Disney Friendship Boats Guide

Disney Friendship Boats travel two different routes at the Walt Disney World Resort. This form of Disney transportation is one of the most pleasant offerings around.

The first Friendship Boat route runs through the Epcot Resort Area. This route takes guests between Hollywood Studios and Epcot.

Another set of Friendship Boats travels across the World Showcase Lagoon at Epcot. This route takes guests between the World Showcase Plaza and docks in the Morroco Pavilion.

This article will discuss how to best use the Friendship Boat service at Disney World to your advantage. Those staying in the immediate area or with plans to park hop between Epcot and Hollywood Studios will likely want to use the boat service during your visit.

Last updated on February 7, 2022.

Disney Friendship Boats Route

We’ll first look at the Friendship Boats that travel between Epcot and Hollywood Studios. These boats travel in a specific order stopping at each area resort between the two parks.

Once you get this route down pat, you’ll have a good idea of how to use this form of transportation. There are usually two to three Friendship Boats running through this area during the busier times of the day.

One route starts at Epcot and travels to Hollywood Studios. The other route begins at Hollywood Studios and ends up at Epcot.

The boats running will continually pass each other throughout the day on the waterway. Each boat follows the same route. Naturally, they change directions and head back the opposite way after dropping off and picking up at a theme park.

The Friendship Boat route travels in the following direction.

Friendship Boat Route from Hollywood Studios to Epcot:

  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Swan and Dolphin Hotel (includes Swan Reserve)
  • Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort (One Stop)
  • Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
  • Epcot

Friendship Boat Route from Epcot to Hollywood Studios:

  • Epcot
  • Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
  • Disney’s Beach and Yacht Club (One Stop)
  • Swan and Dolphin Hotel (includes Swan Reserve)
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Per the Disney website here, hours of operation vary subject to water and weather conditions.

Friendship Boats begin running around 8:30 a.m. and continue until about one hour after the park closes.

Make sure to check the hours of operation during your visit. They should be posted at your resort, along with any other hours for other transportation options.

Disney Friendship Boats Resort Service

Anyone staying or visiting one of the following resorts will probably want to use the Disney Friendship Boat service.

  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
  • Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Resort
  • Swan Reserve

As noted above, the Friendship Boats run in two different directions. Therefore, when boarding a boat from your resort’s dock, you’ll want to be careful to get in the correct line.

It is not uncommon for two boats to dock at the same time at any of the resorts. Therefore, each dock will have two sides. A specific side or line at each resort boat stop indicates which boat you might want to take to get to your destination.

In the picture below, you will see two boats stopped at the Yacht Club. Each boat is docked, dropping off guests and picking up new ones.

The one we see closest to us has arrived from Disney’s Boardwalk Inn and will stop at the Swan and Dolphin hotels next. After that, it will continue to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

There is a platform surrounding the lighthouse where you will wait to board a Friendship Boat to your desired destination. It’s a decent size area, and each side of the platform has a sign indicating where the boat is traveling.

The left-hand side will head to Epcot. However, it will cross the lake first and stop to pick up guests at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn.

Note: Most guests staying at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club will want to walk to Epcot. The walk will take less time than the Friendship Boat.

So if you’re leaving Beach or Yacht Club headed to the Boardwalk, you’ll want to take the Epcot Friendship Boat over to the resort. This is an excellent alternative for anyone who might not want to walk over to the Boardwalk.

Sometimes you might dress up for dinner and not want to work up a sweat on the way by walking. Take the boat over, and then enjoy a casual stroll around Crescent Lake on your way back in the evening.

Before we move on, we have reviews for Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club if you would like to learn more:

Our next stop along the Friendship boat route is Promenade Pier at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn. Below, there’s a look at the boat dock during the evening. You’ll find it located in the center of the Boardwalk.

This boat dock works similar to the one at Disney’s Yacht Club. Make sure to get in line on the right side to reach your next destination.

From the left side of the dock, you’ll travel in the following order:

  • Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club (one stop)
  • Disney’s Swan and Dolphin (includes Swan Reserve)
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios

From the right side of the dock, you’ll travel to Epcot.

For more information about the amenities at this resort, check out our review of Disney’s Boardwalk Inn.

Next, we’ll take a closer look at the Friendship Boat dock at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resorts. These resorts are a little unique because Disney doesn’t operate them.

In addition, this section will cover details for guests staying at the new Swan Reserve Resort. Guests of the Swan Reserve have access to the boat dock at the Swan and Dolphin.

When you reach the boat dock, several signs explain the transportation options at the resort. The Swan and Dolphin are about a 10-minute walk to Hollywood Studios and Epcot.

Or you can take a Friendship boat.

The Friendship Boat dock at the Swan and Dolphin sits on the bridge between the two resorts. The right side goes directly to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Guests headed to Epcot, or the other resorts will board on the left side. The stops are in this order:

  • Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club (one stop)
  • Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
  • Epcot

Tip: If you’re headed back from Hollywood Studios and going to the Boardwalk Inn, you might want to get off the boat at the Swan and Dolphin. You will have to exit and walk over the bridge to the Boardwalk, but it’s only about a five-minute walk at the most.

Using this tip will eliminate having to stop at the Yacht and Beach Club, saving approximately 10-15 minutes versus a few extra steps.

Here is a photo of the bridge between the Swan and Dolphin and Disney’s Boardwalk Inn.

I should mention that along with the few extra steps, the bridge does have a slight incline on either side.

Below is an opposite view of the landing dock for the Friendship Boats at the Swan and Dolphin. If you are unfamiliar with the area, the Dolphin is the triangular hotel to the right. The Swan is the hotel to the left. The bridge joins the two properties.

On a side note, the photo above is a bit dated. The new Swan Reserve sits behind the boat dock.

You might especially enjoy taking a walk around this area in the evening. It’s incredibly peaceful and beautiful.

Related: Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Review

After leaving the Swan and Dolphin Resort, our Friendship Boat continues to its last stop at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This Friendship Boat will stop at Hollywood Studios to unload and reload before making its way back in the opposite direction.

As you can see in the photo below, the line can be very long at certain times of the day. However, the boats do tend to hold a decent amount of guests.

Here is a quick look inside one of the boats. Disney has installed these plastic barriers between each row to help with social distancing. More than likely, these have all been removed now.

Additionally, a few guests can sit in the back row. If you are toward the front of the line, you might like to remember this and snag an outdoor seat first thing upon boarding. However, if you avoid being in direct sun, you’ll do better off inside.

Tip: For those who might be interested in taking the Disney Skyliner to Epcot from Studios, you can board it at Hollywood Studios and take it to Caribbean Beach. There you would exit and reboard the Epcot line.

I mention this because the Skyliner is so new, and it takes around the same amount of time to travel to Epcot from the Studios when considering all the stops the Friendship Boats make.

However, travel times can always vary, especially if you run into a long line or other special circumstances along the way.

Related: Disney’s Skyliner Travel Times

Personally, I prefer to walk the entire way to Epcot. Or if it’s hot, I’ll boat to the Yacht Club dock and then walk the rest of the way to avoid having to stop at the Boardwalk.

Last but not least, we’ll take a quick look at the International Gateway’s boat dock at Epcot. This stop will drop you off within a few steps of the entrance to the park. The International Gateway entrance is easily accessible and rarely has long lines to enter the park.

This entrance is shared with guests of the Epcot Resorts or those arriving from the Skyliner resorts. In addition, guests park hopping from Hollywood Studios also come through this way.

Disney Friendship Boats in Epcot

In addition to the boats in the Epcot Resorts Area, you will find a separate Friendship Boat transportation option within Epcot.

These boats travel from the World Showcase Plaza across the World Showcase Lagoon and then to the Morocco Pavilion.

Unfortunately, these boats probably won’t save you much time unless you were to happen upon one that’s departing. However, they will save you a lot of steps.

The only drawback is that you’ll miss touring a few countries in the World Showcase along the way. But if you do find yourself in need of this service, by all means, take advantage of it.

Remember that Epcot has a fireworks show, Harmonious, on the lagoon every evening. On a standard schedule, these boats typically begin running around 11:00 a.m., and the last boat departs across the lagoon at approximately 7:30 p.m.

Final Thoughts on Disney’s Friendship Boats

The Friendship Boats are a great way to get around the Epcot Resorts area. They are especially useful if you aren’t familiar with the area or are on a first-time visit.

The boats are also a wonderful solution for traveling with small children who might be worn out at the end of the day.

Overall, Disney’s transportation system is quite large. Knowing all of your transportation options in advance will tremendously benefit your vacation.

Related: Disney’s Transportation Options

Additionally, you might enjoy a few other articles:

Planning a Disney vacation? Resorts Gal specializes in Disney Resort Reviews, Disney Restaurant Reviews, and information on meeting characters at Disney World.

If you haven’t decided on a resort, you can browse the complete list of Walt Disney World Resorts. From there, select which resort interests you the most. Each resort will have a variety of articles covering anything from staying at the hotel to dining and recreation.

I hope you found this review of Disney’s Friendship Boats helpful in planning your upcoming trip. If you have any comments or questions about the Friendship boats, leave them below, and I’ll be happy to answer based on our travel experiences.

2 Comments

  1. I really like this comprehensive explanation regarding the Friendship Boats. It’s very helpful to know about when the World Showcase boats stop running. I’m going in November and will have some folks who will need to use them with me (and I think it will be fun to ride them for the first time). Thank you!

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