Classic Boats at the Dockside Bar

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Last fall Carol and I enjoyed our first dinner at the Boathouse Restaurant in Disney Springs. On our way to the check-in desk we paused to watch the Amphicars come and go at the launch ramp directly beside the restaurant entrance.

Amphicar Landing

Our meal was a wonderful experience; we savoured delightful food as we sat overlooking the waters of the lagoon. I was mesmerized by the Amphicars which sailed past throughout our dinner. The old classic cars . . . or boats . . . or whatever they are, were shining brightly in the long rays of the setting sun.



I was so wrapped up watching the Amphicars that I didn’t even notice the other classic boats until it was almost dark. A wooden dock runs from south end of the Boathouse Restaurant out to the Dockside Bar, built on posts in the middle of the lagoon. The dock carries on past the bar and at the opposite end reconnects with the Boathouse Restaurant at its northern end. The outer portion of the dock is lined, on both sides, with some amazing old boats.

Dockside Bar

The Dockside Bar is directly under the balloon. The classic boats are to the right.

After dinner we wandered out along the dock and took our time admiring an astounding array of teak, mahogany, fiberglass, brass, steel and chrome.

It took me back to my youth. I grew up in a small village on the north shore of Lake Erie and as far back as I can remember we had a power boat docked along the river right behind our home.

I tried to capture a few pictures, but there just wasn’t enough light for our little point and shoot camera. Here are the best shots I got that night.

Cadillac Sea Lark

Cadillac Sea Lark

Look at those tail fins on the 1956 Cadillac Sea Lark! Wow!

I just had to see some more of those boats, so just a few days later we drove back over to Disney Springs. We walked past the Boathouse check-in podium, through the restaurant and out onto the dock leading toward the Dockside Bar.

The flashbacks began almost immediately! The mahogany boats reminded me of the first boat I remember, our 1954 18’ SeaBird Runabout. It was built in Ontario by the Port Carling Boat Works and was powered by a 4 cylinder Buchanan engine which put out a whopping 60 horsepower! I don’t have a picture of our old boat, but here is a SeaBird from the same era!


This beautiful old Chris Craft sure reminded me of our SeaBird!

Chris Craft

The wooden and fiberglass gems line the dock, and each one has a plaque describing its history and background. Take time to read the messages, each of the boats has a story to tell!

Classic Boats

Gods Time

God’s Time was one of my favourites, I love those gull-wing doors in the top!

Gods Time

Gods Time

Walts Dream

Walt’s Dream is a 1947 Chris Craft Runabout, beautifully restored.

If speedboats are more to your liking, here are a couple of beauties!

U22 Alter Ego

Alter Ego is a 32′ Hydroplane powered by a 1500 horsepower Allison V12

G-99 Miss Belle Isle

G-99 Miss Belle Isle

Do you like fiberglass and fins?

Here’s a daylight picture of that 1956 Cadillac Sea Lark.

Sea Lark

1950s Fins

There are lots of other 1950’s fins to see!

Marilyns Meteor Mate

Even the big Mercury outboard engine is pink on Marilyn’s Meteor Mate.

Marilyns Meteor Mate

Marilyns Meteor Mate


Keep an eye out for Gadget, a teeny weeny tug boat and the beautifuly restored steam powered boat pictured below.

Steam Power

The Boathouse

Next time you visit Disney Springs take a stroll along the dock beside The Boathouse and enjoy some nautical history!

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Gary hails from Canada and he’s a lifelong Disney fan. In the 1950s he watched the original Mickey Mouse Club and The Wonderful World of Disney on a snowy old black-and-white television. Gary was mesmerized by the Disneyland that Walt introduced to the world during those Sunday night shows! In 1977 he took his young family to Walt Disney World for the first time and suddenly that Disney magic he experienced as a child was rekindled. Since then Gary and his wife Carol have enjoyed about 70 trips to Walt Disney World, 11 trips to Disneyland and 11 Disney Cruises.

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5 Replies to “Classic Boats at the Dockside Bar”

  1. Hi Gary
    Thank you for another great column, I look forward to it every week.
    My family and I just got back from WDW on Sunday and its ironic your column this week is about the Boathouse because that was the highlight of my week, my daughter and I went for a ride in in the teal amphicar and it was a total blast going around the lake in it.
    The classic boats are something to see as well it would have been great to have a ride in one of those as well.
    Please keep up the great columns as it is the highlight of my Sundays
    Take care

  2. Hi Gary –

    Something for me to explore and photograph when we go to WDW in August! I saw the Amphicar on our last trip in 2015, but not these. I first saw the Amphicar when I was a kid in 1963 in Lake George, NY. It was on display where the lake started in downtown touristy Lake George. I really liked your pic of the aqua & white 1957 Chevy boat, I think I built a model of that car back in the day.

    – Jeff

    PS: As long as you keep blogging here, I think I can get by without the usual schedule of Trip Reports. I do enjoy the vicarious vacations!

    [Gary writes: One of my school chums fathers had an Amphicar back around 1960 – 62. It wasn’t very practical on Lake Erie which is quite shallow and can get very rough. It was fun in the rivers though, I rode in it several times. We must be about the same age Jeff, I built that 1957 Chevy model too!]

  3. Great as always Gary!

    Another reason to go back to WDW! 12 years is way too long.

    Speaking of which, I immensely enjoy your trip blogs but I don’t see any trips to The Fort planned this year. They make up for me not being there. Taking a year off?

    Give Jake and Blue a kiss for me. : )


    [Gary writes: Thanks Doug, our next trip will be to Disneyland in Anaheim next December. Can you hold out until then?]

  4. Tom and I are at Fort Wilderness now enjoying a month long stay. I didn’t now about these classic boats but we will certainly take a look when we are back at Disney Springs. (Perhaps on Wednesday as that is sundae day ). Thanks for the informative blog Gary.

  5. I have never noticed this! Thanks for sharing, it’s something I’ll want to check out the next time I’m there!