The new gondola system at Walt Disney World connecting Art of Animation, Pop Century, Caribbean Beach, and Riviera Resorts with Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot was Disney’s worst kept secret…and it’s now official!
Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts announced that this gondola network will be called Disney Skyliner, and will soon give guests a bird’s-eye view of Walt Disney World. The gondolas will feature retro-inspired designs, and feature favorite Disney characters on the exterior.
In addition to the Skyliner gondola system, Walt Disney World announced a point-to-point transportation service in the style of Uber or Lyft called “Minnie Vans.” These vans will feature Minnie Mouse stylization and are expected to have a flat-rate fee per trip.
Let’s dig a little deeper into both of these transportation announcements for Walt Disney World…
Let’s start with the Minnie Vans, which has been rumored recently, but without much concrete info. This is interesting. The rumored flat rate fee of $20 per use would make it competitive with taxis, and about double the cost of an average Uber or Lyft fare.
In both cases, that’s probably “close enough” that a lot of guests will opt for the Minnie Van rather than a taxi or ride-sharing service. Even though Uber and Lyft have significant market penetration, a lot of people are still unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the service (when I go home to my small hometown in Michigan, Uber is not even an option because there are no drivers). Some comments on our Tips for Using Uber at Walt Disney World post demonstrate skepticism about the safety of the services, too.
I suspect for a lot of these people, Minnie Vans will present a much more appealing alternative. That is, if Walt Disney World doesn’t just squash Uber and Lyft completely by banning them from property or charging them fees akin to what we’ve seen at airports. There’s nothing requiring Walt Disney World to allow those third party services, so how they treat them going forward will be interesting.
It’ll also be fascinating to watch how much traction the Minnie Vans gain. One of the reasons the gondola system is being built is because Walt Disney World’s transportation infrastructure (read: the roads) is overburdened, and a service like the Minnie Vans only has the potential to exacerbate that. (Eliminating Uber and Lyft could help offset that.)
Perhaps Walt Disney World will test the waters for the Minnie Vans with a slow, under the radar roll out without much in the way of public announcements or marketing. One of those, “it’s there for people who know about it, but we aren’t going to market it heavily” kind of things.
Overall, I’m excited about the gondolas and indifferent to the Minnie Vans. We enjoy using Uber and Lyft as an alternative to the bus system when the waits are too long, but would prefer for Walt Disney World’s transportation system to be more efficient so we can just use that. The gondola system is a step in the right direction in that regard, and even the buses have been getting better in recent years (the wait time boards are great–now please add that feature to the My Disney Experience app!).
What do you think about this Disney Skyliner gondola system? Any sightline or other concerns this project raises? Does it make you more excited to stay in the Skyliner Resorts? Are you concerned that this will cause prices to increase at the hotels along the Skyliner? Thoughts on the Minnie Vans? Share any questions or additional thoughts you have in the comments!