Disney World Boats: Using Water Transportation with the Mouse

DISCLAIMER: Our posts may contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, you won't pay a penny more, but we'll get a small commission, which helps us to keep things going at Seconds to Go. Thanks!

When it comes to Walt Disney World transportation, boats seem to be the most underrated mode. In reality, Disney World boats are one of the best, and most relaxing ways to get around and enjoy the participating parks.

Where do Disney World Boats Travel: Covering Boat Routes?

Disney World boats, also known as water ferries, typically travel between resorts and the nearby theme parks. Most of the boats are small or mid-sized with the exception of two.

The Richard F. Irvine and Admiral Joe Fowler are the largest ferries. They carry guests directly from the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) and Magic Kingdom, and then back. These ferries can hold up to 600 guests.

The remainder of the boats travel from resorts to different parks such as Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Disney Springs. It is also worth noting that the boat lines do not cross to other parks.

Disney World boat outside of Beach Club
  • Save

To clarify, Magic Kingdom resorts will not have access to any other park via boat. But resorts with access to EPCOT via boat will also have access to Hollywood Studios, but not the Magic Kingdom.

Below, you will find a list of resorts that have access to boat transportation along with where the boat will take you.

Deluxe Resorts

Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge

  • Yellow flag boat route travels from Magic Kingdom to the Grand Floridian and Polynesian
  • Blue flag boat route travels from Magic Kingdom to the Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness
  • Red Flag boat route travels from Wilderness Lodge to the Magic Kingdom

Swan and Dolphin, Yacht and Beach Club, and the Boardwalk Inn and Villas

  • The Friendship Boats travel from the above resorts to Epcot and Hollywood Studios in a loop
  • It is worth noting that from many resorts, walking to the parks can be faster during peak travel times

Deluxe Villas

Old Key West and Saratoga Springs

  • Boat transportation directly to Disney Springs

Moderate Resorts

Fort Wilderness

  • Blue flag boat route travels from Magic Kingdom to the Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness
  • Green Flag boat route travels from Magic Kingdom to Fort Wilderness (this is the only way to get to Magic Kingdom from Fort Wilderness)

Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside

What is it Like to Take a Disney World Ferry?

Riding one of the Disney World boats is a relaxing journey, but the experience does vary based on the boat you ride. There are large ferry boats, smaller open-air boats, and boats in between.

First, lets start with the large Ferries you will board at the TTC to Magic Kingdom. These boats are large and can fit up to 600 guests. The experience on this boat is the least private.

These boats are double decker ferries with two staircases leading to the upper deck. Guests can sit on plastic benches or stand to better see the views of Seven Seas Lagoon. These boats can be a bit loud, but not terribly so.

Next, there are the mid-sized water taxis that service Magic Kingdom and resorts such as Polynesian Village, Contemporary, Grand Floridian and Wilderness Lodge. These boats are about one-third the size of the larger ferries.

The medium water taxis offer a covered experience, which can limit views. This experience is ideal in wet weather but can be warm during the summer as a lot of the breezes are cut off.

These boats offer plastic bench seating and can be loud once the motor gets going.

Friendship boat heading to EPCOT
  • Save
Friendship Boat that services EPCOT, Hollywood Studios and some of the EPCOT resorts.

Additional mid-sized Disney World boats are the Friendship Boats that service EPCOT, Hollywood Studios and the nearby resorts. These boats are similar in size to the magic Kingdom water taxis.

The Friendship Boats offer mostly indoor, covered seating with a few rows of outdoor seating at the back of the boat. These boats can also be loud while operating.

Next, there are the ferries that take guests from Disney Springs resorts to Disney Springs. These boats resemble large pontoon boats and offer an open air experience with a cover to protect you from rain and direct sunlight.

The experience on the Disney Spring Ferries is relaxing and quieter than the mid-sized boats. Water craft in this category are smaller than the others, but not the smallest of the Disney World boats.

The smallest boats, which are also my favorite, can be found carrying guests between Magic Kingdom and Fort Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge only.

Featured Image for Disney World Boats
  • Save
Small water Taxi on Seven Seas Lagoon.

These tiny water taxis hold 20-30 people and offer a more private and relaxing journey. We always enjoy cruising the lagoon in these small boats as we head to a meal at Fort Wilderness.

The small water taxis are open air with a cover so you can feel the refreshing breeze on your face. This does mean they can be a bit cold during bad weather though.

These water taxis offer a slower journey than the bigger boats but do come with the upside of being less noisy.

 When to Use Disney World Boats to Travel to Your Destination

While the Disney World Boats offer a relaxing and leisurely travel option, they are often not the fastest mode of transportation. If you find yourself in a rush, you may want to skip the boats in favor of the buses or monorail.

The best time to use the boats is during the day after opening and up to an hour before closing. During peak travel times the boats often are inundated with guests, especially the boats that travel to resorts.

We often find ourselves boarding the boats on a whim. If we are heading out and see a boat waiting at the dock, we will board and head out immediately. If the boats are not currently at the dock, it can be up to 30 minutes between boats, especially during off times.

Disney World boat at the dock.
  • Save

One of the best uses of the boats is to get quick service to a resort for lunch, or dinner. They offer a great way to relax and unwind as you travel to your restaurant.

The boat that sees the most demand is the small water taxi that travels to Fort Wilderness directly from the Magic Kingdom. There are not many boats that run this route, and the ones that do have small capacity.

Traveling by boat is also the only way to get from Fort Wilderness to the Magic Kingdom. For those staying at Fort Wilderness, plan for lengthy travel times to Magic Kingdom, particularly in the morning and evening.

Are the Disney World Boats Running?

With COVID-19, many of the Disney World boats temporarily suspended service due to social distancing requirements. Now, in the end of 2021, we are seeing that all boat service has been reinstated.

It seems the Disney Spring Boats took the longest to return but have since resumed normal operation.

Be aware, that if social distancing measures are in place, boat capacity will be limited, so service will be slower.

Disney World Motor Boats for Fun

Beyond the practical Disney World boats, there are many fun boat rentals available to guests who wish to explore Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake. These boat rentals feature pontoon boats, canoes, kayaks, and fireworks cruises.

Pontoon boats can be rented for $45 per half hour. These boats seat up to 10 guests and can be driven by anyone over 18.

  • The pontoon boats can be rented on a first come first serve basis at the marinas at the following resorts: Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s Beach Club Villas
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Disney World boat dock
  • Save

Kayaks and Canoes can be rented at Fort Wilderness Campground for $13 per hour each. Kayaks and canoes can be rented by anyone over 18 or over 12 with signed parental permission. And lifejackets are required to be worn by guests.
Lastly, there are firework cruises offered on private Disney World Boats. These cruises are led by a boat captain. Snacks and beverages are included.

These firework cruises depart from Contemporary Marina, Polynesian Marina, Grand Floridian Marina, Fort Wilderness Marina and the Wilderness Lodge Marina for special water viewing of the Magic Kingdom fireworks shows.

You can also board a fireworks cruise from the Yacht and Beach Club marina for special viewing of EPCOTs fireworks shows.

The fireworks cruises cost $399 plus tax and seat up to ten guests on a 25-foot boat.

Other Articles You May Enjoy

  • Save
Kathleen Hesketh and Ali Patton, mother daughter travel bloggers

We're Kat and Ali, a pair of mother daughter travel bloggers sharing our knowledge and experience from multiple years of Disney travel with other Disney lovers and first-time visitors, hoping to simplify your vacation experience and help you enjoy all of the magic of a visit to Disney World. As Disney vacation planners, we can now book vacations through Mickey World travel, at no additional charge, and help you realize all of the magic of a trip to Disney.

Have Questions?

about Disney World vacation travel? Contact us at info@secondstogo.net

Sign up to Receive Updates on Disney World News, Tips and Discounts

Disney World Alerts

Ali Patton

Ali is a travel blogger for Seconds to Go, where she shares her experiences traveling the U.S. with her co-blogger Mom, Kathleen. She is also an avid Disney travel enthusiast, and with multiple Disney World trips under her belt, is a knoweldgeable resource for all things related to Disney vacations. Ali can be found managing the Seconds to Go social media accounts as well as the famed Double Z Farm pages on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.

5 thoughts on “Disney World Boats: Using Water Transportation with the Mouse”

Leave a Comment