Featured Attractions

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Theme Park Thursdays: Magic Kingdom Swan Boats

When Florida's Magic Kingdom first opened, it had huge attendance problems. Guests were staying away in droves and even Roy Disney's reduced portfolio of attractions seemed like too many. Plans were drawn up to begin reducing capacity further and layoff employees. A few months later, however, the crowds finally started to arrive. The park went from having too much capacity to not enough. Park management rushed to find quick things to open that would soak up the crowds. One quick fix was to launch a fleet of boats to take guests for a tour around the central plaza canals.

The Swan Boats were quite popular, though there wasn't much to see and they didn't travel very far. Additionally, the canals they were traveling through were never designed for boats, which created a maintenance issue. The boats were shut down in 1983 after the Epcot Center theme park opened, which would theoretically assist in spreading out the crowds.