In with the new, out with the old? For many years the iconic transportation system of Walt Disney World has been the monorail. It’s up there with meeting Mickey and getting a picture in front of the castle as a “must do” on a Walt Disney World vacation. I would even say it’s the top free thing you can do at Walt Disney World, no park ticket needed. Over the past year, Disney has been constructing a new transportation system, the Disney Skyliner. Could the new Disney Skyliner takeover as the iconic transportation system of Walt Disney World? Will it become the new “must do” on your next Disney trip?

It is definitely a rare feat for a transportation system to a”must do” status. Outside the Walt Disney Monorail there are few transportation systems that are “must do”. We have the cable cars in San Francisco, river boats in Chicago, gondolas in Italy, the NYC subway, and the London Tube. To be iconic I would say the number one requirement is when people ask you “did you go one the transportation system?” when you say you visited specific place. Let’s discuss what we know about the Disney Skyliner and see if it will live up to its hype.

Disney Skyliner Route for Initial Phase
Disney Skyliner Route – Phase 1 – Photo Credit

What We Know  

The initial phase of the Disney Skyliner will connect the Caribbean Beach Resort, Art of Animation and Pop Century, with both Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Carrying guests in gondola style cars (that will hold between 8 and 16 people) the Disney Skyliner will move at 16 mph and be equivalent to 50-60 buses per hr. That’s a lot of people!  

The burning question is “will the new Disney Skyliner cars have A/C?” Well, according to Jim Hill of The Disney Dish podcast, they will have a/c, but not A/C. What do you mean Nate? Is there a difference between a/c and A/C? Apparently there is a big difference between them in the gondola industry. The A/C is what we are all used to – air conditioning. The small a/c stands for air cooled, which means that the gondolas are cooled by the air passing through them at the 16 mph. Hmmm. Isn’t this Florida, land of the 105 degrees (heat index) in September? We’re gonna need that WARM HUG from Olaf!

By this time next year we should be seeing the Disney Skyliner up and running. If everything goes as planned, Walt Disney World is rumored to expand the system to include Animal Kingdom, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Coronado Springs, and Disney Springs. Say bye bye to traffic!

Concept Art for the Disney Skyliner Station at Epcot's World Showcase
Disney Skyliner Station Concept Art for Epcot’s World Showcase

Will It Be A “Must Do”?  

Absolutely! There is no doubt that. Once the Disney Skyliner opens everyone will want to take a ride on it. It’s basically an attraction. The views alone will be magical – Like Soarin’ but in real life. Plus, think of those firework shows – how cool would it be to see the new Illuminations show at Epcot while riding the Disney Skyliner? WOW!! Additionally, there is something nostalgic about the Disney Skyliner, it reminds me of the old Skyway at Magic Kingdom (definitely dating myself on this one).  

The big question will be around who gets to ride it? Will you have to be saying at one of the resorts, or have dining reservation at one of the hotels? Based on the efficiency of this new system, my guess would be that there won’t be a limit. But just in case, make your ADRs for the new restaurant at the Caribbean Beach Resort.

Disney Monorail - Could it be replaced by the Disney Skyliner as the new iconic transportation system
Monorail Heading Out of the Contemporary Resort

What About The Monorail?

Will the Disney Skyliner replace the monorail as the iconic transportation of Walt Disney World? It’s a great question. Over the past few years we have seen the monorails start to show their age. I like to think of the monorail like Carl Fredrickson from UP. Early on in the movie, Carl is a curmudgeon. Not because he’s mean but because he’s had no attention for years. SPOILER ALERT! By the end of the movie, Carl find his youthful vigor thanks to Russell and Dug. The monorail is in the same place right now and luckily they’re getting the attention they need. By the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World we should be seeing new monorails! That’s right, no more stinky monorails!! Happy Dance!!

We’re on the brink of a transportation revolution at Walt Disney World. Soon there will be two, yes two, iconic “must do” transportation systems to ride on Disney property. Would you ride the monorail or Disney Skyliner first? Let us know your pick below or on our Facebook page!

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