Boats at Walt Disney World - Part 2: Marinas Around 'The World'
|by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist|
Last modified 04-28-2011
PassPorter.com > Articles > Walt Disney World > Touring
Boats play an important role in life at Walt Disney World, with some operating as means of transportation, others used in attractions, while some are just there for relaxation.
Having looked at the first two categories in previous article, now it's time for a bit of boating for relaxation.
It may be something that you’ve never thought of, particularly if you’re desperately heading from one park to the next in order to visit all your party’s “must-see” attractions, but sometimes you can have just as much fun away from the parks, messing about on the waterways of Walt Disney World.
There are lots of different marinas scattered throughout the resort, although perhaps the one that most people will be familiar with is Captain Jack’s Marina at Downtown Disney Marketplace. You may have seen lots of boats sitting in a dock there and wondered what they were for. Well, the answer is simple–they’re there for you, or any other guest, to rent for as long as you want.
Marinas are located at many of the various Walt Disney World resorts, and they’re not all deluxe ones either. For example, you may be surprised to find that there are marinas at the Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans, and Fort Wilderness resorts. Of the deluxe resorts, most are graced with marinas. On Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake, unsurprisingly all the deluxe resorts located there have marinas. That gives you a choice of the Wilderness Lodge, Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian resorts. Over at the Epcot resorts though, this doesn’t hold true, with only the Yacht and Beach Club boasting its own marina. And oddly enough, while Old Key West has its own marina, the other Disney Vacation Club resort nearby that’s also located on a waterway, Saratoga Springs, doesn’t have one. Instead, its dock is merely used for boats taking guests over to Downtown Disney.
Which one is the best to try? Well, it depends on what you want to see, and there’s plenty on offer at each area. Personally, I have a soft spot for the marinas in the Downtown Disney area (Captain Jack's, Port Orleans, and Old Key West), as you get some wonderful views, not only of that area, but Saratoga Springs and its Treehouse Villas, Old Key West, and Port Orleans. Another good option is to rent from the Yacht and Beach Club marina, as you can head up towards either Epcot or the Studios.
Old Key West - view from the river
Old Key West, as seen from the river that runs through the resort, with a Sea Raycer / one of the ferry boats that runs from Old Key West to Downtown Disney in shot. - photo by chezp
Although you’ll share the waters with Disney boat transportation wherever you pilot your rental craft, we’ve generally found Disney's skippers to be very good at giving inexperienced amateurs a wide berth, so don’t let that put you off.
So what’s available at these various marinas? Well, if you fancy putting in some effort yourself while you’re out on the water, then you can take out a pedal boat, canoe, or kayak. That may not be everyone’s idea of fun (it sounds like torture to me), but if it floats your boat, a pun I just couldn’t resist squeezing in, then they’re reasonably priced at around $7 for half an hour. These human-powered craft won’t necessarily be available at every marina, but you should find them at the Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, and Fort Wilderness.
Perhaps because they’re motorised, you’ll usually find the rest of Disney's various rental craft at every resort’s marina. So what else is available? Well, let’s start with the smallest first, which are Sea Raycers by Sea Ray boats, or what Disney fans fondly know as “water mice.” These are small, two-passenger boats that do sit very low in the water, compared to Disney’s other boats.
We took one of these out once and, although fun–they certainly pack a punch when you’re able to run them at full throttle–we didn’t like the fact that we were so close to the water. We found that, because they’re quite small, we did get hit by waves from other, larger vessels when we were out, so since then, we’ve tended to steer away from them. To rent one, you’ll need to be at least 12 years old and at least five feet tall. They’re not cheap at around $35 for half an hour’s boating.
To be honest, we feel that we get much better value for money from some of the larger boats in Disney’s fleet, which is why we tend to go for those. Our personal preference is for the SunTRACKER pontoon boats, which are 21 feet long and can take up to 10 people in total. To be honest, even though it’s just the two of us, it doesn’t feel strange at all, as there’s plenty of space to spread out, either at the front or the rear of the boat. In a way, it’s nice to have all that space at your disposal and it is a lovely luxury to have for a very small price. For one of these boats, you’re looking at around $50 for the first half hour. If you have a bigger party, that can be superb value, especially as that’s not much more that you’ll pay for the Sea Raycers.
Another option, and one that we haven’t tried out yet, are the slightly smaller 17 foot Boston Whaler Montauk boats. The only reason we’ve never tried them is that we’re very happy with the pontoon boats and, as they’re pretty much the same price for the first half hour’s rental, we can’t see the point of going for something a bit smaller.
If you’ve got some sailing experience, which neither of us has, then you may be able to rent a 12 foot sailboat, which is much cheaper at more like $25 for an hour’s time on the water.
If you’re worried about being able to pilot one of these bigger boats, then honestly, don’t be. My husband’s only previous boating experience was one vacation along the River Thames a number of years ago. The Cast Members are very good at talking you through everything you need to know, and there’s always time for questions. If you’re not sure of anything because you head out on to the open water, then just ask.
Generally, the longer you rent your boat for, the better value you’ll get, as often the rate for an hour is less than if you’d hired two boats for half an hour each. You don’t have to worry about going over your rental time either, as you pay when you return your craft. You will usually have to leave a credit card as guarantee while you’re out on the boat, and we’ve also been asked to leave photo ID in the past. It’s a good way of ensuring that you do return the boat, although as most of the major waterways in the Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and Downtown Disney resort areas aren’t linked to each other, it would be pretty hard to mount an escape bid from property on them!
If boating is something you’ve never tried your hand at, I can’t think of a better place to give it a go. You certainly get a new perspective of a familiar resort whenever you’re out on the water, and it’s definitely something worth trying out.
Beach Club - Marina
Marina at Beach Club - photo by OffKilter_Lynn
|About the Author: Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!|
Recent Walt Disney World Articles:Read additional articles from PassPorter.com
D23 Expo Recap, Part 2: Announcements Galore - A Disney Parks Planning Article last updated 08-27-2015
Avoiding Exhaustion at Walt Disney World, Part 2: Do Less, Enjoy More - A Walt Disney World Special Needs Article last updated 08-27-2015
Avoiding Exhaustion at Walt Disney World, Part 1: Plan for Success - A Walt Disney World Special Needs Article last updated 08-20-2015
D23 Expo Recap, Part 1: Announcements Galore - A Disney Parks Planning Article last updated 08-20-2015
Olivia's Cafe at Disney's Old Key West - A Walt Disney World Dining Review last updated 08-13-2015
More Related Links:
Enjoying the Japan Pavilion at Epcot - A World Showcase Favorite last updated 2/24/2011
The Parades of the Magic Kingdom - A Plethora of Processions last updated 01/22/2009
Epcot's World Showcase - Pavilions vs. The "Real" World last updated 01/29/2009
Recent Changes to Disneyland - Part 1 last updated 02/12/2009
The Seas With Nemo And Friends - In Love With The Living Seas last updated 4/23/2009
View all 1 comments in forum thread Sue M. on April 28, 2011 @ 7:11 pm
Nice article Cheryl. We love renting the SeaRaycers, and have rented twice at MK resorts. I'm thinking of renting at POR next trip, we love the river and scenery too when on the boat to DTD. Or maybe at YC/BC? WE are doing a split stay so will be at both.
So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!
(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)
Updated 04-28-2011 - Article #633
Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide.
As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!|
We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result
in more spam! We guarantee it.
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.
| LEARN MORE|
Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks|
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Discuss tours, holidays, special occasions, childcare, and other magical opportunities.
Disney college program
25 Aug 2015 at 1:07pm
Hi everyone, I haven't been here in a long time I've had so much going in in my life, but I would like to ask a question about the Disney college...
(click title above to view replies)
Disney Credit card Lounge/meet-n-greet
6 Aug 2015 at 10:36am
I thought i read somewhere that if you have a Chase Disney Credit card you have the opportunity for a special lounge at EPCOT and a meet-n-greet. ...
(click title above to view replies)
Does everyone get this email from Disney?
2 Aug 2015 at 3:32pm
Now that Disney is doing "direct to your room" is everyone getting the email from them stating that I "may be able to skip the front desk?" It seems...
(click title above to view replies)
Total Visits: 10283