by Disney Magic Diva
Ever since I first saw photos of the Amphicars at Disney Springs, I knew we had to try it. It just looked so cool! So I began researching and planning, and even though it took almost a year before we could make it happen, the stars finally aligned and we were able to enjoy our Amphicar ride. It was a highlight of our trip!
If you’ve never heard of an Amphicar, it is essentially a car that can drive on land as well as float in the water. The BOATHOUSE owns 8 Amphicars, which took 7 years to collect and restore, since they are incredibly rare. According to our Captain, at any given time 6 of the cars are in operation, while the other 2 are undergoing maintenance.
The Amphicars launch from The BOATHOUSE in Disney Springs. Tours can be reserved on a first-come-first-serve basis (weather permitting) from 10:00am – 10:00pm at the Ship’s Store, which is adjacent to the restaurant. We arrived about 11:00 on a weekday, and only had to wait about 10 minutes. The Amphicars accommodate up to 3 guests, and life jackets are available.
TIP: The limit of 3 guests is what caused our family to pass on this activity for so long. It seemed each time we visited, we had more than 3 people. During our ride I asked our Captain about this, and he said they can also usually accommodate 2 adults and 2 (or maybe even 3 small) children. Great news for families!
If you are considering an Amphicar tour, be sure to look your best! Disney PhotoPass photographers are onsite to take photos pre- and post-launch, as well as while you’re cruising along in the water. The launch area draws quite a crowd, and you will feel like a celebrity when you enter the car and wave to all the on-lookers. The ramp is basically a driveway that runs right into the lagoon. Since space is tight, there isn’t really room to turn the Amphicars around on the ramp. This issue is addressed by a turntable. How fun is that? The cars drive out of the lagoon, park on the turntable at the top of the ramp, and then are spun around to face the lagoon, ready for the next launch! You can understand how this procedure would draw a crowd.
But the real paparazzi moment is when the Amphicar splashes into the lagoon. Once everyone is ready, the Captain starts the engine and off you go, SPLASH!, right into the lake! Watching the water hit the windshield is a magical moment you won’t soon forget!
After that initial impact, the adrenaline rush subsides a bit, and you’re off on your tour of the lagoon. (But first, be sure to wave to the PhotoPass photographer on the dock. You’ll see our Captain point him out to us at about the 10 second mark in the video.) Our Captain did a wonderful job of engaging us in conversation. As we sailed (or is it drove?) past the BOATHOUSE, he shared all kinds of interesting tidbits about the restaurant and the Amphicars, and happily answered any questions we had. We passed Saratoga Springs, then crossed the lagoon to see House of Blues, Wolfgang Puck and get a unique view of Characters in Flight, to name just a few.
The ride was very smooth, calm, and slow; suitable for guests of any age. The tour lasts about 20 minutes. I was a little concerned that would seem way too short, but actually since the car goes fairly slowly, the time we spent on the water seemed just right. Plenty of time to sit back and enjoy, but not so long that it felt like a “long” time. Another plus if you have little ones with you. With a price-tag of $125 (for the car, not per person) it’s a splurge, but one that I would highly recommend!
TIP: The BOATHOUSE offers a Lunch & Launch special from 11:00-3:00 each day. Show your lunch receipt from the restaurant, and you’ll receive $25 off your Amphicar tour. We took advantage of this offer. It was a delicious AND cost effective!
As we were ending our tour, our Captain reminded us that we indeed had had a very special experience. “Very few people drive into water,” he said. “Even fewer drive into water intentionally. And almost none drive out!” Yep, it was pretty magical.
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The “castle” on the steering wheel is actually the Holstentor in Lübeck, Germany. It is one of two remaining ancient gates into the city. This is the city where Amphicars were built.