The Magic Kingdom Skyway was a gondola lift attraction that connected Tomorrowland and Fantasyland. Although it closed over two decades ago, soon a new “Skyway” will open up at Walt Disney World. Read on to find out the history of the original Skyway, and the future of the new “Skyliner”.
The Magic Kingdom Skyway was an opening day attraction at Magic Kingdom in October 1971. It was open for 28 years before it closed to make room for new attractions, according to the official statement by Disney. The Skyway had two stations, one in Fantasyland and one in Tomorrowland. Although the attraction closed in 1999, the stations were not removed for years after. In fact, one of the stations still exists today!
The Skyway had amazing view of the park and attractions. The map below is from the Kodak Guidebook from 1993. In the top left corner, you can locate the Fantasyland Skyway Station. The gondolas traveled above the main area of Fantasyland and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea before making a sharp right turn near the Speedway. The journey continued with the gondolas passing Space Mountain before touching down at the Tomorrowland Station.
You may remember the Fantasyland Station from when the Skyway was open, or as that strange brown building that was used for stroller parking. After the ride closed, the pylons and wires were removed from the park, but some of the equipment remained in the building.
This striking image shows a park you may not recognize. Look behind the Skyway and you can see the Haunted Mansion in the background. Tom Sawyer’s Island was not yet built, which is why this view looks so strange.
The image below shows a closeup of the Fantasyland Skyway Station, courtesy of Yesterland. After the station closed and the wires were removed, the front area was used for stroller parking. Today, the Tangled Restrooms are located here.
Below are some images of the views you would get from the Skyway. This was the only opportunity for guests to be lifted above and see what Fantasyland looked like from above.
The Skyway also had a station in Tomorrowland, complete with a huge waterfall. Guests would board on one side of the station, and exit on the other.
This is what the station looked like after the Skyway closed. You can see that the machinery was gone, but the upper half of the building remained.
Today, this station still remains! They removed the top half of the building and the waterfall and built a bathroom ton the ground floor. Unless you remember this ride and station, you wouldn’t know that this was the same building.
Walt Disney World Skyliner
The Skyway as we once knew it may never return to Magic Kingdom. However, Disney has completed a gondola project that will connect some of the parks and resorts, called the Skyliner.
The Skyliner connects two theme parks, and 3 resorts. Epcot has a station at the International Gateway. Hollywood Studios has a station located near the main entrance of the park. The resorts with connections include a shared connection at Art of Animation and Pop Century, and a station and transfer hub at the Caribbean Beach Resort. Once completed, the Riviera Resort will also have a station.
The gondolas can hold up to 10 people at a time. Each are decorated with different characters and have windows that can open partially (the gondolas are not air conditioned).
The Skyliner offers an alternative to buses, monorails, and boats and an amazing birds-eye view of Walt Disney World. It will officially open in Fall 2019!