Encompassing the Magic Kingdom, Downtown Disney, and EPCOT resorts, Walt Disney World has one of the largest navies in the world. The Magic Kingdom, Downtown Disney, and EPCOT each have their own types of boats running various routes. Disney water transportation is by its very nature a bit slower than a bus/car. Still, it is unique and distinctly Disney. Just give yourself a bit of extra time when using it, sit back and enjoy your voyage.
Ferry Boats -
Two twin Magic Kingdom class ferries, the Richard F. Irvine and Admiral Joe Fowler, along with the Kingdom Queen class, General Joe Potter, transport guests daily between the Transportation and Ticket Center and Magic Kingdom.
Open: The ferries begin operating 30
minutes prior to park opening including Extra Magic Hours. For
example, if there are Morning Extra Magic Hours beginning at 8:00am,
ferries take their first trip from the TTC to MK at 7:30am.
Closing: The ferries operate until 1.5 hours after park closing, including Extra Magic Hours.
Capacity and Schedule: The capacity of each ferryboat is 600 guests and 3 crew members. During opening and closing, all 3 ferries operate. During daytime and late night operation, 2 ferries operate with wait times between 10 and 20 minutes in most cases.
Boat Launches and Cruisers -
The Grand Floridian Resort and the Polynesian Resort use water transportation in addition to the Monorail when going to/from the Magic Kingdom. The Wilderness Lodge and Ft. Wilderness exclusively use water transportation to/from the Magic Kingdom.
Routes: There are 4 routes available in the Magic Kingdom area, each designated by a colored flag. Each route operates 30 min prior to park opening including Extra Magic hours until 1.5 hours after park close. The boats may cease operation due to inclement weather. If there is lightning in the area, launches are shut down and boats are shuffled. Expect longer than normal wait times on all 4 routes.
TIP: The Green Route is one of the most scenic routes to take. If you're looking for something to kill time, take this route to the campground and back. Look for the bear face built into Disney's Wilderness Lodge, and remember times past (or learn about them) as you pass the closed Discovery Island attraction and River Country Waterpark. Interested in Disney cast member traditions? Near River Country, you can spot a tree with white shoes in it. It's a tradition for watercraft pilots to throw their shoes in the tree when retiring.
When using the Friendship Boats, plan on a leisurely (s-l-o-w) voyage to your destination. Walking is often faster but after a long day at the parks, a nice, relaxing boat trip can be a welcome change of pace.
The Boardwalk, Beach Club, Yacht Club, Dolphin and Swan Resorts exclusively use water transportation to get to both Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios. TIP: The wait for Disney's Hollywood Studios boat can be daunting, especially when the park has just closed, the line is a mile long, and no boat's in sight. There's a very nice walking path to the resorts that you can use instead.
Beginning at 11:00am, the Friendship boats begin running. There are two runs, both originating from launches found at World Showcase Plaza. One goes to Morocco, the other to Germany. The last boat from the World Showcase leaves at 7:15pm. The last boat from the countries leaves at 7:30pm.
Old Key West and Saratoga Springs have hourly boat service to the Disney Marketplace starting at 11:00am thru 4:00pm. Beginning at 4:00pm, a second boat is added and service runs every 30 minutes. The last boat leaves Old Key West at 11:00pm and from Downtown Disney at 11:30pm. NOTE: Bus service to Downtown Disney is in continuous operation from these resorts.
Shuttle - There's a boat shuttle from the Marketplace marina to the West Side marina.