Disney Boat Rides: Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World offers a variety of boat rides that provide an immersive and exciting experience for visitors. These boat rides provide a unique way to experience the magic of Walt Disney World.

The history of boat rides at Disney theme parks dates to the opening of Disneyland in 1955. Walt Disney himself had a passion for boats and water transportation, and he wanted to incorporate this into his new park. The first boat ride to open was the Canal Boats of the World in Fantasyland, which allowed guests to ride around a waterway and see miniature scenes of landmarks from around the world.

In 1959, Disneyland opened the iconic Mark Twain Riverboat, which took guests on a journey around the Rivers of America. The attraction proved to be so popular that it inspired the creation of similar boat rides at other Disney parks around the world. In the 1960s, Disneyland added two more boat rides: the Sailing Ship Columbia and the Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island. Both attractions allowed guests to experience the adventure and excitement of life on the high seas.

When Walt Disney World opened in 1971, it featured several boat rides, including the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the Jungle Cruise, and the Admiral Joe Fowler Riverboat. Several of these attractions were inspired by their Disneyland counterparts but were expanded to fit the larger scale of the Florida park.

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Fantasyland 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Ride
Former 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Attraction – Magic Kingdom. Image courtesy of Jerry Berger.

Over the years, Disney has continued to add new boat rides to its parks, including classic attractions like Kali River Rapids and Pirates of the Caribbean, as well as more recent additions like ‘Frozen Ever After’ and ‘Na’vi River Journey’.

Boat Rides Found In Walt Disney World

Today, boat rides remain a beloved and essential part of the Disney theme park experience, providing guests with a unique and immersive way to explore the magic and wonder of these beloved attractions.

Magic Kingdom

“It’s a Small World” 

This iconic attraction takes guests on a peaceful boat ride through various regions of the world, featuring animatronic children singing the classic song, “It’s a Small World After All.” It’s a great ride for families with young children. This classic attraction takes guests on a peaceful boat ride through a whimsical world of singing children and dancing animals. Along the way, guests are treated to colorful displays of different cultures and countries from around the world, all united by their shared love of happiness and harmony.

Jungle Cruise

This adventure takes you on a thrilling journey through exotic rivers and jungles, guided by a witty skipper. Keep an eye out for animatronic animals and surprises along the way. This humorous and adventurous boat ride takes guests on a thrilling journey through some of the world’s most exotic and dangerous rivers. Along the way, guests encounter a variety of animatronic animals and characters, all brought to life with lively and entertaining jokes and puns from their humorous captain.

Liberty Square Riverboat 

Liberty Belle Steam powered paddle boat on Rivers of America in Magic Kingdom with Cinderella Castle
Liberty Belle Steamboat – Magic Kingdom

Take a relaxing tour on a replica of an 1800s paddlewheel steamboat, the Liberty Belle, on the Rivers of America. You’ll see scenes of early American life, including a view of the iconic Haunted Mansion. This classic steam-powered paddlewheel riverboat, containing 3 decks takes 450 guests on a leisurely tour, offering stunning views of the park’s Frontierland and Liberty Square areas. Along the way, guests can relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the river while learning about the history of America’s early pioneers, as well as unique views of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Tom Sawyer Island.

Pirates of the Caribbean 

This classic ride takes visitors on a journey through a pirate-infested Caribbean town, featuring animatronic characters and a thrilling drop. This popular attraction takes guests on a swashbuckling adventure through a dark and dangerous pirate-infested world. Along the way, guests encounter a variety of animatronic pirates and scenes of ship battles and treasure hunts, all set to the iconic music and humor of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Guests might even see the infamous Jack Sparrow make an appearance or two!

Tom Sawyer Island Log Rafts

Guests visiting the Magic Kingdom can take a short ferry ride on the motorized log rafts connecting Frontierland – Tom’s Landing to Tom Sawyer Island. While on the island, Guests are free to roam and visit locations such as the Pirates Lair, visit the frontier themed log fort, walk across a barrel bridge, and see the old windmill.

Tom Sawyer Island Log Rafts with Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Magic Kingdom
Tom Sawyer Island Log Rafts – Magic Kingdom

Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise 

This unique experience combines a dessert party with a fireworks cruise on the Seven Seas Lagoon. Guests enjoy sweet treats and drinks while taking in the stunning views of the Magic Kingdom fireworks show. 

Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake Guided Fishing Excursions 

Fishing enthusiasts can book a guided excursion on one of Disney World’s lakes, with the chance to catch various species of fish including bass and catfish.


Frozen Ever After 

This boat ride takes visitors on a journey through the world of Frozen, featuring animatronic characters and memorable songs from the film. This boat ride takes guests on a magical journey through the world of Disney’s hit movie Frozen. Along the way, guests encounter all their favorite characters and scenes, all set to the movie’s beloved music and stunning special effects.

Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros 

This fun and festive ride takes guests on a journey through Mexico, featuring the Three Caballeros and traditional Mexican music. This charming boat ride takes guests on a journey through the vibrant and colorful culture of Mexico, as they join Donald Duck and his friends on a search for the elusive José Carioca and Panchito Pistoles. Along the way, guests enjoy beautiful sights and sounds of Mexico, including its famous festivals, music, and cuisine.

Living with the Land 

This educational ride takes visitors through various agricultural environments and showcases innovative farming techniques, including hydroponics and aquaculture. This educational and informative boat ride takes guests on a journey through the world of agriculture and sustainability, showcasing some of the latest and greatest innovations in food production and environmental conservation.

Epcot World Showcase Lagoon with Venetian gondolas and Spaceship Earth in the Background
World Showcase Lagoon – Epcot

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Friendship Boats 

These boats transport visitors between Epcot and Hollywood Studios via the World Showcase Lagoon and Crescent Lake. It’s a great way to avoid crowds and take in the beautiful views. These scenic water taxis provide transportation between Epcot and Hollywood Studios, offering guests a relaxing and picturesque way to travel between the two parks.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Na’vi River Journey 

This boat ride takes guests through the lush world of Pandora from the film Avatar, featuring stunning visuals and animatronic creatures. This stunning boat ride takes guests on a mystical journey through the lush and vibrant world of Pandora, as they encounter exotic plants and animals and marvel at the breathtaking bioluminescent landscapes. Along the way, guests are serenaded by the hauntingly beautiful music of the Na’vi people, creating an unforgettable and immersive experience.

Kali River Rapids

Located in the ‘Asia’ area of the Animal Kingdom, Guests travel down the Chakranadi River on a 12-person raft courtesy of the themed Kali River Expeditions. The attraction speaks to the illegal logging that takes place in jungles around the globe and the mission is showing visitors the natural beauty of the region and showcase non-destructive means to bring revenue to the local village. Guests can expect to get wet on this adventurous ride!

Disney Springs

Amphicar Tours 

Guests can take a ride in a vintage Amphicar, a car that can also travel on water, on a tour of the Disney Springs waterfront. The Amphicar Tours launch between the Boathouse Restaurant and Jack Lindsey’s Hangar Bar.

Water Taxis

Disney Springs offers Guests water taxi services around the lagoon and to nearby resorts such as Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, and the Disney’s Port Orleans and French Quarter Resorts.

Disney Water Transportation

Walt Disney World Seven Seas Lagoon Guest Water Transportation near dock
Seven Seas Lagoon near the Magic Kingdom

It’s been documented that Walt Disney World has the seventh largest navy in the world. From the iconic Staten Island ferry boats connecting the Transportation and Ticket Center to the Magic Kingdom, to the water taxis connecting the resorts near the Magic Kingdom, such as Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, the Fort Wilderness Campground, and the themed resorts on the Seven Seas Lagoon – like the Contemporary Resort, the Polynesian, and Grand Floridian – there are many choices for Guests to traverse the property in lieu of the Disney buses or monorails.

Related Stories

Scroll to Top