Disney Friendship Boats Guide

In this article, we discuss the Friendship Boats at Walt Disney World. We’ll look at their routes, hours of operation, and a few tips for utilizing the boat service.

Disney Friendship Boats travel two different routes at the Walt Disney World Resort. They are one of the most pleasant forms of Disney transportation available.

One set of Friendship Boats services the Epcot Resort Area. This route takes guests between Hollywood Studios and Epcot. It stops at the resorts in between.

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

Below, we’ll go over how best to use the Disney Friendship Boat service 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.

Last updated on April 7, 2023.

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 their route down pat, you’ll have a good idea of how to use this form of transportation. During the busier portions of the day, you can expect to see two to three Friendship boats running through the area.

One route starts at Epcot and travels to Hollywood Studios. Vice versa, another route begins at Hollywood Studios and ends at Epcot. So they will have three resort stops each way.

These boats will continually pass each other along the waterway throughout the day. Each boat follows the same route. At the end of each route, they change directions and head back the opposite way.

Here is the Friendship Boat route for the Epcot Resort Area.

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

Friendship Boat Service Hours

Per Disney’s website here, hours of operation vary subject to water and weather conditions. At the time of this update, Disney’s Friendship Boats begin running in the Epcot Resorts area at 7:00 a.m. and continue until about one hour after the parks close.

With that said, we recommend checking the hours of operation for the boat service after you arrive at the hotel. Hours fluctuate based on the park’s opening hours and should be posted at your hotel, along with hours for other transportation options.

Special Circumstances:

We recently stayed at Disney’s Yacht Club and attended After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where the park remained open until approximately 12:30 a.m. Since this was a special ticketed event, the Friendship Boats closed at their regular time.

Since the boats were not available, guests in the Epcot Resorts Area could walk or take a bus back to their resorts. So if you are staying in the area with plans to attend After Hours at Epcot or Hollywood Studios (or a similar event), know that the Friendship Boats might not be available afterward.

Disney Friendship Boats Resort Service

Guests of the following resorts will probably want to use the Disney Friendship Boat service during their stay:

  • 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 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 simultaneously at any of the resorts. Therefore, each resort dock has two sides.

Yacht and Beach Club Dock

Disney’s Beach and Yacht Club guests share a boat dock at the Yacht Club’s lighthouse. It’s a reasonably large area. A sign indicates where guests should line up on each side of the lighthouse.

In the picture below, you can see two boats docked at the Yacht Club. At each stop, guests onboard are allowed to disembark. Then guests waiting can board the vessel.

The boat 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.

Guests going to Epcot or the Boardwalk will line up on the left-hand side. When the boat leaves, it will stop at the Boardwalk before Epcot.

Note: Most guests staying at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club will want to walk to Epcot. The walk ranges from 5-10 minutes and will take less time than the boat service.

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

For instance, if you’re dressed up for dinner, you might not want to work up a sweat by walking to the restaurant. Instead, you can take the boat and then enjoy a casual stroll around Crescent Lake on your way back in the evening.

Related Resort Reviews:

Boardwalk Inn Boat Dock

Our next stop along the Friendship Boat route is Promenade Pier at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn. Below is a look at the boat dock during the evening. It sits in the center of the Boardwalk.

This boat dock works similarly 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 directly to Epcot. There are no other stops along this route.

Related: Disney’s Boardwalk Inn Review

Swan and Dolphin Hotels Boat Dock

Next, we’ll look at the Friendship Boat dock at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resorts, including the Swan Reserve. These resorts are unique because Disney doesn’t own or operate them.

This boat dock sits on a walkway between the Swan and Dolphin Hotels. Guests of the Swan Reserve will have to walk over to access the Friendship Boat service.

The right side goes directly to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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

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

Tip: If you’re returning from Hollywood Studios and going to the Boardwalk Inn, you can exit at the Swan and Dolphin. You will have to walk over the bridge to the Boardwalk, but it’s only a five-minute walk at the most. This will eliminate having to stop at the Yacht and Beach Club next and save you approximately 10-15 minutes of travel time.

Here is a photo that shows the distance between the Swan and Dolphin Friendship Boat dock to the Boardwalk. The entrance to Disney’s Boardwalk is at the end of the bridge on the far left-hand side of the image.

Related: Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Review

Friendship Boat Dock at Hollywood Studios

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 returning in the opposite direction.

Signage posted at the dock indicates the route the boat will travel back.

Last, we’ll examine the Friendship Boat dock at Epcot’s International Gateway. This boat dock is only a few short steps from the back entrance to the park. One of the great things about this location is that it rarely has long lines to enter the park.

The International Gateway is shared among guests of the Epcot Resorts or those arriving from the Skyliner Resorts. In addition, guests park hopping between Hollywood Studios and Epcot also use this entrance.

What do the Friendship Boats Look Like Inside?

Here is a quick look inside one of the boats. These plastic barriers have all been removed. Each boat has several rows. There is space for two wheelchair or ECV guests toward the back interior of the boat.

A cast member will assist guests with accessibility issues. Often, they will have a ramp to help wheelchair (ECV) guests load and unload.

*Details for those with mobility issues (i.e., wheelchair, ECVs) can be found here on Disney’s site.

Additionally, a few guests are allowed to sit on the exterior back row of the Friendship Boats. These seats are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

If you are at the front of the line, you might think to snag one if you prefer the fresh, open air. However, the inside is fine if you avoid being in direct sun.

Other Alternatives

If the Friendship Boats are unavailable or you don’t want to wait, there is a walking path between Hollywood Studios and Epcot. This path will pass by most of the resorts on the way.

When you reach the Boardwalk, you can continue to Epcot via the Boardwalk side or the Beach and Yacht Club side. At this point, the Swan and Dolphin Hotels will be to the immediate left.

Related: Walking from Hollywood Studios to Epcot via Disney’s Boardwalk

Additionally, guests can take the Skyliner from Epcot to Hollywood Studios or vice versa. We discuss that route in detail in a separate article. However, note you will altogether bypass the Epcot Resorts when taking this route.

Related: Disney Skyliner Route

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 won’t save you much time unless you were to happen upon one that’s departing. However, they will save you steps.

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

You’ll want to remember that Epcot has a fireworks show on the lagoon each 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

Disney’s Friendship Boats are a great way to get around the Epcot Resorts area. They are instrumental if you aren’t familiar with the area or are a first-time visitor.

While they aren’t the fastest transportation, the boats provide a solution for those traveling with small children or anyone not up for a long walk between the parks and resorts.

Knowing your transportation options at Walt Disney World will benefit your vacation tremendously. We hope this guide gave you a base knowledge of how, when, and why you might want to use Disney’s Friendship Boats.

For more about transportation, all of our articles are listed in a guide:

Additionally, you might enjoy a few individual articles:

Are you planning a Disney vacation? Resorts Gal specializes in providing 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 has a variety of articles covering everything from staying at the hotel to dining and recreation.

In the Comments

Hopefully, 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.

I’ll be happy to answer based on our travel experiences.


  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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