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Up, up, and away! To say the Disney Skyliner is a success, would be an understatement. Within months of its opening, many people were already asking when they would see a Disney Skyliner phase 2. Or, better known as an expansion. It’s a story we’ve tracking well before the most magical flight took off. While many construction projects around Walt Disney World are in a state of “hold“, it doesn’t mean work isn’t being done behind the scenes. By work, we mean concepts, planning, and anything that doesn’t involve concrete or a hammer. Alright, our gondola is pulling into the station, let’s take to the skies and talk the Disney Skyliner phase 2!

We're talking Disney Skyliner expansion

Original Plan

Expand. And, expand quickly. After the launch of phase 1 of the Disney Skyliner, Disney already had plans for multiple expansion phases. Yes, that phases with an “s”. After gathering guest feedback and learning from phase one, Disney began fine-tuning the Skyliner for expansion. The question became, where to next? The two areas receiving the most attention were Disney Springs and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Both of which could use other means of transportation for guests.

Which would come first is up for debate, as some insiders pointed towards Disney’s Animal Kingdom, while others to Disney Springs. Most recently, Jim Hill of Jim Hill Media, stated Disney Springs would’ve been the focus of the Disney Skyliner phase 2.

So what happened? COVID. That one word that says it all. So the real question becomes what will the Disney Skyliner phase 2 entail when Disney is able to restart?

New and Improved Stations

What should every Disney Skyliner station have? A gift shop! The Skyliner is a Disney attraction after all. After conducting months of research, Disney identified three areas of improvement for future Disney Skyliner stations. The first being the addition of a gift shop. One of the biggest question cast members were asked by guests exiting the station is where to find Disney Skyliner merchandise. While, many of the gift shops in the parks had Disney Skyliner pieces, there were no options directly adjacent to the respective stations.

A close second was a place to purchase grab and go food, mainly breakfast items. Currently, the only Disney Skyliner station offering food is at the Caribbean Beach Resort. Guests can grab a quick bite when heading up the ramp to the station, as there’s a Joffrey’s Coffee stand. What Disney learned is that guests looking to rope drop mainly Hollywood Studios are lining up at the resort Disney Skyliner stations up to two hours before park opening. This is mostly occurring at the Pop Century/Art of Animation resort station. While each of these resorts has food items in their respective dining areas, there are no food options for guests who go directly to the station. It would be safe to assume we would see similar lines for Epcot once Ratatouille opens in 2021.

What goes hand in hand with food? Bathrooms! If your anything like us, at some point during a two-hour wait nature may give you a call. This may be the most essential improvement to future stations.

At the moment, it’s unknown if these improvements would only be for the future stations or all stations.

Potential location of a new station for the Disney Skyliner phase 2

Potential Location

While no official announcement has been made for a Disney Skyliner phase 2, there is reason to believe it’s more a matter of when than an if. With Disney Springs the most likely location for expansion, the question becomes where would the station be located? The most likely location would be the Westside for a couple of reasons. First, it would be the shortest distance to connect Disney Springs to the current infrastructure. As we spoke about previously, Disney has learned that shorter distances work the best.

Secondly, the land. Next to the Cirque de Soleil theater, there is plenty of space for a larger Disney Skyliner station. A station that would more than likely be on a similar scale as the Caribbean Beach Resort (if not larger). Looking to the future, it’s very possible Disney expands the Disney Skyliner to other resorts and uses Disney Springs as another main hub for guests to transfer.

Lastly, is guest flow. At the time of writing, the Westside of Disney Springs is the least busy area. But, that could change once Draw to Life opens in the Cirque du Soleil theater. With potentially more resort guests coming to experience dinner and the show, having a station nearby makes it easier to manage crowd flow when the show lets out. Additionally, Disney already has a boat launch in the area to bring guests to other areas of Disney Springs.

Our Thoughts

Expect it sooner than later. At least that’s what we’re thinking in the DVC Duo house. While projects around Walt Disney World are not moving quickly, we would expect the Disney Skyliner phase 2 project to pick steam quickly. The Disney Skyliner has already shown that it improves the guest experience by making it easier to move about property. Especially, during the busy seasons. Additionally, it costs less (in the longterm) and is environmentally cleaner to operate. With Disney putting a larger emphasis on both, the expansion of the Disney Skyliner looks to be a project they’ll ramp back up very quickly (within 5 years). Alright, our gondola is pulling back into the station, time to go find that gift shop!

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