Disney Skyliner Review
Cast Member Preview
My family and I were privileged to be invited to the cast member preview of Disney’s new Skyliner gondola transportation system. I have to admit that I was initially worried about the temperature and the reliability of the system. In fact, at one point I swore off this new system as a sauna in the sky, just waiting to experience mechanical failure. To our pleasant surprise, the Skyliner seems to be functioning smoothly and the team operating the system did a phenomenal job.
Loading and Unloading
The new Skyliner stations each fit in aesthetically with their given locations at either Epcot and Hollywood Studios or one of the resort stops on the line. We took Hollywood Studios to Caribbean Beach and were required to disembark to transfer over to the Riviera and Epcot line. This sounds more complicated than it is and we only spent a couple of minutes on the ground transferring from one line to the other. There is an option to disembark at the Riviera Resort Station, but you are allowed to remain in your gondola to continue on to Epcot.
The individual gondolas are slowed to a crawl at each of the stations giving ample opportunity for even the slowest of walkers to safely board their gondola. Strollers can be brought onto the gondolas on the main platform. Additionally there is always a gondola or two pulled off the line at the ready to load those with mobility issues and special assistance requirements.
Exiting the system at Epcot was simple and straightforward and the process felt less obtrusive than the monorail station at the TTC. We did not experience much of a wait, but we were told that even the longest lines in the morning only created a 10 minute wait.
The Ride Itself
Our gondola contained two people who might be hesitant to utilize the new transportation system. I personally run hot, if I could live my life in dry fit material I would, and my son does not do well with heights. I am happy to say that even on a 90+ degree day, with a heat index of 100 degrees, the gondola never became uncomfortable. Even when we were stopped for several minutes on the line, the temperature never seemed to climb too high. I can imagine that a 30 minute delay could potentially create uncomfortable temperatures, but no worse than sitting in line to meet Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story Land without shade.
As for my son and his fear of heights, it didn’t seem to bother him. You feel very secure in the vehicle and even though there was a substantial breeze when we rode, the gondolas did not seem to sway or “rock” very much. My son was so excited to see the different designs of the gondolas. He was so distracted looking for his favorite characters that the height didn’t seem to be an issue.
Each gondola contains two benches, one on your left and one on your right. The maximum capacity is 10 persons per gondola and with our 5 we could easily have fit 5 more without feeling too cramped. An interesting tidbit, each gondola contains an emergency kit with a porta-potty just in case. I am not sure if this puts me at ease or weirds me out.
Our total travel time from Hollywood Studios to Epcot did not exceed 20 minutes, even with several minutes of service delay along our route. As this was the cast member preview, we understood the delay and took the time to enjoy the new perspective of one of our favorite destinations.
When I asked my wife and kids what they thought of the Skyliner, both my oldest my wife told me that they loved the experience and that is was better than they imagined. My youngest adamantly told me he did not ride it, fortunately, I have photographic evidence of his Skyliner nap. Everyone in the family enjoyed not having to deal with the traffic and chaos that the roads have become throughout Disney World. The Skyliner receives our highest marks and we can honestly recommend this new transportation system to friends and clients as it is an efficient, comfortable, and unique way to get from one part of the World to another.
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