Over the past year, The BOATHOUSE: Great Food, Waterfront Dining, Dream Boats has been hoisting up along the Downtown Disney skyline. The venue, open today, is the first of several new restaurants coming to The Landing, a new neighborhood that will be part of Disney Springs.
The BOATHOUSE is an upscale waterfront dining experience showcasing steaks, chops, fresh seafood and a raw bar. Built over the water, the 600 seat nautically themed restaurant also features a display of rare dream boats from the 1930s – 1950s, a beautifully crafted water taxi and a fleet of amphibious autos, called Amphicars.
I had the chance to talk with Theron Skees, executive creative director for Walt Disney Imagineering to learn more about how The BOATHOUSE charted its course. Theron shared “It’s been such a team effort between WDI and the Schussler design team; to see Steve’s dream come to life is awesome. It’s been a true collaboration. Guests will experience rooms that represent different time periods in the history of the building, with a focus on a view of the water. Each design element: the height of the restaurant ceiling, the width of the deck, the transparency of the railing, it was all considered so guests would have maximum visibility to the water.”
I got to tour The BOATHOUSE recently, and if stunning water views and impeccable attention-to-detail were what they were aiming for, well, they nailed it!
Earlier today, Pam Brandon shared details on the menu, so now I’m giving you an early look at what else you can expect at this unique location:
Amphicar Rides – Is it a car? A boat? Yes. And yes! Guests can experience the thrill of a Captain’s guided tour aboard a rare Amphicar that drives on land and floats in the water. The $125 price tag includes your own Car Captain and seating for up to three guests. Along the way, you’ll have a great view of Downtown Disney, direct from the water. I tested the Ampihicars last week and had a blast; you literally drive into the lake with a splash – plus, I felt like a celebrity, waving to all the curious guests onshore! This is the only place in the world to ride in these vintage vehicles. Tours are available daily from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., weather permitting, and will be available soon.
Italian Water Taxi Cruise – The Venezia, a breathtaking 40-foot wooden Italian Water Taxi also offers a Captain’s guided tour of Downtown Disney; this one is complete with live music, chocolate-covered strawberries and a champagne toast. Tours will be offered hourly from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., weather permitting, starting soon, for individuals and groups of up to 20. The cost is $75 per person or $50 per child under age 13. (Want a more private tour for two? Ask about the Antique Steamboat Tour aboard Lady Rose; the cost is $150 per couple.)
“Floating Art” – I knew they were beautiful, but I had no idea I was looking at a multi-million dollar fleet of rare boats. Gathered from museums, private collectors, and boat shows from around the world, be sure to take some time to stroll the marina. Photos are not only allowed, but encouraged, so have your camera handy.
Interior Décor – Boat motors mounted on the wall. Trophies from regattas of days gone by. Stunning photography and artwork, some historical, some richly modern. It’s all incredible. But perhaps my favorite décor element is the brand-new boat that the team modified so it could include a dining table. (I’ll just say it now, everyone will want to sit there, me included!) Of course, the true visual hero, even from inside the restaurant, is the water. The good news is that every single table has a great view, so there’s no such thing as a bad seat.
Entertainment – Harbor Master festivities take place throughout the day and evening, with flag ceremonies and lively musical performances of beloved bugle songs, performed aboard Lady Rose. Inside, live entertainment takes center stage with a variety of musical styles – during my “sneak peek,” familiar songs were floating through the restaurant.
Check out the gallery below for a glimpse of what you can expect when you visit.
It’s hard to guess what guests will love most about The BOATHOUSE. What are you most excited for? Tell me in the comments below – I’d love to know!
How do we reserve one of these? We will both be celebrating birthdays in Jan/Feb and will be there 1/14/16 to 1/18/16. I’d love to surprise my car-fanatic hubby with this as a gift!
how do i boot the amphicars?? we are coming over to orlando in feb 2016 and i want to book one for my dads 60th birthday (he’s a big james bond fan)
This is not the “the only place in the world to ride in these vintage vehicles.”
There are quite a few Amphicar owners here in the US, and some of us are original owners who still use our Amphicars all the time!
We would like to take Dad for a spin in the amphicar. How do I make a reservation?
Is there any way to make reservations for the amphicar rides? Or is it a wait in line type thing?
Emily – The Amphicar is not a large car … and it is not a medium car, either. Expect to get four medium size people in the vehicle … not five small people.
So exciting! Any updates on when The Boathouse will begin accepting ADRs? We will be there in September and are dying to give it a try!
Our favorite place for years at Disney was Capt Jack’s Oyster Bar set on the water in the village. It was a yearly stop when we visited my parents. Then you turned it into one of your Disney food plan places and ruined it. I can only hope that this Boathouse will be as good as Capt. Jack’s once was. I will certainly try it when I am in Orlando in Aug.
I’d love to know if children under three ‘count’ for the Amphicars… so 2 adults and 3 kids under three–would that be allowable for the Amphicars, if the kids were on laps?
one more reason to stay one more day at french quarter(may the last ride can develiry us in the hotel?)
In response, the “Ducks” and Amphicars are not exactly the same. I’ve been on the tour in the Wisconsin Dells – those Ducks are largely leftover Military Service Amphibious craft.
I was excited to see this and then I saw the price for just the boat ride, yikes! When you have 4 kids plus my hubby and I, that’s one expensive boat ride. And Eric I agree with you, but Philadelphia, Pa. had the first Duck boat tours that then expanded to other cities…but I think the point they were trying to make was that these are the first of this type, with the old fashion cars being used and not a big bus, like the Duck tours. Anyway it looks fun, and may be on our to do list for this years trip:-)
I just saw that..we leave on the 15th..boo! Might have to risk it anyway..Thanks !
They are currently walk-up only, reservations will be available starting May 15. I haven’t seen the official word for WDW-DINE yet.
Personally, I won’t be paying $75 per hour for a water taxi at Downtown Disney – though having said that – it’s about what our water taxi in Venice cost to get from the hotel to the big cruise dock. But that was for 2 and it was a necessity.
Do we call directly for reservations or are they open at this time ?
We are visiting in May.
Hi Darcy! In reference to Matthew’s comment on #2, the prices are NOT out of line! My husband and I took the private Breathless II boat ride at Epcot in February 2009 and I remember it costing over $300.00 but it was by far the BEST boat ride that we had ever taken! Wanted to do it again this past March and was told it had been taken out of service! So excited to experience this new restaurant and boat ride in the near future! Thank You for bringing new restaurants and ideas to the Downtown Disney area!!!
Hi Andrea! I never had the chance to do a private Epcot boat ride, but it sounds amazing. I think you and your husband will love the new offerings at The BOATHOUSE just as much, if not more. Come visit us soon — with our transformation to Disney Springs, the property is constantly changing!!!
Believe it or not, Amphicars were an attraction at the 1964 World’s Fair, birthplace of It’s a Small World, Carousel of Progress, the Peoplemover, and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.
It’s great to see a new addition of quality to Downtown Disney, but the prices are way out of line with the competition. Too bad.
Well, wouldn’t say it’s the -only- place to ride an Amphicar: DC and Boston had “Duck Tours”, that took guests in and around the city in large open troop-carrying amphibious vehicles converted into tour buses, but this’s the first time I’ve seen a private-car tour. Or the 50’s-sedan styling. 🙂