Disney World Skyliner Opening Trip Report Part 2

Welcome to our trip report covering the opening of the Disney Skyliner in Walt Disney World! The primary purpose of trip reports is to supplement our existing content to let you know how our strategies are actually working at a given time! This post covers quick visits to Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom, to say goodbye to some entertainment.

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About This Trip Report

This trip report covers a short, three-night visit to Walt Disney World for the opening of the Disney Skyliner gondola system. The full introduction is available in part 1.

Goodbye Burudika

Despite the Skyliner being the shiny new must-do thing, and being just a short walk from our room, our priority for the day was to go see Burudika at Animal Kingdom. Our favorite piece of Animal Kingdom entertainment—and our favorite piece of entertainment resort-wide—will be having their final performance on October 13.

Honestly, I wish we could fly down for that show because I know the Animal Kingdom and Burudika fandom will make it a memorable one. Unfortunately, we’re running the Chicago Marathon that day, which makes such a trip unfeasible (although, I painfully admit, not impossible).

I’ve bemoaned the loss of Burudika in a few spots. Most notable is an instagram post I wrote on the topic that discusses how watching Burudika is literally one of the moments that inspired this creation of this site:

View this post on Instagram

I was in the middle of writing a post about entertainment cuts...it dawned on me while I was writing that Animal Kingdom had to be next, and I had to prepare myself for it I took a quick break and decided to visit twitter, where I saw a rage tweet from @drunkatdisney and I knew it had happened, literally as I had been writing about it Standing at Dawa Bar and watching Burudika was the moment I knew I had a passion for theme parks. Four months later, I started my site, and now I write about theme parks full-time That moment stays with me, and it’s reflected in almost every post I write, from lengthy lectures about how great Animal Kingdom is, to itineraries that contain loads of afternoon entertainment, to drinking guides that insist your beer be paired with a live show. I'm privileged to be in this line of work, but it doesn't mean every day is fun. Five days at the parks for me is mostly work (just look at any of my ride photos)...One thing I've always enjoyed is the entertainment in Harambe. Theme parks traffic in deception. Gigantic, dark boxes concealed behind facades…and once you’re inside only seeing what the park shines a light on. It’s effective escapism, which is what we’re paying for. But streetmosphere is different. Even if the performers are playing characters, at the heart of it is the honest interaction between you, the performers, and the other guests. Harambe is an amazing spot because it brings guests together (thank you, @joerohde ). Burudika is an amazing band because in a World where people spend hours face-in-phone trying to get an FoP FastPass, they could make people stop for a second to sing and dance. Dance (and song) is one of the oldest forms of communication. Before we spent billions on roller coasters and giant screens we had dance. And it has persisted because it was so simple and so effective at connecting us. “Fun” is easy. To borrow from @tom_bricker, throwing a tennis ball can be fun. “Thrill” isn’t much more difficult. But when a space creates a human connection, it has done something profound. It’s a shame to lose sight of that. cc: @disneysanimalkingdom #saveburudika ❤️

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It's hard to lose something that impacted me so much. And it’s hard to lose something that creates such an emotional connection. But we go on...

We watched two performances by Burudika, eating at Satu’li Canteen in between. Satu’li remains our favorite quick service option at Animal Kingdom (and probably Walt Disney World).

I tinkered a bit with some FastPass+ reservations at Animal Kingdom, but we were heading to Magic Kingdom after Burudika, so nothing really made sense (Flight of Passage is appealing, but has a long experience time; Everest is quicker, but on the far side of the park). 

We were sure to grab a photo with Burudika after the show and to thank each of them. “Everybody say Bu-ru-dika!”

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Magic Kingdom Updates

Leaving Animal Kingdom, we saw that the bus to Magic Kingdom, at the far end of the terminal, was boarding. We booked it over there and got on. Exiting Animal Kingdom at about 4PM we entered Magic Kingdom at about 4:28PM.

I remain a pessimist on Disney’s bus system. Departing your resort, the app will be able to give you estimated pickup times. They still haven’t added this functionality to the parks, though, so you’re often left just spending 20 minutes waiting for a bus when leaving the park. Luckily we avoided that this trip.

We continue to recommend Uber for getting around Disney World in a pinch, although to get to Magic Kingdom you may need to consider the more pricey Minnie Van option.

Our main activity for Magic Kingdom this evening was Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. But party activities don’t start until 6PM to 7PM, so we had some time to kill. (Note that you could start lining up for popular characters like Jack & Sally or the Seven Dwarfs before 6PM.)

One easy thing for us to prioritize upon arriving is PeopleMover. We love PeopleMover, so we went straight there, walking on with basically no wait. I love the views from PeopleMover:

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In there you'll see the new Tomorrowland sign. Here’s another look, and hit the arrow to see the old one (nighttime view) in case you’ve forgotten it:

I don’t really have feelings about this. I’m always curious as to why small changes like this happen. It’s not as if we’ve been promised radical change here. One day the old sign was gone, and a few weeks later the new cupholder sign was up. Okay. Why?

TRON construction continues at Magic Kingdom, with the ride expected to open in 2021. I’m interested to see how this turns out. The ride is expected to be largely identical to the ride in Shanghai, which we’ve seen and ridden.

Before you scroll further, I have to tell you the second picture below is what we expect TRON to look like when it’s finished—spoiler alert.

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The ride building here looks more sizable than anything I recalled seeing in Shanghai. Digging through pictures, though I now see the building in the background in China:

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It'll be fun to see how this area winds up looking in Magic Kingdom. From a ride strategy perspective, this will likely anchor rope drop at Magic Kingdom and Magic Kingdom FastPass+ strategy, with the priority being something like TRON, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, and Peter Pan's Flight. I'm excited to see how that goes.

Before we get to the “big” change at Magic Kingdom, I thought I’d mention a few others:

  • Astro Orbiter is back in operation after an unexplained closure that lasted a few months

  • Mickey and Minnie’s Surprise Celebration has ended; most notably Mickey and Minnie no longer wear there party outfits and don’t greet together in Town Square Theater anymore

  • PhotoPass photographers have returned to Town Square theater, ending the short reign of automatic photo boxes in that spot

  • The Move it! Shake it! dance party has (or will) been reduced to two showings a day (check the times guide)

Goodbye The Muppets Present…(and a Short Rant)

After a distressingly slow visit to Starbucks, we caught the end of The Muppets Present...Great Moments in American History. This is another goodbye for this trip.

I like the Muppets. I like streetmosphere. I like the show. Apparently the labor costs associated with the puppets are incredibly high, but it would just be nice to see Disney instead recognize that this great show is worth the cost. 

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As an aside, I must remind everyone that I understand Disney is a business. And I don’t fault them for business decisions. The question is simply whether this is a sound decision. Guest feedback—calls, tweets, blog posts, etc.—is a sensible way of keeping Disney informed as to what guests want.

Imagine taking a guest relations survey and just answering “I’d like to see more of X if X is good for business.” It serves no one for guests and fans to silently defer to “business justifications.” Your voice is a part of what informs good business decisions.

It pains me to point out a sideways example of this, but I have to. Earlier this year, there was a big controversy when WDWNT ran a story saying Disney would be changing Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room. Now, whether or not you think that story was justified or not, Disney ran a response to it on the parks blog

That means they heard fan outrage (maybe unjustified outrage, as Disney claimed) and responded. Could fan outrage ever get Disney to actually reverse a major decision? Hard to say. But we shouldn’t pretend they don’t hear us.

We walked around the park, rode the carrousel, and then switched into party mode at about 6PM.

Coming In Part 3 — Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

All Your Other Disney World Planning Questions Answered

Don't be overwhelmed by Disney World planning! Take a second to check out our most important content and you'll not only be an expert, but you'll save big $$$ along the way.

Just starting out? Check out our Walt Disney World planning guide! If you're still picking dates, we've got everything you need to know about Disney crowd calendars. For picking your hotel, check out our Walt Disney World hotels guide.

When it comes time to book we’ll help you find discount Disney World tickets. Decide whether you need a dining plan in our Complete Guide to Disney World Dining Plans! And at 180 days out it's time to book those Disney World Advance Dining Reservations!

Don't forget to master your Disney World FastPass+ strategy a few months in advance. We'll keep you out of long lines so you can maximize the magical time in the parks! We've got park-specific guides as well: Magic Kingdom FastPass, Epcot FastPass, Animal Kingdom FastPass, and Hollywood Studios FastPass.

Know what to ride with our guides to: Magic Kingdom rides, Hollywood Studios rides, Epcot rides, and Animal Kingdom rides! Plus learn about the water parks with our guide to Blizzard Beach and our guide to Typhoon Lagoon! And for some some fun prep, check out our Ranking of Every Ride at Walt Disney World.

Finally, before you head out, be sure to check out our to-the-point packing list, 10 essentials you forget to pack for every Disney trip. And if you're interested in saving, there's no better list than our 53 Ways to Save on your Disney trip from start to finish.