Most people know that the monorail and buses are part of the Disney World transportation system but did you know that boats are also part of the free transport at Disney World?
Photo by expressmonorail
Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot all have their own boat transportation systems. The boat is usually slower than other forms of Disney transport but take this opportunity to take life at a gentler pace – and see the Disney World from a different perspective for a change.
Disney’s Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios Boats
The Disney Friendship boats have transportation from The Boardwalk, Beach Club, Yacht Club, Dolphin and Swan Resorts to travel to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
The Friendship boats are a pleasant, leisurely experience. Do not expect to get to your destination more quickly than you could walk! If you are staying in any of the Epcot hotels and visiting Epcot then the fastest way is probably to walk to the park. This is particularly true if you are staying in The Boardwalk, Beach Club, or Yacht Club. The Dolphin and Swan are a little further out so the boat option makes more sense.
There is also a Friendship boat to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Again you can walk but this is further than the walk to Epcot so it makes sense to use the boat. And it is the quickest option to get to Disney’s Hollywood Studios from the Epcot hotels – there is a bus but it will usually take more time.
You can walk from the Epcot hotel resorts to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Few people seem to do this though! Maybe it is a little too much walking to add to a day at the park.
With all of the boat transportation it is much quicker to walk at park closing time. The lines will be long and you will get back to your hotel much more quickly if you walk – even though your feet probably won’t want to take you there at that point of the day!
Boat Transportation Within Epcot
The Friendship Boats start running when Epcot’s World Showcase opens at 11.00am each day.
These boats can be a great way to cut down on walking in Epcot. It is a huge park so if you can plan to use the boats at least once then you will save your tired feet.
There are 2 boats – one to Germany and the other to Morocco. The Friendship boats stop well before closing time in preparation for the Illuminations fireworks. The last boat leaves World showcase at 7.15 and the ones from Morocco and Germany stop at 7.30.
Magic Kingdom Ferry Boats
There are 3 Magic Kingdom ferry boats which sail between the Transport and Ticket Center and the entrance to Magic Kingdom. You can of course take the monorail but sometimes it is fun, and quicker depending on the lines, to take the ferry boat.
Each ferry boat can sail with up to 600 guests and has 3 crew members. At busy times all 3 ferries run but at other times there are usually 2.
The Magic Kingdom ferries start sailing 30 minutes before the park opens. They also open early for Extra Magic Hours for Disney hotel resort guests. They sail until 90 minutes after park closing including Extra Magic Hours.
It is a great way to arrive at the Magic Kingdom and I would recommend you do this at least once on your Disney World vacation.
Disney World Hotel Resort Boat Transportation
If you are staying at The Grand Floridian Resort, Disney’s Contemporary Resort or Disney’s Polynesian Resort you have a choice of taking the monorail to Magic Kingdom or one of the boat launches that sail from the resorts.
The Wilderness Resort and Fort Wilderness also have boat transportation to Magic Kingdom.
If you are staying at Disney’s Grand Floridian or Disney’s Polynesian Resort you will take the Gold Flag Launch. This has stops at both resorts and is a pleasant journey sailing on the Seven Seas Lagoon. If you want to get to the Magic Kingdom more quickly then take the monorail. It takes around 20 minutes to sail around in a loop. You usually wait around 10 to 15 minutes for a boat. Note that whilst these launches do accommodate guests in wheelchairs (but only if they can transfer out and step down into the boat) they do not accommodate ECVs.
If you stay at Disney’s Wilderness Resort you will sail on the Red Flag Route to the Magic Kingdom. The boats take about 8 minutes to get to Magic Kingdom from Wilderness Lodge. Wait time is usually around 10 minutes between boats.
The Green Flag Route sails between Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground to Magic Kingdom. These cruisers can accommodate wheelchairs and ECVs with no transfer needed. Wait times can be up to 20 minutes and the journey takes around 13 minutes.
The Blue Flag Route goes between Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness, and Disney’s Contemporary Resort. There are 2 boats on this route.
Boat Transportation to Downtown Disney
Those staying at Old Key West and Saratoga Springs have the option of boat transportation to Disney Marketplace. Guests also have the option of bus transportation but the boat is a good option to take at least once during your stay.
If you are staying at the Port Orleans French Quarteror Riverside resorts then you can sail the Sassagoula River to Disney Marketplace.