Walt Disney World Transportation - Watercraft
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.
- Gold Flag Launch: The gold route carries guests from the Magic Kingdom to Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, continues to Disney's Polynesian resort, and back to the Magic Kingdom. This route goes in reverse of the resort monorail. This route operates 30 minutes before park opening including Extra Magic Hours until 1.5 hours after park close and typically has two launches on the route. This route can not accommodate ECVs. Guests in Wheelchairs can board if they can transfer out of the wheelchair and step down 2 feet into the boat. Travel time on this route is about 20 minutes around the lake, so it's about 7 minutes between stops. Wait time between boats is typically 10-15 minutes.
- Green Flag Launch: The green route carries guests from the Magic Kingdom to Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. This is a heavily traveled route due to the Hoop De Doo Revue and Mickey's Backyard BBQ being at this resort, along with the fact that guests staying at the resort can only get to the Magic Kingdom by boat. This route typically runs two cruisers which are both capable of accommodating ECVs and wheelchairs without a required transfer. Travel time from Magic Kingdom to Ft. Wilderness is approximately 13 minutes once underway. Wait time between boats is typically 10-20 minutes.
- Red Flag Launch: The red route transports guests from the Magic Kingdom to Disney's Wilderness Lodge. This route typically runs one cruiser and one launch, which means if you have an ECV, you'll have to wait for the cruiser to be taken to the resort. Travel time from the Magic Kingdom to the resort is approximately 8 minutes with wait time between boats typically 8-12 minutes.
- Blue Flag Launch: The blue route consists of two launches transporting guests around Bay Lake between Disney's Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness, and Contemporary Resort. The two launches operate in opposite direction, meeting at the Contemporary.
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.
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