In November 1999, the original Walt Disney World Skyway in Magic Kingdom Park closed, much to the chagrin of the attraction’s loyal fans. The closing was preceded by the 1994 closing of its Disneyland counterpart and the Skyway in Tokyo Disneyland in 1998.
For those of us who have memories of the Skyway and the amazing views of the Kingdom it offered as you sailed across the park, there was a hope that someday the brightly colored gondolas would once again emerge from the little Swiss shack in Fantasyland. That hope was dashed when the final vestige of the Skyway, the Fantasyland Station, was demolished in 2012 for the Tangled-themed guest comfort station.
But there are BIG plans on the horizon for Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts. On July 15 at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, it was confirmed (after months of rumors) that a new Disney Skyliner would be constructed that would connect Epcot with Disney’s Hollywood Studios and some of the resort hotels near those parks. Plus one brand new resort hotel.
The new resort hotel will be the Disney Riviera Resort, which is expected to open in fall 2019. The resort will be the 15th Disney Vacation Club Resort. With its impressive long driveway lined with palm trees visualized in the concept art, the name and the architectural style offer the impression of a lush coastal resort. Rumor has it that construction on the Riviera Resort and the Disney Skyliner aerial gondola system is underway, with the resort nestled between Epcot Center Drive and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.
Other Walt Disney World Resorts that will be connected to the Skyliner are Disney’s Art of Animation Resort along with Disney’s Pop Century Resort, and a separate station at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. The Skyliner also will have a station at the Epcot International Gateway.
From the concept art, the Skyliner gondolas will have playful wrap art of Disney characters. Rather than create large gondolas that transport many guests but are spaced out due to their weight, the Skyliner gondolas appear to be the size of the original Skyway gondolas (or perhaps only slightly larger), but glassed in. The smaller size means less weight and more gondolas on the line to move a greater number of guests.
But the best part of the Skyliner — it provides an alternative means of transportation around the Walt Disney World Resort and a birds-eye view of everyone’s favorite happy place. How cool is that?
(Concept art © Disney.)
To learn more about Kathy and read her recent posts for WDW Radio, visit her author page by clicking the link on her name at the top of this post.