The Deal Mommy

It’s a Car, It’s a Boat, It’s Amphicar Disney World!

As travel obsessives lovers, we’re known to do some crazy stuff to get on the latest and greatest: in-flight shower, anyone? However, I’m happy to share that you only have to get to Disney World to ride on the single coolest mode of transport ever created: the Amphicar. You can now rent an Amphicar. Disney Springs’ Boathouse Restaurant has a dock where the Amphicars set off.

History

Built in the 1960s, the German Amphicar quickly gained cult status and a devoted following including President Lyndon B. Johnson.  The captain of my tour told the tale of how President Johnson would take unsuspecting friends on a “car ride” in his MG-looking vehicle then pretend to lose control and drive right into the lake on his property! However, like all cult favorites, production was limited to 8 years and under 4,000 cars were made before Amphicars rode off into the sunset.

Amphicar Disney World rental

At The Boathouse Restaurant in Disney Springs, 8 of the only 180 or so Amphicars remaining are available for 1/2 hour rides around Disney Springs.  The tours are available everyday from 10AM-10PM, weather permitting, on a walk-up basis.  With 8 cars running, during lunch on the Friday I went I didn’t see a wait but imagine once word gets out the Amphicars might get more and more popular.  Out on the water we felt like celebrities stalked by Paparazzi with all of the iPhone cameras aimed at us!

I was invited on my tour by Disney but would have happily paid the $125 price tag for this one. I know it seems steep at first glance, but you can take 3 adults (or two adults and two kids) on the private tour and this is the only place in the world you can ride in an Amphicar unless you happen to have a friend with one in the garage.

And what does it feel like to drive a car into a lake? In a word, surreal. As you can see, the car looks quite ordinary (besides being a cool 60s convertible).  Once you’re in the water it feels more like a motorized paddleboat. It’s not fast at all, but plenty smooth and comfortable. The best part? Sticking the landing, as seen in the video above.

What do you think of the Amphicar?  Please share your thoughts in the comments.

amphicar

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13 thoughts on “It’s a Car, It’s a Boat, It’s Amphicar Disney World!

  1. Erik

    I saw this when we visited Downtown Disney a few weeks ago and thought it would be neat to try, but I guessed wrongly that it was something you had to reserve in advance (seems like many of the cool exclusive experiences always require a reservation a few months out). Are these actual Amphicars and not replicas? Did they make you sign a waiver (seems like a prudent legal thing to do for a 50+ year old car). If this is a permanent thing, I wonder how they intend to maintain these vehicles over the long term.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Hi Erik, the Amphicars are the real deal! They have a little towboat in case of breakdown but the Captain told us it’s pretty rare.

      Upkeep will have to be constant, I agree. Having them in use actually helps. As media I didn’t have a waiver but I imagine there is one. That lake is pretty small with little wake. Life jackets were offered but I didn’t bother.

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    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Hi Diane,
      Amphicar rental is a walk-up, no reservations are taken. Rentals are at the Boathouse restaurant in Downtown Disney: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/downtown-disney/boathouse-restaurant/. When I went people still didn’t know about them and rentals were widely available but I imagine as word spreads a wait may develop. Still with 8 cars things move fairly quickly. I can’t help but wonder if Disney will open this one up to reservations in the future.

  3. Marv S.

    A friend of mine used to have an Amphicar. You’re right…a surreal experience. The funniest thing was the looks on people’s faces on the boat ramp when he drove the car into Lake George. Then the boats honking at us on the lake (it’s not very fast on the water).

  4. Mike

    I recall an episode of Wheeler Dealers where they refurbished one and sold it for a small profit. Before they sold it, they drove/piloted it in the Thames River.

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