Do you remember the Magic Kingdom Swan Boats? I do! The Swan Boats were operational at the Magic Kingdom from May 20, 1973 through August, 1983 and were one of my very favorite attractions!
The Swan Boats used to sail around the canals in the Magic Kingdom. The boats could carry around 28 to 30 guests and toured the canals of Adventureland and around Cinderella Castle. The Swan Boats traveled the waters of the Magic Kingdom, offering very unique views of Cinderella Castle, The Swiss Family Robinson TreeHouse and other attractions along the way. The boats were named for some of Disney’s animated heroines. Among the names were Tiger Lily, Tinker Bell, Katrina, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather.
Originally there were 12 boats when the ride opened, but this was reduced to 11 when one of the boats was converted to clean the canals. By the end of the rides operation, there were only 5 boats operating. The reason for closing was because of the cost to keep the boats running. They constantly had issues with their natural gas engines and guidance system. Originally the guidance was done with an electronic system but was changed to use water propulsion to turn the boat. Eventually the boats were removed and sold.
Until a redesign of the Magic Kingdom hub began in March of 2014, a noticeable piece of the attraction’s history existed between Cinderella Castle and Tomorrowland. A shady seating area at the water’s edge, with a green roof, which was originally built as the Swan Boat’s second and permanent loading dock. The former entrance to the attraction is what many guests recognized as the Rose Garden and the original loading dock for the boats was used as an outdoor seating area just outside the Plaza Restaurant.
After boarding the boats near Tomorrowland, you took a seventeen minute guided tour through the main hub, into Adventureland, and back again. The pinnacle of the ride was to drive around the Swiss Family Robinson TreeHouse before heading back to unload. After closing, the boats were sent to a storage lot on property where they were all sold at auction with the boats and swans sold separately. Rumor has it that 6 of the swans are currently accounted for with one belonging to a man in Florida who also has the only known surviving boat.
Are there are Walt Disney World attractions that you miss?