While flashier, faster transportation options like the Monorail and Disney Skyliner often top guests’ lists, Disney boat transportation slows things down so you can truly enjoy the view and, not to mention, give your aching feet a rest. Keep reading for everything you need to know about Walt Disney World boat service, from the massive Magic Kingdom ferries to smaller water taxis to and from the Disney resorts.
Set Sail for Fun with Walt Disney World Water Transportation
While the first look at Cinderella Castle from the Magic Kingdom Monorail or coming in for a landing over Epcot’s France Pavilion on the Disney Skyliner can be downright magical, guests can also get where they need to go while enjoying similarly enchanting views with the help of Disney World’s boat service.
For those who have never cruised around Seven Seas Lagoon before, here are some things to remember before you climb aboard.
Is Disney World Water Transportation Free?
Just like the Monorail, Disney Skyliner and bus service, whether you want to ride on a Magic Kingdom Ferry or float over to Epcot on a Disney Friendship Boat, all water transportation options at Walt Disney World are completely free. In fact, you don’t even need to buy an expensive park ticket to ride, making them a relaxing way to soak up a little Disney magic without having to fight the crowds, all while resting your theme park-weary feet.
However, don’t get Disney World’s complimentary boat transportation confused with the retro-chic amphicars floating around Disney Springs. Available at The Boathouse, this low-capacity water taxis shaped like vintage cars are an undeniably cool way to scope out the scene at Disney Springs. They’re also pretty pricey, costing $125 per car with space for three to four people.
Where Do the Disney Friendship Boats and Water Taxis Go?
While Walt Disney World transportation options like the buses, monorails and the Disney Skyliner will typically get you to your destination faster, boat service can make for a delightfully low-key way to get between the parks and resorts. Boat transportation is available in many areas around the Central Florida resort, including:
Magic Kingdom Area
Boat launches are located at the Magic Kingdom Main Entrance, as well as:
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC)
Epcot & Hollywood Studios Area
Outside the theme parks, boat docks are located near the International Gateway entrance to Epcot and the Hollywood Studios Main Entrance, as well as:
Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels
Inside Epcot, you can also take a Friendship Boat to travel between the following World Showcase Pavilions:
Mexico and Germany
Morocco and Canada
Disney Springs Area
Along with boat launches at Disney Springs in The Landing and Marketplace sections of the entertainment district, you can also set sail for Disney Springs at the following resorts:
Disney’s Old Key West Resort
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Can You Get to Magic Kingdom from Epcot by Boat?
Unfortunately not. Although water transportation is available at both Magic Kingdom and Epcot, there is no boat that runs between the two theme parks. For the best way to travel between Epcot and Magic Kingdom, we recommend a similarly scenic and relaxing ride on the Disney Monorail, which connects Magic Kingdom’s Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) to the Epcot Main Entrance.
The only theme parks at Walt Disney World connected by water transportation are Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Picking up and dropping off between Epcot’s International Gateway and the Disney BoardWalk, as well as near the Hollywood Studios Main Entrance, the Disney Friendship Boats make for an especially leisurely way to travel between the two parks.
Can Anyone Ride the Ferry at Disney World?
Yup! Although Disney water transportation is largely meant to ferry guests between the theme parks and resorts, you don’t need to be going to the parks or dining or staying at one of the resorts to enjoy a relaxing boat ride around Walt Disney World. Additionally, for Disney resorts with boat docks, you aren’t required to be a registered hotel guest to take advantage of the resort’s water taxi.
That brings us to our next question…
Can You Ride the Disney Ferry Boat and Friendship Boats for Fun?
Absolutely! While transportation options like Water Taxis, Friendship Boats and the Magic Kingdom Ferry Boats are simply meant to take you from Point A to Point B, they also offer up some pretty great views of the Walt Disney World Resort. Not only that, but they’re also a fun way to enjoy some leisurely resort hopping.
To top it all off, if you time your ride right, you might even be able to watch some of the nightly fireworks from the comfort of the boat. With the fireworks glittering off the water, this can make for some especially memorable views.
Arriving at Walt Disney World too late in the day to go to the parks but still hoping to soak up Disney magic? Consider going for a ride on one of the water taxis. Not only will you get a peek at popular sights like Cinderella Castle, but it’s also a great way to familiarize yourself with traveling to and from the parks if this is your first time visiting.
Is Taking Disney World Boat Transportation Worth It?
It really depends on the crowds, your overall health and what you’re hoping to accomplish during your visit. As pretty as the views are, water taxis are by no means the quickest way to get around Walt Disney World. So, if you’re trying to cram as much into your day as possible, you’re probably better off using other transportation options like the Monorail, Disney Skyliner and bus system.
However, if you’d rather keep your vacation as laidback as possible, with plenty of time to see the sights and take a load off your feet, then boat service can be an idyllic way to get around. Just keep in mind that depending on when you want to ride, watercraft can fill up quite quickly. So, be prepared to have a long wait or cramped ride.
Taking the Disney Friendship Boats, Water Taxis & Ferries: Routes and Hours
Ready to climb aboard? With so many different boat docks and watercraft to keep straight, using Disney’s boat transportation can be a bit confusing. By familiarizing yourself with the schedules and various routes ahead of time, you can make sure your voyage is as smooth and speedy as possible.
Depending on where you’re going at Walt Disney World, guests have a few different choices when it comes to boat transportation, from massive ferry boats capable of carrying as many as 600 passengers to smaller water taxis and Friendship Boats.
While some watercraft offer non-stop boat service directly to your destination, others take the scenic route with multiple stops along the way. Here are the various boat routes available to guests around Walt Disney World, as well as their typical hours of operation. Just keep in mind that the schedule can change depending on park closing time and in the event of Early Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours (Extra Magic Hours’ replacements).
Magic Kingdom Area
Over around Magic Kingdom, guests can take advantage of two different water transportation options. Three different ferry boats shuttle guests back and forth between the park’s main entrance and the Transportation & Ticket Center, while smaller water taxis carry travelers from the resorts to Magic Kingdom and back.
Magic Kingdom Ferry Boats
Named for three Walt Disney Company legends, the Admirable Joe Fowler, General Joe Potter and Richard F. Irvine ferry boats are free-floating watercraft (not on a track) that transport guests between the Transportation and Ticket Center and main entrance to Magic Kingdom.
Although most folks make a beeline for the Monorail when heading to Magic Kingdom, the ferry offers a more leisurely way to get across Seven Seas Lagoon. Best of all, with standing and seating options available on both the upper and lower decks, a ride on a Magic Kingdom ferry boat also offers beautiful vistas of the park itself.
Be aware that while three different ferry boats are available, not all of them may be running at the same time, depending on when you arrive. In general, boats run at approximately 10 to 15-minute intervals, with the complete loading and unloading process and trip across Seven Seas Lagoon taking about another 15 minutes. And don’t be scared off by the dauntingly long line – with a max capacity of 600 people, you never need to worry about a ferry boat running out of room.
Magic Kingdom Resort Water Taxis
Along with the Magic Kingdom Resort Monorail Loop, guests staying or dining at one of the Magic Kingdom resorts around Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake can also get back to their room or to a dining reservation using the hotel’s dedicated boat launch. Several different, color-coded routes are available – each with a varying number of stops.
Unfortunately, while direct boat service is offered between Magic Kingdom and two Bay Lake resorts, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and the Fort Wilderness Campground, no direct trips are available between Magic Kingdom and the Grand Floridian, Polynesian Village or Contemporary Resorts.
In general, each route has two boats typically operating at approximately 10 to 30-minute intervals, with the actual trip lasting anywhere from eight to 20 minutes depending on where you’re embarking and how busy it is.
For example, the Green Flag Water Taxi can get pretty crowded in the evenings with folks heading to the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review for dinner. Operating hours also vary for the different routes and according to park hours. Routes include:
Blue Flag Water Taxis
The Blue Flag Water Launch travels between three Bay Lake resorts – Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness and the Contemporary Resort. Boats typically begin running early (around 6:45 AM) to accommodate breakfast reservations and cease operations around 11:30 PM.
Unlike other Magic Kingdom routes, boats run clockwise throughout the morning and early afternoon until 3:00 PM before switching to counterclockwise for the remainder of the day.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Typically requires a transfer and two steps down depending on water levels
Gold Flag Water Taxis
The Gold Flag Water Launch connects two resorts on Seven Seas Lagoon – Disney’s Polynesian Village and the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – with the Magic Kingdom. Supported by the Resort Monorail Loop, boats usually start operating a bit later (around 8:30 AM) and stop running about 60 to 90 minutes after park closing time.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Typically requires a transfer and two steps down depending on water levels
Green Flag Water Taxis
The Green Flag Water Launch serving Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort is one of the only direct water taxi routes between the Magic Kingdom and a Disney hotel. Similar to the Gold Flag Water Taxi, boats typically begin running around 8:30 AM and continue until 60 to 90 minutes after park closing.
The boat dock is located near the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review and Trail’s End Restaurant. So, if you’re heading back to your campsite or a cabin, keep in mind that you may need to get on a bus before finally getting to your home away from home.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Usually accessible for wheelchairs and ECVs
Red Flag Water Taxis
The Red Flag Water Launch connecting Disney’s Wilderness Lodge with Magic Kingdom is the only other direct boat route in this corner of Walt Disney World. Like Fort Wilderness’s Green Flag Water Taxi, boats usually start operating around 8:30 AM and continue until 60 to 90 minutes after park closing.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Some boats require a transfer and a couple of steps into the watercraft, while others accommodate both ECVs and wheelchairs
Heading to Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Don’t miss out on the Disney Friendship Boats. Not only can you go for a laidback cruise between both of the parks and several resorts around Crescent Lake and the Disney Boardwalk, but you can even use the Friendship Boats to explore World Showcase.
Epcot Resort Area Friendship Boats
Although both the Hollywood Studios Main Entrance and Epcot’s International Gateway Entrance are within walking distance from the Epcot-area resorts, guests hoping to save some steps can take a Friendship Boat instead.
Unlike many of the Magic Kingdom water taxis, Friendship Boats tend to be easily accessible for wheelchairs, ECVs and strollers alike as long as water levels remain normal. That being said, that can change during higher or lower-than-normal water levels or rough winds, as passengers will then need to either step up or down to get in rather than using the ramp. Keep an eye out for posted signage regarding current accessibility.
As with water transportation at Magic Kingdom, Friendship Boat service between the parks and resorts usually operates from 8:30 AM until roughly 60 minutes after park closing time. Routes include:
Disney’s Beach Club and Yacht Club Resorts (shared boat dock)
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels (shared boat dock)
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
World Showcase Friendship Boats
If you want, you can even take one of the Friendship Boats across World Showcase Lagoon. For those hoping to get a different perspective of the World Showcase Pavilions and also rest their feet for a bit, this can be a unique, though slightly time-consuming, way to get from one end of World Showcase to another.
Having said that, if you’d rather experience all of the World Showcase countries and save some time getting from Point A to Point B, you’re probably better off walking. At World Showcase, Friendship Boats follow these routes:
Between the Canada and Morocco Pavilions
Between the Germany and Mexico Pavilions
World Showcase Friendship Boats begin running at 11:00 AM, with the last watercrafts departing from the Mexico and Canada boat docks at 7:15 PM and the Morocco and Germany boat docks at 7:30 PM. Additionally, keep in mind that, from time to time, there may only be one boat operating.
Plus, you can’t take a Friendship Boat from inside World Showcase over to Hollywood Studios. Instead, you’ll need to exit through International Gateway and get on a boat at the nearby dock.
Disney Springs Area
Guests staying at resorts in the Disney Springs Resort Area also have access to their own picturesque boat service along the lazy Sassagoula River. If you’re heading out for some souvenir shopping or dinner, this relaxing river cruise can be a wonderful addition to a stay at these similar low-key resorts.
Similar to boat service at the Magic Kingdom, passengers can choose from several different color-coded routes. However, unlike Magic Kingdom’s resort boats, most Disney Springs water transportation routes offer direct service rather than several stops.
Be aware that boats to and from Disney Springs tend to run less frequently in the mornings, with service picking up during the evenings to accommodate the dinner rush. Additionally, given the design of these ferry boats, watercraft are usually wheelchair accessible. Although, you may need to fold up your chair for the trip. Routes include:
Red Flag Ferry Boat: Internal boat service around Disney Springs between The Landing and the Marketplace
Items Allowed on Disney World Water Transportation
Ready to set sail? First, don’t miss this list of items permitted onboard.
Is food allowed on Disney water taxis?
Yes! No matter if it’s your morning coffee or a caramel apple from Candy Cauldron, food and beverages are allowed on Disney World water transportation. That being said, there are some exceptions. Neither alcoholic drinks or glass containers are permitted on watercraft, and all beverages must have a lid.
Can you bring a stroller or wheelchair on Disney watercraft?
For families traveling with small children, boats can be easily accessed, even with a stroller. However, they must be folded and stowed during the voyage. As for wheelchairs, it really depends on the watercraft.
Some boats may be wheelchair accessible during certain weather conditions but not in others. So, if you are unable to transfer safely and possibly take a few steps up or down into a boat, be sure to come up with a backup plan.
Have you used boat transportation at Walt Disney World? Where does it rank on your list of ways to get around The Most Magical Place on Earth? Let us know in the comments! Then, along with those free boat rides, learn how to save even more with our Disney World discount tickets.