The Secrets Behind the Water of Walt Disney World

Given the location of Walt Disney World, it is no surprise that there are many lakes and rivers that feature in the Disney Parks and Resorts.

Whilst some Guests are happy to pass by and not wonder anything about them, we’re sure that you’re like us here at Disney Tips, and want to know everything about them! Not only is it cool to know the names of the bodies of water that you will pass or travel on, but it’s also cool to know their backstories. You also never know when a question could come up in a Disney trivia round in Walt Disney World, or a Disney Parks & Resorts trivia onboard a Disney Cruise!

So, let us share with you all that we know about the waters located in Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista!

Seven Seas Lagoon

Quite possibly the most well-known body of water on Disney Property, Seven Seas Lagoon lies right in front of Magic Kingdom Park. It could be said that the Lagoon was one of the first things in existence in Walt Disney World, given that it was created to allow for Magic Kingdom to sit on the first level.

This provides space for the Utilidors, which ensure that Cast Members can move to their work locations without “breaking the show” and passing through a land where their costume will look out of place. 


Credit: V Mills

When visiting Magic Kingdom, Guests who travel by car are required to travel by Monorail or Ferry to access the entrance to the Disney Park. Whichever method of travel Guests choose, they are sure to get a great view of the Seven Seas Lagoon. Guests will also pass by 3 small islands located in the Lagoon, named Castaway Cay (sharing its name with Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, which is visited by Disney Cruise Line Guests), Blackbeard Island, and Beachcomber Island.

Guests staying in Disney’s Polynesian Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa can also travel across Seven Seas Lagoon by boat to and from Magic Kingdom. These Resorts are nestled on the shores of the Lagoon, as well as Disney’s Wedding Pavilion, an exclusive location for brides and grooms to exchange vows and rings. Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Bay Lake Tower also offer Lagoon views for Guests staying in those Resorts.

World Showcase Lagoon

It could be said that this is the body of water that comes second to Seven Seas Lagoon. A visit to EPCOT will undoubtedly involve Guests strolling the World, with a view of World Showcase Lagoon.

For those Guests that are needing to rest their feet, they can cross World Showcase Lagoon via the EPCOT FriendShip Boats. There are 4 FriendShip Launches located around the World Showcase: to the right of Port of Entry; to the left of Disney Traders; Germany; and Morocco. Next time you’re visiting EPCOT, make sure to board a FriendShip boat, and enjoy a view of the World Showcase from the middle of the World Showcase Lagoon!


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But here’s the secret you need to know about World Showcase Lagoon – most of its water is drainage water from Spaceship Earth. The ‘globe’ drains water through 1-inch gaps from the exterior, to an internal gutter system.

The gutters then run through EPCOT to World Showcase Lagoon. So next time you’re standing underneath Spaceship Earth, taking shelter from the infamous Orlando storms, you’ll know exactly where that water will run to!

Bay Lake

The sister to Seven Seas Lagoon, Bay Lake is a larger lake that lies on the shores of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness, and Disney’s Contemporary Resort.  The Disney Vacation Club Resort, Bay Lake Tower got its name due to being located lakeside, and many of the Guest Studios and Villas offer views of the shimmering lake too.


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Bay Lake is a natural body of water, that had to be drained and completely cleaned before Walt Disney World officially opened. When the bottom of the lake was scraped clean, it revealed pure white sand, which was used to create the beaches located around Seven Seas Lagoon. Previously, water sports such as water skiing, parasailing wakeboarding, and tubing, were available to enjoy on Bay Lake. This was made possible by Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Center, until August 31, 2018.

Along the shores of Bay Lake, was also where the first Water Park of Walt Disney World Resort was located, close to Disney’s Fort Wilderness. The Water Park was open from June 20, 1976, through to November 2, 2001, and featured slides, pools, and a nature trail for Guests to enjoy. 

Crescent Lake

Guests enjoying Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, and strolling along the BoardWalk have a perfect view of Crescent Lake. Guests can also cruise across Crescent Lake on the FriendShip boats, that travel between EPCOT’s International Gateway and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This Lake is also often part of the running routes along with runDisney courses.

At only 14ft deep, Crescent Lake can only be used for recreational boating and to transport Guests between Disney Parks and Resorts.


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Hourglass Lake

Located between Disney’s Art of Animation and Pop Century Resorts, Hourglass Lake replicates the shape of its name. The Lake widens at each end, and narrows in the middle, allowing for a walkway that connects the two Resorts. Subsequently, this walkway has provided the ideal location for the Skyliner station that provides transport for Guests to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. 

There’s something really quite special gliding over Hourglass Lake in a Skyliner car – the views are stunning!


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Barefoot Bay

Continuing the Skyliner journey towards Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT, Guests are treated to more incredible views; this time of a lake surrounded by pastel-colored buildings. Barefoot Bay is the lake that is the centerpiece of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. A lake that is often filled with serene water lilies, Guests can enjoy sunrise and sunset views over Barefoot Bay from a hammock on the many beaches, or from a shaded spot amongst palm trees on Caribbean Cay. 


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Guests of Disney’s Riviera Resort, are also treated to these beautiful views, as Barefoot Bay extends to the shores of the Resort. Grab a seat on the waterfront to enjoy breakfast with a view.

Sassagoula River

If you’re traveling to Disney Springs by boat, then you are cruising down the Sassagoula River. This River connects Disney Springs to 3 Disney Resorts. First along the Sassagoula River is Disney’s Saratoga Springs, including the Treehouse Villas that are available to Disney Vacation Club members. The next stop along the River is Disney’s Old Key West Resort, which is the original Disney Vacation Club Resort.

The penultimate stop is at Port Orleans French Quarter, home to the famous beignets, and where Mardi Gras is celebrated all year round. Port Orleans Riverside is located at the end of the Sassagoula River and provides the perfect spot to stroll along and take in beautiful views of the River, particularly at sunrise.


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Rivers of America

Located between Frontierland and Liberty Square in Magic Kingdom, the Rivers of America can be enjoyed from many spots. Guests can cruise along on the Liberty Bell, and pass by Tom Sawyer’s Island and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Upon return to the Liberty Square Riverboat station, Guests also have a great view of the Haunted Mansion.


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If you’re wanting to take perfect photos of the Rivers of America and the attractions of Magic Kingdom that lie upon its shores, then Tom Sawyer’s Island provides the best spot. Seek out the log bridge, and the rocking chairs overlooking Big Thunder Mountain, especially at sunset!

Rivers of the World

The Rivers of the World are a little less well-known to most Guests at Magic Kingdom. These are the waters that Guests cruise along when taking a Jungle Cruise. They also extend passed The Crystal Palace, and in front of Cinderella Castle. If you are crossing the bridges that lead to Adventureland, Liberty Square, Tomorrowland, and Fantasyland, from the Hub in front of Cinderella Castle, then you are crossing the Rivers of the World.


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Discovery River

The body of water that surrounds Discovery Island in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is the Discovery River. Guests will cross the river several times during a day in the Disney Park and are certainly treated to some spectacular views. Not only can you see luscious greenery and colorful water lilies on Discovery River, but you may also see your favorite Disney characters passing by on boats!


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Lago Dorado

Providing the centerpiece of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is Lago Dorado. This is a huge lake that separates different parts of the Resort. Following the fairly recent addition of Gran Destino Tower to the Disney Resort, 3 walkways across Lago Dorado were also added, as well as the Three Bridges Bar and Grill at Villa del Lago. Having been placed in the center of the Lake, you are sure to get stunning views of the different areas of Coronado Springs Resort.


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Echo Lake

Quite possibly the smallest body of water that is named in Walt Disney World, Echo Lake in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is home to Dinosaur Gertie. Gertie is a nod to Gertie the Trained Dinosaur, who made history by being one of the first animated characters in the film.


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Echo Lake was created to enable the Hidden Mickey visible from a Park map to be formed. The lagoon forms Mickey’s right ear.

Willow Lake

Have you ever visited Disney’s Saratoga Springs and stayed in The Paddock? If so, you will have likely walked along a bridge that crossed a lake, to visit the Carriage House. Well, this lake is known as Willow Lake. It is a long and fairly narrow body of water, that can be enjoyed from a Surrey Bike around the Resort. The lake offers pretty views across the Resort, with water fountains providing relaxing sounds to enjoy from a bench on the shores of the lake.


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Village Lake

Village Lake is the huge lake that lies on the edge of Disney Springs and connects to the Sassagoula River. Guests can enjoy views of the lake from all parts of Disney Springs and can cruise across Village Lake to give their feet a rest, by using the boat landings from West Side and the Marketplace.

If you’ve always wanted to ride in a Vintage Amphicar, then now is your chance! Make a splash into Village Lake, just outside of The Boathouse. This is a great way to celebrate a special occasion or surprise the young ones in your party!

So next time you’re exploring Walt Disney World Resort, be sure to share your knowledge of the many bodies of water that you will come across! You may even surprise some of the people in your party with your new knowledge. Oh and look out for when it will come in useful in that Disney Trivia quiz – it could lead you to a win!

About Victoria Mills

Victoria is a Disney-loving, tea-drinking, Math teacher from Liverpool, England. Her motto is 'work hard, Disney harder'! Having taken part in the Disney College Program back in 2010, Victoria's love and appreciation for Walt Disney World only grew, and it's the place where she feels most herself - it's home!