We had the opportunity last week to test out an Amphicar at The BOATHOUSE Restaurant, a unique 20 minute experience that costs $125.00 for up to 3 guests with the boat captain. Full disclosure early, we were invited by The BOATHOUSE so that we could share this experience with our readers and viewers. We probably look a little surprised too, since we thought we were there to watch the flag ceremony (which we still haven’t seen!) Within two minutes of arrival, we were getting into an Amphicar for an excursion around Downtown Disney’s Village Lake.
We posted a dining review of The BOATHOUSE about two weeks ago, which I will be updating tomorrow with a few other menu items (including the signature Tomahawk Long Bone Steak). On that first visit, we spent 4-5 hours inside the restaurant for not only a tasting, but for photos, video and interviews. Some of our discussion was about the Amphicars, since there were a lot of questions online about the price – and the experience. What I found out was that these cars are valued at around $100k each. They are expensive to purchase, expensive to maintain, and very rare. Is it a cheap experience? No. But it is completely different than anything I’ve ever done, as well as a lot of fun. It doesn’t have the feel of a DUCK tour. It isn’t transportation to somewhere else, it is a ride that starts and ends at The BOATHOUSE. The Amphicars are from the 1960’s and less than 4000 were made – and from everything I’ve read, remaining cars number in the hundreds. The BOATHOUSE has upwards of 10 of them.
We were both pretty excited to be in the Amphicar.
The car starts out on land, quickly heading out into Village Lake with a splash.
Here is a 5 minute video that Jeff put together of the experience. More photos and information follow.
Characters in Flight was flying.
Riding in an Amphicar means receiving a lot of attention – not only from these boat captains, but from other guests.
The BOATHOUSE has a fleet of boats outside of the restaurant. Most are “floating works of art”, but some are available for guests to purchase rides on, including the 40-foot Venezia Italian Water Taxi. The cost is $75.00 per adult and $50 per child under 13, including chocolate-covered strawberries and a champagne toast for a one hour tour. The boat is also available for groups up to 20.
The Venezia is a lovely boat, and we look forward to eventually purchasing tickets.
This little boat named Gadget was new since our last visit.
Even if you aren’t riding in an Amphicar, it is worth checking out the boats here. The BOATHOUSE has really put the waterfront to good use.
The boat I’d like to ride on next is the Lady Rose, which is an 1800’s antique steamboat. Currently the cost is $150 for two guests for about a 40 minute ride, and also includes chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne.
Most of the boats at the marina now have signage, telling the name and background of the boat.
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort added Mickey florals last year, which brighten up the look of the resort.
The BOATHOUSE building seems to go on forever, with a large wrap-around porch.
Fulton’s Crab House.
The BOATHOUSE is a Steve Schussler concept, but he also created the Rainforest Cafe – spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to turn his own home into a rainforest before it became a restaurant in reality. Schussler also opened T-Rex Cafe at Downtown Disney and Yak and Yeti at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. All of these restaurants except for The BOATHOUSE are run by Landry’s, and I believe the Rainforest Cafe is also owned fully by Landry’s now.
Guests can still take Downtown Disney water taxis across the lake as free transportation.
The Amphicar is a very relaxing experience.
The BOATHOUSE has a large store, and sells items that include rubber ducks. Several of them – including the center one here – are exclusive to the restaurant.
We drove closer to Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort.
A duck family was out on the water.
Welcome Home sign at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort.
It took just a minute to get used to being so low on the water, looking up at the water taxis as they drove by.
Jeff and I out on the water.
Jeff had taken the camera for a different viewpoint.
Cirque du Soleil, House of Blues and DisneyQuest are in view here.
Jeff noticed and photographed the horn – and what I’ve discovered online is that it is a castle in Lübeck, Germany, where the Amphicars come from.
The large pineapple of Bongos is visible, as well as Planet Hollywood to the left.
Paradiso 37 has been undergoing an expansion.
The Hangar is under construction next to The BOATHOUSE.
Guests watch us as we pull in.
We have previously viewed dozens of boats as they sailed around the lake, it was very interesting to be on the receiving end this time.
The 20 minutes we were on the water didn’t feel too long or too short, it was just right for a cruise around the lake.
We really had a terrific time in the Amphicar. As soon as we got out, Jeff said that we would be doing it again. I am not sure when, since I’d like a turn at the other boats and we have to pace ourselves, but we’ll be back.
A week or two before or ride, we photographed other boats doing the same. Here is our video from a different view!