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Tips & Tricks To Know About The Disney FriendShip Boats

There are plenty of transport options when it comes to getting around the Walt Disney World Resort. Ask every Disney Guest and they’ll probably be able to tell you their favorite way to travel between the Disney Parks and Resorts.

We’ve previously covered all of the Disney Transportation options available to Guests and have shared with you tips and tricks for the Walt Disney World Transportation System buses. Let’s do the same for the FriendShip Boats.

All About the FriendShip Boats

Ever seen the white boats with pastel-colored stripes crossing World Showcase Lagoon on your visits to EPCOT? These are the FriendShip Boats. Only found to travel across Seven Seas Lagoon, and between EPCOT’s International Gateway and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, these boats are a slow but pleasant mode of Disney transport.

epcot-world-showcase

Credit: V Mills

Each FriendShip Boat can hold around 100 passengers, and offers both standing and seating room. The design of this Disney watercraft make them unique to others available to Disney Guests, including the water taxi across Bay Lake, the ferry boat across Seven Seas Lagoon and the Sassagoula River boats servicing Disney’s Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, Port Orleans Resorts and Disney Springs. Most Guests are able to take a seat on one of the forward-facing benches inside, with a couple of spaces available at the back of each boat in the fresh-air. There is also space for wheelchairs, ECV’s and strollers at the back of the inside seating area.

In total, there are 9 FriendShip Boats that travel World Showcase Lagoon, Crescent Lake and Lake Hollywood. Their names can be found on the back of each boat, and are:

  • FriendShip I 
  • FriendShip II
  • FriendShip III
  • FriendShip IV
  • FriendShip V
  • FriendShip VI
  • FriendShip VII
  • FriendShip VIII
  • Mermaid I

EPCOT, EPCOT Resorts & Disney’s Hollywood Studios Route

This is the longest of the two routes taken by the FriendShip Boats. Guests can hop on at any of the following locations:

  • EPCOT International Gateway
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
  • Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club
  • Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resorts
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The stops mentioned above are the order at which the FriendShip Boats stop, when traveling from EPCOT to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. For Guests traveling in the opposite direction, the stops are in order from the bottom of the list upwards. Guests traveling from one Disney Resort to another can also use this order to help them board the boat offering the most efficient route.

boat-epcot-resort-crescent-lake

Credit: Disney

The FriendShip Boats begin running ever day, around 8:30 a.m. until around 60 minutes after Disney Park close, according to the hours of EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme parks. A full boat ride between EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios takes around 25 minutes, and will visit all stops on the way. Whilst Guests can also use the Disney Skyliner to travel between the Disney Parks, this route requires a change of lines at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort; the FriendShip Boats however, do not require a change.

Boat Landings

The FriendShip Boat landings, servicing EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and the EPCOT Resort hotels can be found at the following locations:

  • EPCOT International Gateway – accessed by leaving World Showcase between the United Kingdom and France Pavilions. Keep to the left as you pass through the EPCOT exit.
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn – known as Promenade Pier, this boat landing is located right in the center of the Disney BoardWalk, in front of Disney’s BoardWalk Inn lawn. Use the right side line for EPCOT and the left side line for Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
boardwalk-boat-landing

Credit: Disney Tips

  • Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club – this boat landing is located right in front of Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, on the lighthouse pier. Use the left side line for EPCOT and the right side line for Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
friendship-boat-yacht-club

Credit: V Mills

  • Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resorts – find the boat landing right in the middle of the walkway between the two hotels. Use the right side line for Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the left side lane for EPCOT.
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios – when exiting the Disney theme park, head towards Lake Hollywood and follow the path round to the right, where you will see the covered boat landing walkway.

Tips & Tricks

Here are our tips and tricks to help you have a magical Disney experience when using the FriendShip Boats between EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

  • catch the Boat and save yourself a walk between the Disney Parks
  • if you are travelling to the BoardWalk from Disney’s Hollywood Studios, catch the boat to Swan & Dolphin, then disembark and walk across the bridge to arrive at the BoardWalk faster than the boat
  • the FriendShip Boats offer a gorgeous way to get to a breakfast reservation at Disney’s Beach Club or Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, from Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • be sure to ask the Captain or Captain’s Assistant for Transportation Cards – they’re free and a cool Disney collectible
  • two boats can be in dock at a boat landing at the same time, so make sure to check you are in the correct line before boarding
  • if you are staying at Disney’s Yacht Club or Beach Club, it’s quicker to walk to EPCOT than catch the FriendShip Boats
  • if you are wanting to travel between Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, it may be quicker for you to use the FriendShip Boats than walk (depending on your walking speed of course, and if you’re wanting to get the steps in!)

World Showcase Route

There are four FriendShip Boat docks around World Showcase, offering Guests two routes across World Showcase Lagoon. The routes travel between:

  • World Showcase Plaza (to the right towards Canada) and the Morocco Pavilion
  • World Showcase Plaza (to the left towards Mexico) and the Germany Pavilion

The FriendShip Boats across World Showcase Lagoon typically run between 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. each day. Guests wanting to travel from World Showcase Plaza can do so until the last boat departs around 7:15 p.m. each evening. 7:30 p.m. is the time when the last boat departs from Germany and Morroco, to allow for Harmonious preparations to take place on World Showcase Lagoon.

friendship-boats

Credit: Disney Tips

Tips & Tricks

Here are our tips and tricks to help you have a magical Disney experience when using the FriendShip Boats across World Showcase Lagoon:

  • they offer unique views of World Showcase
  • it’s a great way to rest your feet whilst taking in stunning views
  • a way of staying dry if there is a rain shower over EPCOT
  • if you’re looking for a quick way of accessing World Showcase then you are best to walk, but if you have plenty of time, then catch the FriendShip Boat
  • look out for the FriendShips Boats pulling into one of the boat landings if you’re close by, to board with a minimal wait in line
  • this is perfect for Guests who won’t need to use the FriendShip Boats between EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios
morocco-friendship-boat

Credit: Flickr

Safety Information

There are a couple of things to bear in mind when using the FriendShip Boats, to ensure you have a safe Disney experience:

  • as long as water levels are normal, wheelchair, ECV and stroller access is fine.
  • if water levels are low or high, it causes a step down or up to the FriendShip Boats; at this time it is recommended that wheelchairs, ECV’s and strollers do not board.
  • if there are high winds, wheelchairs, ECV’s and strollers aren’t able to board for safety reasons. A sign is usually displayed at the boat landing if this is the case.
  • similar to other modes of water transportation around the Walt Disney World Resort, the FriendShip Boat service will pause if there is lightning in the area. Boats will dock at boat landings and allow Guests to disembark if they are to stop running.

Have you taken a ride on the Disney FriendShip Boats yet? We love to enjoy at least one journey on them during every visit to the Walt Disney World Resort!

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!