THE LIT­TLE THINGS AM­PHI­CARS

WDW Magazine - - Around The World - BY JAMES CAMERON

The trans­for­ma­tion of Down­town Dis­ney to Dis­ney Springs has a re­newed em­pha­sis on the wa­ter­front, of­fer­ing guests the op­por­tu­nity to en­joy the lake in new ways. None of those ways is more unique than tak­ing a leisurely drive on the water in a car.

That's right. I said in a CAR.

In the 1960s, a Ger­man com­pany built around 4,000 “Am­phi­cars”: cars de­signed to be driven on land as well as on water. Am­phi­cars re­sem­ble clas­sic con­vert­ible cars of that time pe­riod, ex­cept that they are a bit smaller and no­tice­ably higher off the ground. They have pro­pel­lers un­der the rear bumper and while in the water, the front tires act as rud­ders so the car can be steered the same­way it would on the road.

In the 1960s, a Ger­man com­pany built around 4,000 “Am­phi­cars”: cars de­signed to be driven on land as well as on water. Am­phi­cars re­sem­ble clas­sic con­vert­ible cars of that time pe­riod, ex­cept that they are a bit smaller and no­tice­ably higher off the ground. They have pro­pel­lers un­der the rear bumper and while in the water, the front tires act as rud­ders so the car can be steered the same way it would on the road.

For­mer U.S. Pres­i­dent Lyn­don John­son fa­mously owned an Am­phicar. He loved to sur­prise un­sus­pect­ing guests by tak­ing them for rides where he would pre­tend to lose con­trol of his car and yell out that they were about to crash into the water, only to end up cruis­ing along the lake's sur­face.

To­day, Am­phi­cars are rare col­lec­tor's items, but you don't have to be a celebrity or a for­mer U.S. Pres­i­dent to ex­pe­ri­ence the thrill of rid­ing in one of these vin­tage ma­chines. The BOATHOUSE restau­rant at Dis­ney Springs has a small fleet of Am­phi­cars that take guests on tours of the Dis­ney Springs wa­ter­front ev­ery day. They are in vin­tage con­di­tion and adorned with Rubba Ducks on the dash­board for a splash of per­son­al­ity.

You'll cer­tainly feel like a celebrity as your Cap­tain and his crew get you set to de­part on your tour. The sight of the Am­phicar be­ing read­ied to de­part usu­ally draws a crowd of on­look­ers tak­ing pictures and video as you drive down the launch ramp and into the lake. For many, see­ing you rid­ing in the Am­phicar along the wa­ter­front will be the first time they have seen such a sight.

Am­phicar tours are avail­able on a first-come, first-serve ba­sis, from 10am to 10pm, weather per­mit­ting. Guests can book their Am­phicar tours in per­son at the Ship's Store ad­ja­cent to The BOATHOUSE restau­rant, lo­cated in The Land­ing area of Dis­ney Springs. Each tour costs $125 and lasts ap­prox­i­mately 20-30 min­utes. Tours de­part from The launch ramp right out­side the BOATHOUSE restau­rant and re­turn to the same spot when they are com­pleted.

Each car is pi­loted by a Cap­tain and can ac­com­mo­date 3-4 guests. In most cases, the limit is 3 adults, or 2 adults and 2 chil­dren. Life Jack­ets are not nec­es­sary, but can be pro­vided at your re­quest.

The BOATHOUSE is cur­rently run­ning a "Lunch & Launch" Spe­cial where after en­joy­ing lunch from (11am to 3pm) you can present your re­ceipt at the Ship's Store be­fore 3pm on the same day to get a $25 off your Am­phicar Tour. Cash, Credit and even Dis­ney Gift Cards are ac­cepted as forms of pay­ment. Hours and prices are sub­ject to change. You can call 407-939-2628 for more in­for­ma­tion.

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