, its doors automatically open allowing for guests to step on.
Once stepping on, parties of ten or less can sit on two benches. The benches are made of wood but are quite comfortable for the short trips you’ll make during each flight.
On the doors, guests can find a list of different safety warnings, some of which include to remain seated at all times, not to attempt to open the cabin’s doors mid-flight, to supervise children, to not smoke, to hold the hands of young ones, and to not attempt to rock or tip the gondola.
For the safety of guests, all gondolas are equipped with an emergency call box, which can be activated easily with the simple touch of a button.
Above, guests will find a loudspeaker that broadcasts alerts and updates on your location during flight.
During the time of my trip on the Disney Skyliner, it was around 11:00 a.m. in the morning with a temperature closer to about 85 degrees outside. I can honestly say it was warmer standing at the Skyliner’s station than it was while riding in one of the gondolas up in the air.
While riding, the wind pushes through four vents located near the top of the cabins creating a nice breezy environment within. This breeziness isn’t very present while at the loading station. Although, fans are strategically located around the loading area to push air inside of the gondolas while guests load.
As some might already know, the gondolas were designed without air conditioning. However, upon speaking to Trevor Ocock, general manager of transportation at Walt Disney World, he discussed the fact that the gondolas were created for the sunshine state, without the need for an electric cooling system.
“The gondolas were designed specifically for this environment…we have window openings in the front and the rear which maximizes airflow–so when guests ride they’ll definitely notice the breeze that comes through. Even on the days during the Florida heat, the amount of air that comes through really keeps you cool and it’s very pleasant,” said Ocock.
“The first day I went on it, it was 94 degrees and the amount of air that came through…The words I heard from others were ‘pleasant,’ ‘comfortable’ and ‘windy,'” he continued.
While discussing weather conditions, Ocock also went on to talk about more extreme weather conditions Central Florida is known to face throughout the year. Specifically–severe thunder and lightning storms. Visitors to Orlando, Florida are quite familiar with the intense lightning and rain that can come from these weather conditions. But fear not, as Ocock says Disney is more than prepared.
“It is designed for Florida weather, with an abundance of safety. While they have lightning detection systems on the actual Skyliner cabins, we will be monitoring weather just like we do for any attraction or any of our other transportation modes. So when we do have to pause for an afternoon thunderstorm with lightning nearby, just like we would with any mode, guests will utilize another form of transportation until the storm moves through and we can start back up, including busses,” said Ocock.
While continuing on the subject, Ocock continued to discuss the many extra steps Walt Disney World has taken to maintain the safety of the new transportation system–including safety practices.
“We have benchmarked all over the world to bring the best and safest practices to this system. Just like any attraction or any mode of transportation we are constantly reviewing and practicing our safety procedures. We work very closely with Reedy Creek Emergency Services to be able to practice and have scenarios for any type of situation. As our system was designed and built we kept safety as the highest priority and we are well trained and well prepared should we ever have to be able to utilize those,” said Ocock.
Upon asking, Ocock did not provide specific details of how guests would be evacuated from the gondolas in the case of an emergency. However, what Ocock did say was: “Because we travel over many different terrains, at any point in the system we’ve been able to practice on how that would operate. Each scenario would be different so it is something that we have practiced for and are well prepared for.”
While experiencing the system, guests will be able to take in some breath-taking views of Walt Disney World. Some of these include views of Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, Spaceship Earth, a glimpse of the upcoming Ratatouille attraction, and much more.
If you’re journeying to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you’ll get to take in views of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
For guests who are not staying on property, the Disney Skyliner is still available for you to ride. Just keep in mind you may have to change cabins to get on different tracks to different locations. The system is free to all Walt Disney World guests.
If you want to book a trip to experience the Disney Skyliner for yourself, we suggest you contact our preferred travel agent partner Academy Travel! They can offer you expert advice and a no-obligation quote on a dream vacation. Academy Travel provides their services at no extra cost to you and you can click here to get a no-obligation quote and discuss your vacation with a Vacation Planners at Academy Travel.