The swirling flow of a viscoelastic fluid in a cylindrical casing is investigated experimentally, using aqueous solutions of 0.05–$1.0wt.%$ polyacrylamide as the working fluid. The velocity measurements are made using laser Doppler anemometer. The aspect ratios $H\u2215R$ ($H$: axial length of cylindrical casing; $R$: radius of rotating disk) investigated are 2.0, 1.0, and 0.3. The Reynolds numbers $Re0$ based on the zero shear viscosity and the disk-tip velocity are between 0.36 and 50. The velocity measurements are mainly conducted for the circumferential velocity component. The experimental velocity data are compared to the velocity profiles obtained by numerical simulations using Giesekus model and power-law model. It is revealed that at any aspect ratios tested the dimensionless circumferential velocity component $V\theta \u2032$ decreases with increasing Weissenberg number We. Both the Giesekus and power-law models could predict the retardation of circumferential velocity fairly well at small We. The extent of the inverse flow region, where the fluid rotates in the direction opposite to the rotating disk, is clarified in detail.