Disney World Skyliner Opening Trip Report Part 6

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 a look at the Riviera Resort Skyliner Station (good for use from Caribbean Beach, too) and our trip home, including “The Club” at MCO.

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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.

Riviera Resort Skyliner station

I have to confess that for much of this trip, I actually thought the Skyliner station at Riviera Resort was closed because the resort itself hadn’t opened yet.

Then I started noticing more and more people getting off at it. So when I looked into it, I read (forget where, sorry!) that it can be a good station for guests staying on the north end of Caribbean Beach.

The Skyliner’s Epcot line essentially runs along the west side of the resort—from north to south it passed through Riviera Resort station, passes over the Aruba and Jamaica rooms, and then terminates at the Caribbean Beach station across the pond from the Trinidad rooms.

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Guests in the Aruba rooms will prefer the Riviera Resort station for transportation to Epcot. To Hollywood Studios, Riviera Station will probably still be faster, even though you have to transfer at Caribbean Beach station.

But this may not hold in peak hours in either direction because we still don’t know how guests at this station will get space on the gondolas (which are emptied and reloaded at the Epcot and Caribbean Beach stations) once Riviera Resort opens.

To check the situation out firsthand, I spent the morning before we left walking around Caribbean Beach. I’ll compile the times in our review of Caribbean Beach resort (eventually), but here it suffices to say that the Aruba buildings are about 90 seconds from Riviera Resort station, and Old Port Royale is about 7 minutes from the station.

Here’s a photo gallery from this beautiful morning walking around the resort:

Magical Express and The Club at MCO

Our Magical Express pickup was just a tad late at 9:45AM instead of the scheduled 9:40AM. Considering the bus was full when it got us (save four seats for the people getting picked up), I’m pretty impressed it was only 5 minutes late.

We arrived at MCO at 10:21AM. With TSA PreCheck and CLEAR (not necessary today, honestly), we were through security in ten minutes and off the APM in our concourse by 10:34AM.

I started this trip report by bemoaning Frontier’s move to Terminal 5 at our home airport, O’Hare. Well, Frontier also flies out of gates 1-29 at MCO, which is a great concourse. It has a Starbucks (with a really long line, though), Burger King, Cold Stone, and The Club.

The Club is a lounge that is a part of a huge number of lounge access programs. For us, it only matters that it’s a Priority Pass lounge. We have Priority Pass memberships through several credit cards.

I’m hoping to do a full writeup about The Club sometime soon. Until then, here are some photos from The Club, which was serving breakfast when we arrived:

Conclusions

This was an interesting trip. Besides the emotional goodbyes, it was interesting to see how much changed…and how much didn’t.

The Skyliner is a huge addition to the resort. Somewhat strangely, we find ourselves in the middle of two pulls.

On the one hand, we write with the idea that our readers get to the park for rope drop and stay until close, maybe hopping midday. If you do that, the Skyliner is a nice addition but shouldn’t impact choosing your hotel or any of your planning.

But because of how we travel these days, we actually got a lot of use out of the Skyliner from Caribbean Beach. We don’t take full days at the park too often, so a quick midday ride back to the resort is super convenient.

Besides the Skyliner, the big question going in was how crowds would be. After a Rosh Hashanah bump, things look to have calmed down again.

We don’t expect big changes until November 3, when Extra Extra Magic Hours end. Then a few days later, Christmas season begins.

But the real fun begins December 5 when Rise of the Resistance opens at Hollywood Studios. That will represent a big shift in touring strategy at that park, and possibly the debut of Disney’s greatest ride yet!

All Your Other Disney World Planning Questions Answered

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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.

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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.

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