Taking the Magic Kingdom Ferry (With Resort Boat Service Tips)

Magic Kingdom’s Ferry is one of the most well-known forms of transportation at Walt Disney World. The ferry boat takes guests back and forth across Seven Seas Lagoon from the Transportation and Ticket Center.

In addition, several other boat options run across the lagoon between the surrounding Magic Kingdom Resorts and Magic Kingdom.

This article will look at the Magic Kingdom Ferry and surrounding resort boat services. Whether you’re headed to the Magic Kingdom or want to visit a resort for dining or leisure, it’s important to know the best way to get around.

These tips and details are based on my travel experiences. Since I’m often at the resorts and parks, I intentionally walk through these processes and take photos to provide you with the most updated information possible.

I am of the mindset that it’s essential to learn all of the transportation options available at Disney. It’s nice to be in the know instead of trying to figure out things when you get there.

I often see guests who have managed to get to the parks in the morning, not knowing how to get back to their destination at the end of a long day.

Taking the Magic Kingdom Ferry (and other resort boats) is one of the most pleasant ways to travel around the Magic Kingdom. There’s something about sailing across the water to the most magical place on earth, especially on a sunny Florida day.

This article was updated on April 13, 2022.

Magic Kingdom Ferry Boat

When visiting the Magic Kingdom, guests that drive or are coming from an off-property resort will have to park in the massive parking lot at Magic Kingdom.

After parking, you’ll head to the Transportation and Ticket Center, which sits at the front of the lot.

Tip: In a rush to get to the park, don’t forget to take a photo or write down the row where you parked. The last thing you want is to spend 30 minutes looking for your car after 12 hours of standing in line for rides all day.

When you arrive at the Transportation and Ticket Center, you have two main options for getting to the Magic Kingdom:

  • Magic Kingdom Ferry
  • Magic Kingdom Monorail

If you are interested in taking the monorail, read our complete guide. As of 2022, all of the monorails are fully operational.

Related: Disney World Monorail Guide

Before deciding which form of transportation to take, you’ll head through security screening. Security was formerly on the other side of the water after arriving at the park.

However, most will find this new security process a tremendous improvement.

Usually, two Magic Kingdom ferry boats run back and forth across the lagoon. Each ferry docks, drops off guests, and picks up new guests before returning across the water.

The Magic Kingdom Ferry usually begins running 45 minutes before the park opens and up to one hour after the park closes. If Magic Kingdom is open for early theme park benefits, the ferry will begin running approximately 45 minutes before those hours begin. The same goes for extended evening hours for parties or after-hours events.

The dock for the Ferry Boat is on the far left after entering the Transportation and Ticket Center. After the ferry unloads from its returning trip, a cast member will come and open the gate for new guests to board.

You are then welcome to board the ferry and decide to stay on the main level or head up to the second level. However, seating is pretty limited on the ferry. Therefore, grab a spot as quickly as possible if you need a seat.

The ferry offers excellent views of the Magic Kingdom and the surrounding area. I have found that taking this option is enjoyable, and the pace is not rushed.

With that being said, it doesn’t take long for the ferry to sail across Bay Lake.

It takes approximately 15 minutes to board the Magic Kingdom Ferry, travel over, and dock. You could easily spend the same amount of time waiting in line for the Express monorail.

However, if there isn’t a line for the monorail, it is usually the faster of the two options.

I don’t know the exact specifics of how many guests can board each vessel. But it seems that the ferry has a higher capacity.

When heading back from the Magic Kingdom, you’ll return to the same dock.

My favorite time to take the ferry is on a leisurely day when the sun is shining, and it’s nice to be outside. I will nearly always take the ferry over the monorail if it’s docked when I arrive at the Transportation and Ticket Center.

Unfortunately, the ferry will have extremely long lines (like everything else) if you leave after the park closes. But from my experience, the ferry is usually the best way to get back across the water.

Magic Kingdom Resort Boats

Next, we’ll look at the different resort boats serving the Magic Kingdom area. If you’re staying or visiting one of the Magic Kingdom Resorts, you will have various transportation means to the theme park.

The following resorts offer boat service to the Magic Kingdom:

The resort boats are substantially smaller than the ferry. However, there won’t be nearly as many guests using them.

When you exit the Magic Kingdom, there are three different boat launches.

  • Magic Kingdom Ferry Service
  • Boat Dock 1 (Disney’s Grand Floridian and Disney’s Polynesian)
  • Boat Dock 2 (Disney’s Polynesian and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge)

If you have visited the Magic Kingdom before and have used boat service, you’ll want to know that the resort boat docks have been swapped in recent years.

The center dock (boat dock 1) is for guests headed to the Grand Floridian and Polynesian.

And the boat dock on the far right-hand side (boat dock 2) delivers guests to the Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness. The new walkway from Magic Kingdom to Grand Floridian begins directly behind this dock.

Below we’ll cover each of these routes in more detail per resort.

Here we have a photo of the resort boat dock at Disney’s Grand Floridian.

This boat typically travels from the Magic Kingdom to Grand Floridian and then heads over the Polynesian.

Tip: If you are on the way back to the Polynesian or the Transportation and Ticket Center, you can exit at Grand Floridian and walk over. We tend to do this because we enjoy the walk between the two resorts.

However, you can always stay on board and exit at the Polynesian. Thankfully, there are several different ways you can get around between these resorts.

Related: Transportation Options at Disney’s Grand Floridian

If you’re going to the Polynesian, you’ll take the same resort boat service. When you leave Polynesian for Magic Kingdom, the park will be the first stop before heading back across the water to Grand Floridian.

The boat dock for the Polynesian sits out behind the Polynesian’s feature pool area.

Related: The Volcano Pool at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

Here is a photo of the boat dock for reference.

Boat transportation between the resorts and Magic Kingdom begins one-half hour before the park opens and lasts until 45 minutes after the park closes.

You’ll want to fold any strollers before boarding.

If you were to get confused, there are usually directionals all over the grounds of the Polynesian. Most guests head straight to the Great Ceremonial House, the resort’s lobby.

The Great Ceremonial House is where you’ll find all the Polynesian’s major dining and retail areas.

Related: Disney’s Polynesian Restaurants Guide

Next up, we’ll look at the boat service from Magic Kingdom to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Some of these boats are larger than those that run between the monorail resorts.

These boats usually have an interior and exterior seating area.

Make sure to enter the correct line at Magic Kingdom since the launch is shared with Fort Wilderness.

When you reach the Wilderness Lodge, you are greeted by a scenic walkway through a wooded area.

There are plenty of directionals here to get you going in the right place. Don’t forget that the resorts are large. If you haven’t visited before, it can be easy to get turned around.

Some of my favorite moments on Disney property are spending quiet, relaxing times at the resorts. And that especially includes my time spent at the Wilderness Lodge.

Related: Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Review

If you’re lucky, you might even catch Fire Rock, the geyser erupting.

Finally, the last resort boat launch from Magic Kingdom takes us to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground.

The Fort Wilderness boat launch from Magic Kingdom is shared with Wilderness Lodge.

After exiting at the Fort Wilderness dock, you are within walking distance of Pioneer Hall. Pioneer Hall is where Trails End Restaurant and Hoop Dee Doo Revue are located.

If you are visiting for horseback riding, you will need to find bus transportation after exiting the boat. Fort Wilderness is a massive resort that has an interim bus service.

There are two stables on the property. But the one that offers horseback riding is at the front of the resort, which isn’t anywhere near the bus stop.

We did this a few years back, and there was a lot of confusion from cast members about where we were going. So we ended up in the wrong place.

It took us quite a while to get good directions after initially docking at Disney’s Fort Wilderness. Since then, I’ve spent a good deal of time at the resort. It’s taken a lot of wandering to learn my way around.

Related: Disney’s Fort Wilderness Review

With that being said, Fort Wilderness is a unique resort and a great place to visit for anyone who loves spending time outdoors!

Lastly, Disney’s Contemporary is the only Magic Kingdom Resort that doesn’t have boat transportation to the theme park. However, you can easily walk back and forth between the Magic Kingdom and the Contemporary.

Related: Disney’s Contemporary Resort Review

Additionally, we have an independent review of Bay Lake Tower.

2022 Update: The following boat transportation is not running as of this update. You’ll want to check at the hotel to see if it has returned if you desire to use it.

Since the Contemporary has a large backyard on Bay Lake, you can hop on a boat from the resort to either Fort Wilderness or the Wilderness Lodge. This boat service is convenient for anyone who wants to travel between the resorts for dining or recreation.

When I took this picture, boat service was available between 6:45 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

We have taken the boat over to the Wilderness Lodge for breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe.

Related: Whispering Canyon Cafe Breakfast Review

Usually, this boat goes in a triangle from the Contemporary to Fort Wilderness and then back to Wilderness Lodge before returning.

Final Thoughts: Magic Kingdom Ferry and Resort Boats

The Magic Kingdom Ferry and other surrounding resort boat launches provide a service and an enjoyable experience while at Walt Disney World. A warm sunny day sailing across the Seven Seas Lagoon can improve even an already cheerful mood.

If you have visited Resorts Gal before, you probably already know I have a love for transportation at Disney World. Therefore, I can not reiterate the importance of learning the different options and best ways to get around Disney property.

My other passion is sharing information about resorts, characters, and dining. You can read the complete list of Disney World Resorts reviews here on the site.

Not for sure if you want to stay on Disney property? Check out our guide to finding the best off-site hotels near Disney World. Some of our favorites include:

Or browse over our list of the Best Marriotts near Disney World.

You’ve probably heard that sometimes the most fun is in the journey. And let’s face it, where else can you take a scenic boat ride, a highway in the sky, or a gondola for free while on vacation?

All of our transportation articles for Disney World are available here. Or you might like these other options:

In the comments: Have you ever taken the Magic Kingdom Ferry or one of the resort boat launches? Did you find this article helpful? Do you still have questions about using any of these boat services?

2 Comments

  1. MK closes at 6PM and the Electrical Water Pageant starts at 8:30. I would like to go to Fort Wilderness to watch the water pageant and eat at a quick service restaurant there. Can I catch a boat there and one back to the parking lot at MK after the water pageant?

    1. Hi Sharon,

      My best guess would be probably not. BUT your best bet would be to ask the cast member at the boat service before heading over that way. From my experiences, Disney’s transportation times have been drastically reduced given shorter theme park operating hours. You might have to take a taxi or car service to get back to your car. Good luck, I’ve never watched the pageant from Fort Wilderness. I’ll have to check that out sometime!

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