For our Spring trip, I listed the Disney Skyliner as “pro” in the list of reasons to stay at Pop Century. While their was trepidation due to my high-anxiety towards rides that free-swing from a cable, I assumed that wouldn’t materialize here. These were top notch, full-size, really-for-real gondolas….not the metal skyway buckets of theme park days gone by.
We started off pretty well. Our first park visit for the trip was Epcot.
The walk from our room to the station was a whole 3 mins…so that was a positive. The gondola and station builds were visually impressive and had that new, fresh look that is highly appealing to me. Another positive.
The ride from Pop Century to the Caribbean Beach station was uneventful. I liked how the route sort of hugged close to hour glass lake.
From there, things sort of went downhill. I noticed leaving the Caribbean Beach station that we started to make quite the climb. At that point, I began to think…I wonder what the point of the altitude here is? I mean it’s a nice view, but what are we accomplishing? Do we really have to be this high to clear Jamaica?
It was at that point, near peak altitude, that we stopped. It was a bit of an abrupt stop. So abrupt, in fact, that it felt like King Kong had traveled from Universal Studios circa 1993 and briefly grabbed our gondola. There was no odor of banana breath, so I don’t think it actually was King Kong in retrospect.
Whether it was the altitude, the swinging, the heat…who knows…in a flash, I was again 10 years old and shakily riding the Sky Buckets at Six Flags over Georgia.
It turns out, however, it wasn’t just me that was concerned. In a rare turn of events, my super-easy-going wife turned to me and said “ok, I’m done…we’ll be driving from here on”. The scared look on the kid’s faces only added to the intensity of the situation.
“Sounds good”, I casually said.
Thus was our experience with the Disney Skyliner. Or what I only half-jokingly refer to as potentially the most thrilling ride in WDW.
In hindsight, the gondola ride from Pop Century to Epcot is actually quite the haul. It’s not a super long route, but the slowdown both at each station and occasionally on the line sort of adds up over time. I dismissed it I bit early on, but the idea of getting stuck in a gondola during the heat became a real concern when I was actually riding in the middle of the day.
This, combined with the story relayed above was enough for us to book at a non-Skyliner resort for this summer and never look back.
So should you ride the Skyliner? Or maybe the better question to ask is – should you factor the Skyliner into your resort choice? I mean…if you can slot yourself into the story above and come out with a similar reaction…maybe the Skyliner is not for you and shouldn’t be factored in. It’s probably the ultimate YMMV.
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