Late Live-ish From The Boathouse Restaurant In Orlando At Disney.

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1952 Stadaucher Unlimited Hydroplane, V-12 Allison Vimalert V1710, Supercharged, 1500 HP

Today is a wonderful report from long time fellow Woody Boater Rick Gambino from the Boathouse restaurant at Disney Take it way Rick.

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1944 16’ CC Rocket, Chrysler Ace 6 cylinder 93HP

My wife and I are at that second honeymoon stage in that the kids are grown but we don’t have grandchildren yet so off time is our own.

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1935 Leveau design 18’ “225 Class) Hydroplane, Chevy V6

Because of that though I figured it would be a while before I got a chance to check out the Boathouse Restaurant and the Amphicars at Disney. To my pleasant surprise my wife Kathy had a conference at a hotel on the Disney property the weekend before

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Thanksgiving, so after work on Friday I flew down to be with her for a whirlwind weekend. Saturday morning right after we located the nearest Starbucks (for Kathy not me) we headed for the Amphicars. At $125 for a 20 minute ride in the 8 foot deep lake it’s a little pricey but how often does the opportunity present itself. Some internet research at informs that 3878 were made in Germany from 1961-1968 and cost $2800-$3300.

Boathouse Resturant orlando

Clip from Amphicar ride

Disney has a fleet of 8 and uses a turntable to face them back down the ramp after each use. Once we drove down the ramp and gained buoyancy the drivetrain was disengaged and the twin propellers started. When asked, the Captain re-engaged the wheels to show that they have absolutely no ability to independently drive the car through the water. The ride is with the top and windows down which was fine until we went over, actually more under, the smallest pontoon boat wake.
Warning, all videos were taken with my iPhone, shaky, sometimes blurry and with lots of views of my thumb. Best to keep the audio off also to avoid how stupid I sound.

Water came over the hood, around the windshield, into the driver’s side window and thoroughly soaked our personable captain. No open water for these cars, although I do remember seeing a couple fishing on the Great South Bay of Long Island as a kid. Wonder if they made it back to shore? The Amphicar is not especially watertight as 3 times in 20 minutes the bilge pump came on and a copious amount of water was expelled straight up from the right rear quarter panel.

The ride brought us around the Boathouse Restaurant with its static display of classic boats on what appears to be adjustable cradles holding them above the for the water. The rest of the ride has much less to see other than some egrets and ducks. Driving back onto land involved cruising up to the ramp, disengaging the props, re-engaging the drive train and up we drove.

After the Amphicar ride it was still too early for the Boatyard Restaurant to be open, and you can’t view the boats until it is, no matter how many times you try to sneak around to the docks.

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1956 14’ Lone Star Meteor, 1958 Mercury Mark 75

We walked around for a couple of hours looking at all the merchandise future grandchildren will want and then headed back. A table outside on the dock, surrounded by woodies, acceptable food and a decent margarita made for a delightful lunch.

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Close-ups of 1984 Venetian Water Taxi, twin 180HP Volvo Diesels.

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1930 26’ CC, A120 V8 250HP

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Larson Falls Flyer with a very rare engine cover.

Thank Rick for sharing this with us all. It’s a;ways cool to get a real look at a place. I really get a true feel of what the Boathouse is all about.

25 replies
  1. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Rick thanks for saving us. Thought today’s story might be about an antique 3in1 oil can to drip oil in the distributor shaft.

    I like your take on “The Second Honeymoon Stage”, sounds so much better than “Empty Nest”.

    There are usually a few Amphicars at the Dora Festival, one year there was a convention of them and they were everywhere.

    • Matt
      Matt says:

      I like the oil can idea. Anyone have small oil cans for that job? It’s winter and after 8 years of this. No detail is to small

    • Ronald
      Ronald says:

      The second honeymoon in that situation is only fun for 2 or three years according to a friend, after that you realize after you get out of bed you have nothing to talk about. LOL

  2. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    I know what you mean about that lake…We went to a convention there some time ago when they had a Grand Craft there. The Disney lady was a friend and got us a ride…The kid driving it had little experience backing or docking but when I asked for the wheel he said the insurance company wouldn’t let him.
    I’ll long remember a ride in an Amphi Car at lake Dora. I said to the lady driver, “What happens if I open the door ?” Her terse reply, “It sinks” but then she added there is a double lock on it to keep that from happening.
    Strange as it sounds I came across two barn finds in a little place called Medart, Fl. I contacted the Amphi car guru…A Delta mechnic in Atlanta and he arranged for a pilot for St. Augustine to buy one. I think the other is still there but the guy wants a fortune for it and it is full of rust.
    Too I remember when Disney was affordable.

  3. Jack Schneiberg
    Jack Schneiberg says:

    Well……..I’m a ROF (Retired Old Fart) and I wonder if there are any job openings at the boat garage to drive visitors around in those things. I’m sure I could come up with quips such as Wilson recounts…..and get people wet with an twisty splash or two. I do wonder how FAST one would sink if ONE COULD get the door open……………just sayin’……………..

  4. Rick
    Rick says:

    My daughter is taken with the new CCs and although visitors fight for this table it still broke her heart to see it.

  5. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    Disneyland or “go boating”…….not a choice for me…..hyped up kids and cartoon characters….give a fine winter day on the hook trying to get my water temp gauge to work….viva la diff

    John in Va.

  6. Pete DeVito
    Pete DeVito says:

    Boats sitting out in the Florida weather won’t last long. The sun will take a beating on the interior and the varnish. I wonder where the water goes when it rains. Even the little top they have over them won’t do much. It is a shame they could not put these beautiful boats inside the restaurant.

  7. Bert Harris
    Bert Harris says:

    In two years this place will be a sad place to visit. Like a pet rescue facility. Look at all the animals that will no doubt be put to sleep if they remain where they are. This is a good idea on paper.
    I am sure the sellers of these boats are happy no doubt. I heard the Alter Ego went for upwards to 95K and I think they are displayed without power. Out in the rain and sun? We should protest out front like we would if the animals were poorly treated.

  8. Matt
    Matt says:

    HAHAHA! I know the boats rotate often and we are talking about some very serious folks helping with all this there. Its interesting that they have picked extreme boats with a large variety of looks. Also this may one of the best places in the US for this. Its year around, gets a ton of traffic and fantastic exposure for the culture. Bert if you start a movement, let us know, we will cover it. You can throw cans of varnish on people, and get naked to protect the finish. OK, that part we are not covering.

    • Bert Harris
      Bert Harris says:

      we are talking about some very serious folks helping with all this there
      Matt, like locals or do they have a shop there? They paid $92K for Alter Ego (supposedly) just to set it in a lake in the open.

  9. Bert Harris
    Bert Harris says:

    Matt, “we are talking about some very serious folks helping with all this there”
    You think they have a shop to keep this equipment up or do they sub it out? They paid $92K for Alter Ego just to let it sit out in the elements. Wonder how they are keeping her dry?
    Steven Schussler told me he is buying a boat a week. At that rate there wont be any wood boat left soon. They will all be displayed in the killing fields.

  10. Pete DeVito
    Pete DeVito says:

    I am going for lunch tomorrow and see for myself…. I hope to report back on how well everything is going.

  11. Pete DeVito
    Pete DeVito says:

    Well I happy to report back today after visiting The Boathouse.
    The food was good and the service was outstanding, the price was Disney dollars (over priced). We had a great relaxing 2 hour lunch outside in 75deg with a bright blue sky. I have to say the boats are taking a beating in the Florida sun and rain but it sounds like there are plans to switch them out and keep them up. That will help our local boat shops hopefully. My favorite was the 21′ Continental I believe it to be a 1961 model. A beautiful boat that looked like it had a little better protection. The best protection I saw outside was up under the dock bar. Wow you won’t go thirsty out there. They even had some small seating areas for four between the boats to sit and have a drink.
    I think it was a great idea and they put a lot of money toward staging the boats nice with a walk area. It would be a cool place to hold a CC meeting since most of the boats are CC’s. Alter Ego had no cover and it was taking a beating. That was a shame for this Big Hoss to be sitting out in the elements.
    No ride in the $75.00 anphacar it was more of a show to watch them turn the car on the turntable.

    Enjoyed it! I give it a 4star

    • Matt
      Matt says:

      Thanks Pete, great review of a great place. That cont belongs to PAUL and Karen Harrison and was just finished by Mike Green. It won something up on gull lake and is now for sale through Dave Bortner at freedom boat works. Yes this is amazing exposure for the entire culture of classic boating

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