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Colorful Disney Skyliner gondolas will begin transporting guests from Epcot and Hollywood Studios to Disney World Resorts on Sept. 29.
Suzy Fleming Leonard, FLORIDA TODAY

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA – Disney magic takes to the skies this weekend, as almost 300 colorful gondolas take flight, whisking Orlando theme park guests between parks and attractions.

Disney Skyliner opens Sunday, with six miles of cable and five stations linking Walt Disney World's resorts with Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot Center. 

“You get a new appreciation for Walt Disney World whey you see it from up there,” Thomas Mazloum, senior vice president of Walt Disney Resorts, said Friday during a media preview of the gondolas.

The gondola cars, painted in cheerful shades of red, blue, green, yellow and purple, glide above the resorts. A gentle breeze keeps passengers cool, while they take in birds-eye views of Epcot's Spaceship Earth and the Swan and Dolphin Resort.

About half of almost 300 Disney Skyliner gondola cars are wrapped with character themes. (Photo: Suzy Fleming Leonard/FLORIDA TODAY)

Character themes wrap about half of the nearly 300 10-passenger cars, giving the illusion of Mickey, Chewbacca, Snow White and other Disney favorites floating above.

“It's going to be super convenient for our guests who are visiting from Disney's Art of Animation Resort, Disney's Pop Century Resort, Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort and, in December when we open Disney's Riviera Resort,” said Disney ambassador Stephen Lim. “Those will connect with our Skyliner Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot.”

While the Skyliner provides transportation between the resorts and parks, any Disney guest is welcome to hop aboard for a ride.

Mazloum, who grew up in Austria, said the Skyliner reminds him of home.

“That's not Australia,” he said. “No kangaroos there, but lots of mountains, and seeing gondolas and cable cars brings back some of my most cherished childhood memories of wonderful family vacations.”

The new Disney Skyliner, opening Sept. 29 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, connects resorts with Epcot and Hollywood Studios. (Photo: Suzy Fleming Leonard/FLORIDA TODAY)

The Skyliner is an example of how Disney World is constantly changing and expanding, especially as the resort's 50th anniversary approaches in 2021, Mazloum said.

“We're always looking at how do we make the guest experience that much better,” Lim said. “And for us at the Walt Disney World resort, we are the size of San Francisco and twice the size of Manhattan, so we are always looking for more efficient ways to transport our guests from our resorts to our theme parks. … Our guests can be from here at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort to Disney's Hollywood Studios in five minutes.” 

The Skyliner joins other iconic Disney modes of transportation that include the monorail, ferry boats, water taxis and motor coaches.

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