As you find yourself crossing from Main Street into Tomorrowland, you might notice the remnants of one of the Magic Kingdom’s most beautiful, serene and relaxing attractions. Open during peak seasons from early 1973 to late 1983, the Swan Boats traveled the waters around Cinderella Castle in style. Powered by natural gas, these boats were free floating (no track) and used a unique water jet system to steer them in any direction.
Originally made up of 12 individual vessels, the Swan Boats traveled the waters of the Magic Kingdom, offering unique views of Cinderella Castle, The Swiss Family Robinson Tree House and other attractions along the waterways.
Reasons for the attraction closure are speculative at best but range from problems and cost to maintain the boats to the attraction simply being too popular during the park’s peak summer season. Whatever the reason, it was in August 1983 that the last of the Swan Boats sailed.
Until March 2014 when a redesign of the Magic Kingdom hub began, a noticeable piece of the attraction’s history existed between Cinderella Castle and Tomorrowland; A shady seating area at the water’s edge, with a green roof, which was originally built as the Swan Boat’s second and permanent loading dock. The former entrance to the attraction is what many guests recognized as the Rose Garden and the original loading dock for the boats was used as an outdoor seating area just outside the Plaza Restaurant.
A few of the Swans from the original boats found their way into auctions and were purchased by long time fans of the attraction. Additionally, one of the boats was purchased and refurbished for personal use.