The Walt Disney World Resort is an absolutely massive vacation destination with virtually endless experiences for Guests to enjoy throughout the property. Guests who spend time there love to explore and enjoy as many attractions as possible, and each one has its own unique theme, story, and operating system.
While each attraction is unique, there are several that feature boats as the mode of transportation moving Guests throughout the experience, and each is wonderful in its own right. Let’s check out some of the best attractions at the Walt Disney World Resort that use boats — and some might just surprise you!
“it’s a small world”
The most quintessential attraction for many Guests at the Walt Disney World Resort is “it’s a small world” which can be found in the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland. This beloved experience was first created for the 1964 New York World’s Fair and invites Guests to board brightly colored boats and take off on the happiest cruise that ever sailed.
Each room of the attraction represents a different area of the world and charming children in authentic cultural costumes can be found singing the iconic Sherman Brothers’ song of the same name. “it’s a small world” is a must-do attraction in the Magic Kingdom, and Guests absolutely love being able to look all around them from their boat to discover new details and characters every single time.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom is home to an adventure on the high seas that brings Guests on a more thrilling kind of boat experience. Pirates of the Caribbean is a true classic that brings Guests into Castillo del Morro where they board boats and set out into eerie caves where they quickly learn that dead men tell no tales.
After a short, but exciting, drop Guests find themselves drifting through a raging seaside battle and rowdy pirates pillaging and burning a seaside town. With the classic “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)” playing throughout, Pirates of the Caribbean is a boat attraction that no Guest can miss out on in the Magic Kingdom.
Also found in Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom is the world-famous Jungle Cruise which has become an iconic attraction over the years and is considered a can’t-miss attraction in the Disney Park. Guests board weathered boats and set off on a journey down some of the most exotic rivers of the world in this wonderful attraction that recently inspired a live-action film of the same name.
While the scenery and sets are beautiful, it’s the groan-worthy and hilarious humor of the Skippers who keep Guests coming back time and time again. Adding a level of hysterics to every single turn and sight, the Skippers are what truly make the adventure on the Jungle Cruise totally unforgettable.
Over in Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom, Guests can enjoy a log flume-type attraction that brings them on an adventure with Br’er Rabbit. Splash Mountain features rustic logs where Guests can kick back and follow along as Br’er Rabbit leaves his home in search of adventure, causing all sorts of chaos on his way.
With many indoor scenes featuring dozens of audio-animatronics and catchy songs including “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” and “Everybody’s Got a Laughing Place,” the experience culminates with Br’er Rabbit being captured by Br’er Fox and flung five stories down into the Briar Patch below. The final drop is a huge thrill for Guests who absolutely get wet, and Splash Mountain is a can’t-miss experience for any thrill fan.
Peter Pan’s Flight
This one might be a surprising boat attraction, but stick with me here! Peter Pan’s Flight in the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland technically sprinkles Guests with pixie dust and has them take to the skies to soar with Peter over London and Neverland, but Guests ride in pirate ships!
Each ship features its own color scheme and ornate details on the sides and sails, and whisks Guests to the skies in a moment that is reminiscent of the ending from the classic animated film. So while Peter Pan’s Flight might not technically involve any water, it can still be argued as a boat attraction thanks to its ride vehicles!
Magic Kingdom Ferry Boats
One of the most underrated and overlooked boat experiences that Guests can enjoy at the Walt Disney World Resort operates on Seven Seas Lagoon between the Magic Kingdom and the Transportation and Ticket Center. There are three wonderfully restored ferry boats dubbed General Joe Potter, Richard F. Irvine, and Admiral Joe Fowler which each can hold hundreds of Guests and transport them on a serene and scenic route.
In addition to the beautiful views of Seven Seas Lagoon and the practicality of being a mode of transportation, each ferry boat features wonderful architectural details, framed photos, and other pieces of memorabilia that Guests can explore while enjoying the ride.
EPCOT Friendship Boats
EPCOT is also home to its own fleet of Friendship Boats which technically serve as modes of transportation, but offer Guests the chance to enjoy scenic rides with beautiful views. Guests can hop on a small Friendship Boat near the main entrance into World Showcase and whisk their way across World Showcase Lagoon to either the Morocco Pavilion or the Germany Pavilion while taking in beautiful views of the architecture of the area.
A second fleet of Friendship Boats also runs on the waterways behind EPCOT just outside of the International Gateway. There, Guests can hop aboard a boat and enjoy a ride across Crescent Lake to Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s BoardWalk, and the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels with continuing service to nearby Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Living with the Land
One of the most serene and relaxing boat experiences at the Walt Disney World Resort can be found inside The Land Pavilion in EPCOT’s World Nature. Living with the Land welcomes Guests to boat cheerful green boats with overhead canopies and set off on a narrated journey that aims to teach them all about the land.
After moving through different environments to showcase how the land can survive in all kinds of elements, the boats glide through stunning greenhouses and living laboratories where innovative growing techniques are being used to more responsibly take care of the land. With endless variations of fruit, vegetables, and plants growing on each side of the boat, Living with the Land is a visually stunning boat ride that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Frozen Ever After
Moving into EPCOT’s World Showcase, Guests can enjoy a fun and charming boat ride that brings the setting and characters from Frozen to life. Frozen Ever After can be found in the rear of the Norway Pavilion and invites Guests to set sail for the kingdom of Arendelle where Elsa and Anna are hosting a Summer Snow Day celebration with their friends.
The journey sails through beautifully designed sets featuring favorite characters like Olaf, Kristoff, Sven, the trolls, and more and beloved songs including “Let It Go” which Elsa dramatically sings from the balcony of her ice palace. Frozen Ever After is a fun and lighthearted boat journey that Guests will absolutely love, and the theming is so beautifully done that new details will be discovered on each visit!
Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros
Also found in EPCOT’s World Showcase is the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros which is located inside the ancient pyramid in the Mexico Pavilion. This attraction has Guests board brightly colored boats that glide silently past a lush jungle with an ancient pyramid and smoking volcano on one side and San Angel Inn Restaurante on the other.
The boats then move into a tunnel where Guests come face to face with Panchito and Jose who need their help traveling across Mexico to find Donald before a performance that evening. What follows are vibrant and beautiful scenes that showcase the splendors of Mexico infused with upbeat music and humorous moments from the characters that Guests are sure to love!
Na’vi River Journey
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is home to Pandora – The World of Avatar where Guests magically find themselves wandering through the otherworldly Valley of Mo’ara among unique vegetation and floating mountains. The splendor of the planet is shown off even more on the Na’vi River Journey, which is a stunning boat ride that glides through the bioluminescent forests of Pandora.
The experience begins as a quiet journey where strange creatures and plants surround the boat, but slowly music starts to build and the Na’vi emerge all around as they head deeper into the forest. The highlight of the Na’vi River Journey is an encounter with the Shaman of the Songs who is one of the most intricate and lifelike audio-animatronics ever created and Guests will absolutely feel as though she is real and singing just to them as they glide by!
Kali River Rapids
Another boat attraction in Disney’s Animal Kingdom brings Guests on a much more thrilling and soaking adventure down the Chakranadi River. Kali River Rapids can be found in the Asia area of the Disney Park and aims to combine an important lesson in conservation with fun.
Guests board round family-style rafts and set out down the calm river before stumbling upon a devastating scene left behind by illegal logging. The journey then takes a more thrilling turn as the raft plunges down a drop and moves through choppy water featuring several opportunities for Guests to get absolutely soaked in Disney’s Animal Kingdom!
Sassagoula River Cruise
The final boats that Guests should not miss out on at the Walt Disney World Resort operate along the Sassagoula River connecting several Disney Resorts with Disney Springs. The Sassagoula River Cruise is a small operation of boats that bring Guests on a scenic ride between Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside & French Quarter and several docks scattered throughout Disney Springs.
The journey brings Guests through lush forests, golf courses, and more and Guests can soak in some stunning views while listening to calm music that matches the Southern theme of Disney’s Port Orleans Resort. Taking about twenty minutes overall, a ride on the Sassagoula River Cruise is one of the most calming and unique experiences at the Walt Disney World Resort that cannot be missed!