The Boathouse Restaurant Opens On Lake Buena Vista, Florida

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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

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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.

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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.


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The outdoor bar is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the great menu at the Boathouse.

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.

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The Boathouse features an impressive collection of classic wooden & fiberglass boats, and vintage race boats that can be viewed from the docks and patios.

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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.

Night 5 - Copy

The docks are fully illuminated and boats have feature lighting inside.

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.

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A classic 1956 Lonestar Meteor which is a crowd favorite.

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.

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Boathouse CC Triple

A number of the boats on permanent display at the Boathouse were supplied by Dave Bortner at Freedom Boat Service, and there are also two boats currently on display that will rotate every 60-90 days which are available for sale from Freedom Boat Service. This is “Muse” a 1930 Chris-Craft 26′ Model 111 Runabout powered by a 250 HP, 824 CID Chris-Craft A-120 V-8 engine.

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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.

Amphicar Fleet

Steve’s fleet of classic Amphicars.

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The ships wheel is actually a device used to rotate a turntable that rotates the amphicars around when they enter and exit the lake.

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A vintage wooden hydroplane on display inside the main restaurant.

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.

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There is a selection of “Quack-Craft” collectables in the gift shop for around 20.00.

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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.

Rich DeGlopper

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Fellow Woody Boaters (and now official Orlando reporters) Rich & Peg DeGlopper on site at the Boathouse Restaurant docks.

Night 6

Main entrance to the Boathouse – Rich DeGlopper photo.

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.

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A modern Chris-Craft runabout situated in the restaurant – Rich DeGlopper photo.

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.

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Classic Amphicar at the Boathouse – Rich DeGlopper photo.

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 for more information or call 407-939-BOAT (2628).
Dining reservations will also be available beginning mid-May at 407-WDW-DINE.

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A view of a vintage wooden unlimited hydroplane – Rich DeGlopper photo.

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.


24 replies
  1. Chris B
    Chris B says:

    wow nice spot for a woody boater. old walt is going to find out pretty quickly those nice boats well need a lot of attention to keep them shiny sitting out in the florida sun 24 /7 . i bet the number of boats well decrease quickly over the next few years. so i’d go quickly to see it at its best.

  2. WoodyGal
    WoodyGal says:

    Looks like fun!
    Glad to hear Christopher Wise did the docks. Missed him at Tavares this year. Great guy!

  3. Scott K
    Scott K says:

    I’ve never been lured to the house that the mouse built, but with bait like that I think they may have hooked me now.

  4. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    Interesting concept changes at Disney. First they ran 2 Grand Crafts on the lake, later they wouldn’t allow any wooden boats on the lakes and now this…Wow!…Maybe we could have an ACBS meet there after all.

  5. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Wow, Disneyland for the well healed skipper. Amazing and beautifully done with no expense spared. However, its not a boat show without chicken on a stick and the souvenir shop lacks interest without Jim Staib’s Fine Wood Boats offerings (and his caustic comments, lol).

  6. Carla
    Carla says:

    Congrats to Steve on his grand opening of The Boathouse! It’s a classic boat lover’s Disneyworld with something for everyone! I’m thinking this is definitely one way to build awareness of our beloved hobby. Looking forward to visiting The Boathouse in the near future.

  7. Tom Kaul
    Tom Kaul says:

    What a spectacular worldwide complement to our hobby. There are so few lakes in the US where you can consistently see a gathering of Antique and Classic Boats all in one spot. To have a collection of this magnitude available for the world to enjoy 365 days a year is truly taking our passion about these floating pieces of art to a new level. We all should be grateful that Steve Schussler floated his vision for 7 years to his colleagues and made it a reality. Thank you Steve.

  8. WAYNE
    WAYNE says:


  9. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    What is up with the porterhouse being for 2? If i am spending $60 on a steak, the last thing I want to do is give half of it away!

    Oh well, sign me up for a couple trays of ohsters from the raw bar.

  10. Nautilus
    Nautilus says:

    Yes…a couple trays of oysters sounds great…but at $3.50 EACH? I’d have to mortgage my house.

  11. Bob B
    Bob B says:

    The International Code Flags on the menu don’t make sense, according to Google research, T B O F ?

  12. John Baas
    John Baas says:

    Those numbers on the menu are prices?! I thought that was the menu index and they were page numbers for more info. Yikes! Too spendy for this mid westerner.

  13. Dave Nau
    Dave Nau says:

    Saw this posting on Monday while at St. Pete Beach on vacation. We had planned to stay Monday night in Orlando before catching our flight back home the following morning. We had thought about just walking around Downtown Disney for the evening anyway, so we decided to go ahead and check out The Boathouse after reading this post. The place is unbelievable! It’s everything the posting said and more.

    Had a fantastic dinner – one of the best ever, and while expensive, the quality was superb. Everyone was very friendly, and when I told the server I belonged to both ACBS and AOMCI, and then then showed him this posting on my iPhone, he had the manager come over and talk to us, all while having dinner in the converted Chris-Craft booth shown in the photos above.

    One thing the photos did not show is all the outboards that are displayed above the main bar at the entrance to the place. They were all restored, and even more interesting, they were all for sale! The gift shop also had a huge collection of little electric outboard motor models from the 50’s and 60’s, and they were also all for sale. Again, expensive, but for sale. Ended up buying the souvenir drink glasses, one of the “Quack-Craft” captain rubber ducks and a Boathouse cap.

    If you want to check it out with a less expensive menu, go at lunch time. They also have a kid’s menu – still pricey, but at least less expensive.

    For anyone who loves old boats and outboards, this place is a must see when in Orlando. It’s all done with the highest quality, and it truly is an antique and classic boater’s dream restaurant.

    One final note: There is still no admission charge for Downtown Disney and parking is still free, even in one of the new parking garages. Just drive in, park, and start walking around. The Boathouse is located smack in the middle of Downtown Disney, right along the main street, a little east of Planet Hollywood. In 2016, it whole area will be renamed Disney Springs, and there is a lot of construction and remodeling going on right now. The Boathouse is part of that project and one of the first finished of the new components.

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