JUST A FEW DAYS AFTER THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH of the new Boathouse Restaurant in Orlando, Florida – we received a great report (with a selection of over 70 photos) from fellow Woody Boater Rich DeGlopper. Rich and his wife Peg were on a week-long vacation in the Orlando area and stopped in to check out the Boathouse first hand. As you will see, they were impressed with what they found.
Then a few days later, we received the official Press Release from Jean Golden at the Boathouse, including some great looking food photos and menu details.
So we decided to bundle everything together in one story today, beginning with the report from Rich. – Texx
The BOATHOUSE® is nothing short of spectacular!
It is a wooden boat enthusiast’s candy store! It has everything from both classic & modern boats being displayed in the water – including vintage outboard motors, smaller boats, models, videos, trophies, vintage photos, signs, etc inside the beautiful new restaurant facility. Everything is tastefully displayed and beautifully presented.
I spent a couple of hours just walking around, taking pictures, and taking it all in. There is so much to see, enjoy and appreciate. The facility has four separate rooms for dining. The food and service was outstanding.
There is also an outdoor bar where you can enjoy the breezes off Lake Buena Vista, the wonderful Florida weather and take in the sights of the Woody’s and other classic boats on display.
The boats are displayed on lifts so they’re not actually tied to the dock. I asked how they were going to protect the finishes of the boats from the harsh Florida sun.
The answer I got was they were going to be putting up some sort of a canopy. The boats are covered each night. At night all the lights on the boats are on as well as lights along the docks. It’s an impressive sight.
I had a chance to meet with the creator/curator Steven Schuessler from Golden Valley, Minnesota. At Disney you might be familiar with some of his other creations, such as the Rain Forest Café and the T-Rex Restaurant. He was very gracious but also very busy as the restaurant just opened on Monday April 13th.
On the docks I also met fellow Woody Boater Christopher Wise, who constructed the marina docks for the BOATHOUSE® and has become an avid classic boater himself. Chris is a great guy and we were glad to see him involved with this development.
Steve Schuessler also has brought with him a number of his classic Amphicars which are launched right next to the restaurant. At this point they are just being tested out by staff members and weren’t taking the public for rides. But the plan is to some day provide rides for the customers on Lake Buena Vista.
Of course there is also a gift shop associated with the restaurant with everything from models, to outboard motors, laser engraved souvenir paddles, rubber ducks (Quack-Crafts brand), and of course T-shirts and Boathouse brand swag.
We enjoyed the food and ambience so much that we ate there three times during the course of our weeks stay! The staff was great. I would recommend it as a “must see” for any vintage boat enthusiast.
Schussler Creative Opens The BOATHOUSE®:
Great Food, Waterfront Dining, Dream Boats™ Located at the Heart of Downtown Disney®
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., April 15, 2015 – Schussler Creative, specialists in the creation and consultation of attractions, restaurants, retail stores and entertainment venues worldwide, has opened The BOATHOUSE: Great Food, Waterfront Dining, Dream Boats – located at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World® Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Schussler Creative is also the creator of other restaurant/retail attractions at Walt Disney World Resort including Rainforest Cafe (Downtown Disney and Disney’s Animal Kingdom® theme park/created by Schussler Creative; owned and operated by Landry’s); T-REX™ Cafe (Downtown Disney/created and co-owned by Schussler Creative and operated by Landry’s); and Yak & Yeti™ (Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park/created and co-owned by Schussler Creative; operated by Landry’s).
The BOATHOUSE officially opened its doors on April 13, 2015 as one of the new venues in The Landing, the first of four planned neighborhoods as Downtown Disney transitions into Disney Springs, an exciting new waterfront district for shopping, dining and entertainment. Completion of Disney Springs is set for 2016.
The BOATHOUSE is an upscale, waterfront dining experience featuring spectacular floating artwork: dream boats from the 30’s, 40’s & 50’s. The restaurant is 24,000 square feet, with 8,000 feet devoted to the state-of-the-art kitchen where an extensive menu is prepared, showcasing steaks, chops, fresh seafood and a raw bar. The BOATHOUSE will seat up to 600 guests and will serve guests until 2 a.m. The restaurant is designed with spectacular nautically-themed rooms including The Runabout, Twin Transoms, and The Lake House.
There are also two private dining rooms: The Regatta and The Trophy Room for hosting special events, receptions, and corporate presentations. In addition, there are three distinctive bars featuring classic craft cocktails, along with an extensive list of wines, anchored by iconic American vineyards. Bars include: The Captain’s Raw Bar, The Admiral’s Club Bar and The Dock Bar, which is built over the water and attached to over 300 feet of boardwalk and docks, connecting all areas of the restaurant. The BOATHOUSE restaurant will be managed by the award-winning Gibsons Restaurant Group, internationally renowned and celebrated for exceptional food, service and hospitality.
More than a dining experience, The BOATHOUSE immerses guests inside and out with waterfront adventures including live music and romantic Captain’s guided tours aboard The Venezia, a beautifully crafted 40-foot wooden Italian Water Taxi featuring champagne toasts and chocolate-covered strawberries. There is also a multi-million dollar fleet of 19 rare boats on display, gathered from museums, private collectors, and boat shows from around the world.
Among the star attractions are Captain-guided tours from The BOATHOUSE Amphicars. These amphibious autos launch from land, entering the water with a splash, taking guests on a 20-minute tour of the landmarks of Downtown Disney. Most people have never seen an amphicar because there were only 3,878 of these unique vehicles produced from 1961 to 1968. The BOATHOUSE Amphicars have all been completely restored in order to delight guests with the ride of a lifetime.
Throughout each day and evening, The BOATHOUSE Harbor Master will orchestrate flag ceremonies, accompanied by a lively musical performance of beloved bugle songs, performed aboard a classic 1800’s antique steam boat.
The Ship’s Store, adjacent to The BOATHOUSE restaurant, sports an All-American look, reminiscent of the art deco period of 1939 to 1959, updated with modern mahogany accents. Authentic nautical items are featured at The Ship’s Store such as custom engraved paddles and life rings personalized with a guest’s name or favorite saying, along with Rubba Ducks®, distinctive lake-themed merchandise, fine apparel, jewelry, and unique items “Made on Earth™.”
“We are extremely honored to open The BOATHOUSE at Downtown Disney, and to be part of the upcoming and exciting transformation into Disney Springs,” said creator Steven Schussler. “We are very proud of our menu and the upscale experience that we have created for our guests. Unbelievable food and service are the top priority, so we chose to partner with Gibsons Restaurant Group to bring their culinary expertise and legendary great service to The BOATHOUSE.
In addition to the amazing food, The BOATHOUSE offers a number of water adventures including the guided Captain’s tours on our 40-foot Italian Water Taxi and Amphicars, as well as live music daily.”
Visit The BOATHOUSE Restaurant daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; The Ship’s Store from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Guided Captain’s tours with Champagne and Chocolate-covered Strawberries begin daily at 10 a.m. on The Venezia Italian Water Taxi; Amphicar guided tours begin daily at 10 a.m.
Visit www.theboathouseorlando.com for more information or call 407-939-BOAT (2628).
Dining reservations will also be available beginning mid-May at 407-WDW-DINE.
Special thanks to Rich DeGlopper for sharing his story and photos with us here at Woody Boater today. Also to Jean Golden at the Boathouse for sending us the Press Release.