Introducing The New Disney Skyliner

Very soon another big Walt Disney World construction project will be complete and available for guests to enjoy – the Disney Skyliner. This may be “just transportation” to some visitors, but I am so excited for the Disney Skyliner to open and to be able to take my first ride next month. It reminds me of the Skyway in Magic Kingdom that I loved so much as a child and of home here in our Colorado ski resorts.  It’s truly the best of both worlds for me. If you are still having your doubts about what the Disney Skyliner is all about, be sure to check out my earlier post Fact vs. Fiction: Disney Skyliner At Walt Disney World to help answer some of your questions, plus here’s all the latest information about the opening of the new Disney Skyliner courtesy of Disney:

There will soon be magic gliding above the treetops of Walt Disney World Resort when the new Disney Skyliner takes flight September 29, 2019. As much a magic carpet as a complimentary transportation system, Disney Skyliner will soar above waterways and wooded areas alike on its way to theme parks and Disney resort hotels, while wide-eyed guests will be treated to views never before seen.

This “most magical flight on Earth” connects Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios to Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and the new Disney’s Riviera Resort, a Disney Vacation Club resort that will open December 16, 2019. With approximately 300 vacation homes, including various accommodation types, Disney’s Riviera Resort will be available for traditional hotel reservations as well as membership sales.

Nearly half of the approximately 300 Disney Skyliner cabins will be wrapped in whimsical Disney scenes – with beloved characters, fan-favorite movies, attractions and more – giving the appearance that Disney pals are riding along with guests. The cabins will be easy to spot overhead, because each gondola will shimmer in one of eight vibrant colors and feature sleek curved lines.

Disney Skyliner guests will discover bird’s-eye views of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, including the Hollywood Tower Hotel. Approaches to Epcot are equally eye-catching, as the countries around World Showcase Lagoon come into view with iconic Spaceship Earth in the distance.

In addition to convenient theme park access, guests staying at Disney resort hotels accessible by Disney Skyliner will have quick-and-easy transportation to a world of other dining and entertainment options. These include all the fun of Disney’s BoardWalk entertainment district, access to Epcot through the International Gateway station, and restaurants and recreation found at the resort hotels serviced by Disney Skyliner.

Disney Skyliner Stations Are Artful Connection Points

The artful stations along the Disney Skyliner route will feature uniquely Disney designs that reflect their surroundings:

  • The Epcot International Gateway station is inspired by the nearby European pavilions in the park. Covered metal and glass canopies, hand-painted murals themed to flight and ornate metal detailing are all in the Art Nouveau style.
  • The Disney’s Riviera Resort station incorporates influences from the Mediterranean coast to produce an elegant portal for guests.
  • The station at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort connects all three routes and extends the architectural details and bright island colors associated with the Caribbean.
  • The Disney’s Hollywood Studios station reflects the Art Decostyle of the park’s main entrance area. Guests arriving on Disney Skyliner will be awestruck as a panoramic view of the park unfolds.
  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort share a Disney Skyliner station at Hourglass Lake. Colorful structural forms create a space that feels whimsical and contextual with both resorts. Departing the station, guests will glide above Hourglass Lake and ascend to thrilling views of both resort hotels.

Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Co.®, the official specialty coffee of Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort and Disney Vacation Club, will welcome guests with a quick-service location adjacent to the station at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. The menu of coffees, pastries and specialty items will include the new “Toffee Flight Latte” found initially only at the station. The latte blends sea salt caramel toffee and dark chocolate, topped with toffee and chocolate crumbles and a cloud of whipped cream.

Cast Costuming Takes Flight

Disney Skyliner cast members will sport stylish costumes that reflect the sleek, contemporary lines of the transportation system. Costume designers created a mid-century design that recalls 1960s airline travel marking a new era of flight. Clean, streamlined designs of the gondolas are incorporated into the costumes as style elements.

The Newest Way for Guests to Travel Around Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Skyliner joins the network of complimentary Walt Disney World transportation benefits for resort hotel guests allowing them to travel effortlessly around Walt Disney World with a touch of Disney magic. The gondolas join other favorite options such as the world-famous Walt Disney World monorail system along with ferry boats and water taxis, and one-of-a-kind motor coaches.

Fun Facts: Disney Skyliner

  • Project Announced: July 2017
  • Launch Date: September 29, 2019
  • Miles of Cable: 6
  • Number of Lines: 3
  • Loading Stations: 5
  • Number of Gondolas: Nearly 300
  • Maximum Seating Capacity per Gondola: 10
  • Resort Hotels Connected: 4
  • Theme Parks Connected: 2

501 WaysHeading to Disney World soon?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Are you excited to ride the Disney Skyliner?
Please leave a comment; we would love to hear from you!

Fact vs. Fiction: Disney Skyliner At Walt Disney World

If you’ve been to Walt Disney World recently, you have probably noticed one of the massive construction projects throughout the property…the Disney Skyliner. In advance of its opening later this year, fact and fiction abound across the Disney fan sites about this newest addition to the World. Let’s take a look at the Disney Skyliner and see what’s true!

First the fiction…

“There is no air conditioning in the gondolas. I am going to die of heat stroke!”

Living in Colorado, gondolas are very commonplace out here. Let me assure you that while it is true that there is no air conditioning in the cabin itself, you will be just fine. There are vent windows at the top of both sides of the gondola that allow for air flow. If you have never ridden in one, you will be pleasantly surprised at the breeze that circulates in the cabin while in motion.

“I am going to have to run and jump on the moving gondola. That’s just an accident waiting to happen. I am going to sue Disney when I break my leg!!”

Don’t worry, there will be no running and jumping required. Gondolas are spaced far enough apart that when they come in to a station they slow down dramatically for guests to exit and board. The cabins typically move slower than the moving walkway attractions like Haunted Mansion and Spaceship Earth that Walt Disney World visitors are accustomed to navigating with ease. The ones we use at several of the ski resorts here in Colorado allow for plenty of time to load our equipment on the outside of the cabin and then board as it very slowly creeps through the station.

“The Disney Skyliner will never run in the summer, because of the rain, lightning, and winds.”

Believe it or not, gondolas can and do run in all types of weather all over the world on a daily basis. The type of cabins that Disney will be using from Doppelmayr, can operate in rain and wind speeds of over 50mph safely. While Disney may chose to shut down the Skyliner from time to time during electrical storms, that is not necessarily required. For fellow science geeks out there, think of each cabin as its own Faraday cage.

“There’s no way I’m riding that thing, if it gets stuck, I am going to have to repel down a hundred feet on my own!”

It is actually very rare that cabins get stuck, and often even if there is a malfunction, a line can still be brought back in and unloaded. But in a worst case scenario, you have to be evacuated, keep in mind the Disney Skyliner is approximately 50 feet high at its tallest point, not a hundred feet. Here in Colorado, our ski patrol routinely spends time practicing with volunteers evacuating them from the gondolas. With Disney’s stellar record, I am sure they will do the same. In the event an evacuation becomes necessary, safety personel board your cabin from the roof, harness each guest in, and slowly assist you being lowered to the ground. Not necessarily an ideal situation by any means, but it certainly would be an exciting memory from your vacation that you wouldn’t soon forget!

And now the facts…

The Disney Skyliner will transport guests by connecting Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios to four resort hotels – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and Disney’s Riviera Resort.

Not only will there be brightly colored gondolas, there will also be select gondolas adorned with graphics from favorite Disney attractions and movies. Some of the featured themes will include:

  • Mickey & Minnie
  • Frozen
  • Donald & Daisy
  • Coco
  • Lilo & Stitch
  • Moana
  • Finding Dory
  • Peter Pan
  • The Haunted Mansion
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Chip & Dale
  • The Princess and the Frog
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet,
  • Monsters, Inc.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • Ratatouille
  • Toy Story
  • Beauty & the Beast
  • Zootopia
  • Star Wars

There will be five loading stations located at Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Riviera Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and the last one situated between Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation.

The initial testing of the Disney Skyliner has begun in recent weeks, and appears to be going well.

While no official opening date has been announced, Disney has said that it will be ready to go by fall 2019.

Let The Countdown To The Disney Skyliner Begin!

501 WaysHeading to Disney World soon?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Will chose the Disney Skyliner over other Disney transportation?
Please leave a comment; we would love to hear from you!

New Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Experiences Just In Time For Spring

If you have a trip to Walt Disney World planned soon, get ready to check out several brand new experiences debuting this year at select Walt Disney World Resort Hotels. With so much to try, there is sure to be something for everyone to enjoy. Here’s everything you need to know, courtesy of Disney!

Channel your inner Ariel and learn to be a mermaid. Get artful and create your very own Disney masterpiece on canvas or on a wine glass. Sign on to Captain Hook’s band of buccaneers and see if you have what it takes to be a pirate. Indulge in the comfort and privacy of a private poolside cabana.

In time for spring, Walt Disney World Resort is launching new recreation offerings and activities at select resort hotels, treating guests of all ages to even more ways to live out their Disney dreams and create vacation memories to last a lifetime.

New Pirate Experience

Ahoy, mateys! Reservations are open for a new group experience that invites young recruits ages 4-12 into the world of pirate feasting and treasure seeking, high-energy sailin’ and swashbucklin’ fun. The new Captain Hook’s Pirate Crew at Disney’s Beach Club Resort is the latest chapter of immersive experiences for kids at Walt Disney World Resort. Captain Hook will be lookin’ for a new band of adventurers to learn the pirate code and follow clues leading to hidden treasure. As part of Captain Hook’s Pirate Crew, these young buccaneers will comb through the resort and set sail on a pontoon boat around Crescent Lake, in the latest seafaring adventure at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Once the treasure is unearthed, all join in a Pirate Feast that includes selections such as Cannon Meatballs with marinara or macaroni and “gold” sauce for entrees, along with a treasure chest treat or fruit for dessert. Captain Hook’s Pirate Crew is priced at $55 (plus tax) per child; the adventures begin April 28. For more information or to book a reservation, call 407-824-KIDS.

Mermaid School

Guests will feel like they are part of Ariel’s world during the Mermaid School at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels. Guests ages 4 and older will enjoy an hour-long class where they’ll be fitted with a swimmable “tail” and led through activities teaching them how to swim in a pool like a mermaid. The Mermaid School will be offered at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts. Classes are $50/person (plus tax). Bookings (select dates per resort) will open mid-March through 407-WDW-PLAY.

Cabanas at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts

Reservations are open for rentals of the new poolside cabanas at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, where guests can indulge in the lap of luxury. These private hideaways exclusive to Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts provide guests with a bevy of services, including:

  • Padded furniture (chairs and couch)
  • Dedicated Disney Cast Member service
  • Cocktail service
  • Mounted television with cable access
  • Complimentary sunscreen and other skincare products
  • Mini-refrigerator stocked with complimentary soda and water
  • Complimentary fruit tray
  • Plush towels
  • Lockable cabinet
  • Charging outlets for mobile devices

These new cabanas are exclusively for guests staying at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts. Reservations for half and full day rentals are now open for dates beginning March 17 through 407-WDW-PLAY.

New Art Programs

All-new master classes led by professional artists at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels will have guests creating their own masterpieces. Classes range from $35 (plus tax) to $50 (plus tax) per person, offered to ages 12 and older for most experiences. The artful lineup:

  • Win, Paint, Show at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • Wild About Painting, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Painting on de’ Bayou (adults), Painting by the Lagoon (kids), Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter Resort. NOTE: children’s painting class is $30 per person (plus tax); designed for ages 6 and older; accompanying parent required.
  • Painting in the Vineyard, Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts
  • Canvas and Wine Glass Painting on the Boards, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn

Bookings (select dates per resort) are available through 407-WDW-PLAY.

Fishing Excursions

Whether a seasoned sportsman or amateur angler, guided excursions or dockside fishing in the waterways of Walt Disney World Resort are great fun for guests of all ages. Aboard a 21-foot SunTracker pontoon (up to five guests) or a tournament-style NITRO bass-fishing boat (for one or two participants), teeming Disney waters are an angler’s dream. Outings (two or four hours) are catch-and-release. The fleet has been joined by a new NITRO ZV21, operating out of the Magic Kingdom marinas. For more information or to book an excursion, guests can call 407-WDW-BASS.

501 WaysHeading to Disney World soon?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Which new offering are you most excited to try?
Please leave a comment; we would love to hear from you!

Disney Diary: October 2014 Trip Report – Day 1

Walt Disney World Sign

Saturday morning, I woke up bright and early at 1am! Today was the day we were leaving for Disney World. I was so excited I just couldn’t sleep anymore! I got ready, finished up some last-minute packing, wrote a couple of blog articles and then woke up my hubby and two boys at 4am. They were not nearly as excited as I was to be up for the day. After a few minutes, they were all out of bed and on the move and by 5am we were on the road to the airport.

DIAWe live in a suburb south of Denver about equal distances between the Colorado Springs and Denver airports. Even though we are close to the Springs, we almost always fly out of Denver. Everyone in my family likes to fly non-stop and there are lots of options for flights out of Denver. This day we would be flying United Airlines. In the past, we’ve had really good luck and really bad luck with this particular airline so we were nervously hoping everything would go smoothly. By 6am we had arrived at the airport and secured a parking space in the short-term garage. My husband wasn’t traveling with us on this trip, however he was nice enough to get up early and provide “limo” and “luggage” service for us.

After a short walk to the terminal lugging two suitcases and three backpacks, we arrived at the United ticket counter. There we checked our bags and got our boarding passes. So far so good. United still had our reservation and seat assignments, we were able to check our bags with no problems (suitcases weighing in at 45 and 36 lbs respectively, whew!) and our flight was scheduled to be departing on time.

We said good-bye to my husband and then we were off to security. The lines were already very long. Living in a vacation destination ourselves, our airport can be extremely congested. Everything moved smoothly and efficiently and we were on our way within a few minutes. Then we made our way down the escalator to the train. No problems this time, but the escalators at our airport are notorious for just suddenly stopping and flinging people and their luggage everywhere. This happened to us once a couple of years ago and my oldest son has hated escalators ever since. Important tip; always hold on! The train was packed, but we managed to squeeze the three of us and all of our stuff aboard. Two stops later, we were at concourse B and off we went.

By now, we had one hour until boarding. This would be just enough time to have some breakfast, take Dramamine and have a bathroom break before heading to the gate. We secured ourselves a quiet spot on the second floor at a table overlooking the concourse below before setting off to find breakfast. My boys and I have a “no airport meat” rule after my youngest son once ate something bad at the Tampa airport and threw up every ten minutes during our entire 4 hour flight home to Colorado. So we headed out to find a “safe” breakfast. We settled on Woody Creek Bakery and this turned out to be a great choice. We enjoyed some pastries, juice and water along with our Dramamine as we excitedly chatted about all the fun we would be having on our upcoming trip. After we were finished eating, we cleaned up our area, stopped for a quick restroom break and headed for the gate.

Once we arrived at the gate, people were starting to line up in their designated areas for boarding. United has tinkered with lots of different boarding configurations over the years, but I really like this one. Now they are set up more like Southwest, with different boarding groups numbered one through six. We took our positions along with everyone else and they had us all on-board quickly and in an orderly fashion.

Our flight was full as usual and it took a bit of time to get everyone settled and ready for take off. I’ve flown Southwest, Frontier and United in the last few months and I always like to compare the different airlines. This appeared to be one of United’s new planes with nice leather seats. However, the space was really tight and I’m only a little over 5 feet tall. I can only imagine how uncomfortable a taller person would have been. We joked with other passengers about how it will only be a matter of time until they have us all standing on the plane! Another thing I like to compare is the safety announcements. I am a sucker for Southwest’s comedic delivery of the standard safety announcements. When I flew Frontier to Dallas this spring, I was pleased to see that the flight attendant had decided to adopt that same style of delivery. I was hoping that our United flight attendants would be equally as funny. No luck, they were all business. I wonder if that is company policy. I hope they join in the fun someday.

Our flight from Denver to Orlando was fairly uneventful. We had the usual bumps that go with any flight out of Denver. My boys and I had a row all to ourselves where we spent the three and a half hours playing on our Nooks, snacking and eagerly anticipating all the fun that was now just hours away!

Disney's Magical ExpressOnce we landed around 2pm, we put on our MagicBands and hopped the tram to the main terminal where we quickly made our way to Disney’s Magical Express. This free shuttle service is a great perk to staying on site at Disney World. Before we left Denver we had placed special luggage tags on our suitcases that were provided to us by Disney. By using these special tags, Disney retrieves your luggage from baggage claim and delivers it directly to your hotel room. The information says to allow up to three hours for your luggage to be delivered which was fine with us. We walked up to the first check-in point for the Magical Express and my oldest son eagerly tested out his MagicBand. With one quick scan, our entire group was set and then we were directed to the appropriate line. For this vacation, we had booked a room at Art of Animation. This would be our first time to stay at this resort and we were really looking forward to it. We had visited Art of Animation a few times before for dinner, shopping and the arcade, so we were really excited to finally have the chance to stay there. As we waited in line, we were entertained by watching Disney cartoons and making bets on what time we would get on the bus. After about twenty minutes, it was our turn to load up on the motor coach for the thirty minute ride to our hotel. As we rode along, we watched the cute movie hosted by our favorite Disney pals that got everyone on the bus pumped up for the fun that was in store for us. The bus ride passed quickly and we arrived at our resort in a flash.

Next up was check-in. I had already done online check-in 60 days in advance so I was hoping that would speed up the process once we arrived. There was a short line, because it was now 3pm – official check-in time. After about a 10 minute wait, we were at the front of the line. Checking in online paid off, because it took us only about 2 minutes to get our room assignment once it was our turn. Our room was located in the Little Mermaid section (sorry, boys!) on the top floor. We enjoyed a leisurely stroll to our room, checking out the fun sights and sculptures along the way.

Once we arrived in our room, we dropped off our backpacks and quickly surveyed the room we would be staying in for the week. My boys were great sports about staying in a princess room; they were just excited to be out of school and in Disney World! We loved all of the details and decorations in the room and it really felt more “Under the Sea” than princess. Even though it was small, the set up of the room was perfect for the three of us. It was furnished with two double beds, a table with two chairs, a mini refrigerator, a TV, a safe, and a well-planned bathroom that included a curtain that separated the sink area from the sleeping area. That curtain proved very useful so that I could get ready each morning while my boys were able to get a little extra sleep. After I was done snapping a few photos of the room, we headed off for dinner at the Food Court.

Landscape of Flavors is an incredible food court. They offer lots of interesting choices and opportunities to customize your meals. My oldest son and I shared a create-your-own pasta and my youngest son had a meatball sandwich. Our food was warm, delicious and just what we need to get us energized for our night in the parks. Once we were finished eating, we made our way to the bus stop.

The Seas With Nemo And FriendsWe were on the bus in just moments and before we knew it we were arriving at Epcot. Like all good Disney planners, we had created daily plans at our favorite TouringPlans website months ago and booked our Fastpass+ reservations 60 days in advance. Once we made our way through security and scanned our MagicBands at the park entrance, we headed to our first Fastpass+ reservation for The Seas with Nemo & Friends. We basically walked right on the attraction and enjoyed the adventure with our favorite clown fish! Next up was our Fastpass+ reservation for Spaceship Earth. Just like with Nemo, we were on the attraction with no wait. My boys and I had a great time making faces in our photos and choosing funny options for our future. Spaceship EarthOnce we were off the ride, we took a couple of moments to email our silly photos to ourselves. If you’ve never done this before, there are computers at the end of the ride near the large projection of the world. You just follow the steps and in a couple of minutes, you can find your “future” photo and email it to yourself or your friends. After Spaceship Earth, we made our way over to the Land Pavilion. We relaxed with a boat ride on Living with The Land before heading to Soarin’ for our final Fastpass+ reservation of the night. Soarin’ was incredible as always. My boys and I love everything about this attraction including the adorable pre-show film, the smooth ride, the beautiful sights and the wonderful smells! After Soarin’, we decided it was time for a little snack. Sunshine Seasons in the Land Pavilion is by far one of the best counter services restaurants in all of Disney World. It has many delicious entrees to choose from and an even better selection of tasty treats. Since we hadn’t eaten dessert with our dinner, we thought it was time for something sweet. We all decided to go with M&M cookies.

Cinderella CastleAs we devoured our yummy cookies, we discussed whether we should go back to our hotel room and get some rest or whether we should go to Magic Kingdom for a little while since they had Extra Magic Hours that night. Although we had been up since before dawn, we just couldn’t resist the temptation to spend some time at Magic Kingdom. By now it was getting close to 9pm so we quickly walked to the monorail to beat the crowd that would be coming once Illuminations ended. We relaxed during the short monorail ride to the Ticket & Transportation Center and chatted about what we wanted to see at Magic Kingdom. Rather than switching to another monorail, we decided to take the ferry-boat over to Magic Kingdom so that we could say that we rode all sorts of transportation that day (car, train, airplane, bus, monorail and now boat). We took some photos and enjoyed the cool breeze off the water during our 10 minute boat ride. Tomorrowland At NightAfter going through security and scanning our MagicBands at the gate, we strolled over to our favorite part of Magic Kingdom at night – Tomorrowland. After walking around a bit soaking up the sights and sounds, we decided to take a ride on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover to wrap up our night. This is one of our favorite nighttime attractions for its beautiful views. We were even able to see parts of the Main Street Electrical Parade from the ride. The smooth and peaceful ride had almost put us to sleep, so we knew it was time to head back to our hotel. We made our way out of the park with the masses that had just finished watching the parade. Despite the crowd, we were on the first bus (standing room only) and back to Art of Animation in less than 30 minutes. Disney World TVMy boys and I took turns taking showers and then got all comfy in bed to watch what a few minutes of what we call the “Stacey” channel. If you haven’t been to Disney World before, they have several channels on their resort room TVs dedicated to Disney. One channel in particular broadcasts a program that gives you a tour of Walt Disney World and suggests some of the Must Do’s that you should see while you are there. This show is hosted by Stacey Aswad. My boys love watching this channel and it really gets them in the mood for all the fun things that we will be doing while we are on vacation. After getting our Must Do Disney fix, we turned out the lights for a good night’s rest before the big day we had ahead of us.

To book your own Disney vacation with my friend, Jennifer Hardy at Destinations in Florida, just click the image below and fill out the quote form!

Destinations in Florida - Florida Travel Specialists

A Tale of Two ResortsWhether you’re going to Disneyland, Disney World – and especially if you are still trying to make up your mind between the two! My new book, A Tale of Two Resorts, will give you all the information you need to make your choice and plenty of advice for planning the perfect stay! Available from!

Please join me while I relive my amazing Disney World vacation with my Disney Diary. Day 2 (coming soon) features an exciting adventure in Epcot!

Daily Dose Of Disney – Disney’s Art Of Animation Resort Nemo Pool

Art of Animation

Did you know that Disney’s Art of Animation Resort has the largest pool on Disney property (not including the water parks)? It is called the Nemo Pool and it holds 310,000 gallons!