A Boat Lover’s Guide to Staying Afloat While Visiting Disney World

Boat services at Disney
Credit: Disney

Are you a boat lover with upcoming plans for visiting Walt Disney World Resort in the near future? Perhaps you’re even under the impression that Disney World is limited to Park and Resort-based activities that include very little in the way of satisfying your own true boating enthusiasm. Well, you’d be wrong to assume so, because Walt Disney World Resort caters to all people, at any age and with any interest.

As for eager boaters looking for every opportunity to satisfy seafaring cravings, there are plenty of possibilities to float your boat! From extra on-the-water recreational boating activities in general to forgoing land-locked transportation when a wonderful watery alternative is presented, not to mention all those in-park attractions that rely on huge quantities of water to carry Guests through the experience at hand, here is the ultimate boat lover’s guide to staying afloat while visiting Walt Disney World Resort.

Disney Ferries
Credit: Disney

Related: 10 Tips for Relaxing at Disney

6. Commuting By Boat

For anyone who has ever traveled via Walt Disney World’s complimentary transportation services, you know that there are plenty of ongoing shuttle buses to take you where you need to go throughout the day. And while these buses serve as the primary commute mode for most, there are other means for getting around as well, which are more dependent on select destinations across Parks and Resorts.

Examples include the three monorail lines, the Disney Skyliner gondola system, and, yes, water transportation by ferryboat services. That last example on the list serves as a boat lover’s perfect way to navigate through Disney World, whenever the option is available. And in some instances, you even have the opportunity to choose between it or a different means, making it more widespread and viable than you may even realize.

Some of the places where you can opt for traveling by watercraft within the Magic Kingdom Resort Area include Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground to the Park, back and forth between Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and the Magic Kingdom, to and from Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and the Park, and back and forth between the Park and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. There is also a connective ferryboat route between the Magic Kingdom and the Transportation and Ticket Center.

Disney Boat

Those looking to travel between EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Resorts in this designated area have the following options awaiting them: Disney’s BoardWalk Resort, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, and even “non-Disney” Disney lodgings, like the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel and the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel.

Those looking to float on over to Disney Springs may do so from the following accommodations: Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, and both Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside as well as Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter.

Disney's Port Orleans Resort Riverside

In most cases, water taxi services throughout Walt Disney World Resort run every 15 to 30 minutes. Click here to learn more about these existing options or to answer any other additional questions you may have.  

Related: 10 Amazing Facts About Walt Disney World Ferry Boats

5. Aquatic Attractions

For those looking to make the most of the many attractions to be found within the four major theme Parks at Walt Disney World, check out these rides of a more aquatic-based nature. Those who love boating and staying afloat aren’t likely to be disappointed with this roundup:

  • Jungle Cruise (Magic Kingdom): A humorous ride through an adventure that features versatile sites and is plied heavily with slack-stick joking and banter.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean (Magic Kingdom): A renowned dark ride classic boat attraction laden with pirate animatronics and storied scenes.
Credit: Disney
  • ‘it’s a small world’ (Magic Kingdom): Another iconic Magic Kingdom-based dark ride classic, this slow-moving float-by takes you on an international excursion portraying children of many different cultures from all around the world.
  • Tom Sawyer Island (raft) (Magic Kingdom): While Tom Sawyer Island is a go-at-your-own-pace tour you make on foot, to get there you must be ferried across via a peacefully-manned raft.
  • Liberty Square Riverboat (Magic Kingdom): The renowned 47-foot Liberty Belle Riverboat that’s such a big part of Magic Kingdom Park takes large amounts of Guests out for peaceful, scenic rides laden with exceptional views that are accompanied by Mark Twain’s narration.
Liberty Belle
Credit: Disney
  • Splash Mountain (Magic Kingdom): While not a boat ride per se, this attraction is a floating log ride with a thrilling drop and there is plenty of potential to get wet.
  • Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros (EPCOT): This anchoring attraction at EPCOT’s Mexico Pavilion takes the form of a slow-moving dark boat ride that takes Guests through varying scenes featuring a lost Donald Duck and two other caballero friends who are looking for him.
Gran Fiesta
Credit: Disney
  • Frozen Ever After (EPCOT): Another dark boat ride in EPCOT’s World Showcase, this Frozen-themed attraction takes Guests on a whole new follow-up adventure to the film franchise that inspired it.

Related: 10 Things We Love About Frozen Ever After at Epcot

  • Living with the Land (EPCOT): This slow-moving boat ride, located within the Land Pavilion, takes Guests on a behind-the-scenes float-by tour about the inner workings of growing food onsite.
  • Kali River Rapids (Animal Kingdom): While not the usual slow-moving boat ride, this wild rafting excursion at Animal Kingdom Is a drenching, grand experience for those looking to rough it the wet way.

Related: 8 Amazing Facts About Kali River Rapids

4. Recreational Resort Boating

Did you know that there are even opportunities to pilot your own boating excursion throughout Walt Disney World Resort? Several marina locations exist around various lodging accommodations, where you can go to and rent out a motorized watercraft for a certain amount of time on the body of water of your choosing. Marina locations where you can rent include Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Beach Club, Disney’s Yacht Club, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

Manual rowers should also take note of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds, which is the go-to place where you can find kayaks and canoes as well. But it is admittedly the up-to-10 person Sun Tracker Pontoons that are the most popular pursuits at Disney!

What’s more, there are no special piloting licenses required for manning your own boat. Anyone 18 or over with a valid driver’s license may take the wheel. And because you can plan in accordance with when and where you choose to have your boating excursion, you can have a lot of customized freedom on hand. One awesome option is planning your outing for one of the nighttime spectaculars, with optimal views from a wonderful water-based vantage point unlike any other. Click here to find out more.

Pontoon boat rentals
Credit: Disney

Related: 10 Things You Never Knew You Could Do At Walt Disney World

3. Fireworks Specialty Cruises

In addition to taking the wheel on your own wonderful watery excursion, Disney offers a host of fireworks specialty cruises as well. Designed to be an ultimate nighttime viewing extravaganza, these experiences come accompanied by sweet treats and under the guidance of a captain, enabling you to sit back and relax a bit as you enjoy your outing accordingly.

Whether you choose to drop anchor at Seven Seas Lagoon or along Bay Lake to watch Disney Enchantment or head for the International Gateway near EPCOT’s World Showcase to take in Harmonious, fireworks cruising is a highly appreciated endeavor for folks of all interests to engage in.

One of the top-rated specialty cruises remains Disney’s one and only Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise. Learn all about the other various specialty cruises offered at Disney World by clicking on the following link.

Ferrytale Fireworks
Credit: Disney

Related: Fireworks Cruises Have Returned at Walt Disney World!

2. Amphicar Tours

For one of the most unique guided motorized boat tours around, you’ve got to check out The BOATHOUSE ORLANDO Restaurant over in Disney Springs! Whether you decide to take in a meal followed by a sightseeing tour out on the water or skip straight to the latter, this is the only place in the world where you can ride along in what seems to be a vintage Amphicar, which drives straight into the waves and then assumes an on-the-water boating excursion that spans roughly around 25 minutes long. Learn more by visiting the website.

Amphicar Tours
Credit: Disney Springs

Related: 8 Things You Won’t Want to Miss at Disney Springs

1. Paddlefish Restaurant

While this upscale restaurant is technically housed within the permanently docked Empress Lilly boat of fame and legend, boaters looking for a true dining/boating adventure should still take note. This model replica edifice of a paddleboat is just that. The “boat” has never actually set sail!

All the same, it’s an excellent way to top off a regal riparian boat-loving experience. While you can choose any seafood establishment, how often do you get to pick one that’s stationed on a boat — even if it’s not actually a real, operating boat? It’s still an undeniably exceptional experience that any boat lover will enjoy immensely.

Credit: Disney

Related: The Top 5 Things About Paddlefish at Disney Springs

We hope we’ve successfully reignited a Walt Disney World Resort-based interest for all you boat lovers to consider. Through showcasing all the boat-centric exceptionalities highlighted here, it’s clear to see that a visit to Disney World doesn’t have to signal separation from the wonderful watery interests that are so near and dear to your heart. Part of the enduring magic of Disney is that it is for everyone — whether your primary interests are landlocked or more integral to seafaring ways!

About Laura

Laura Catherine aka “LC” is a writer who resides in Maryland with her family and several pets. She visits Walt Disney World whenever she can. Additionally, she is a published author of three novels, a children’s book, and has a passion for gardening.

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