The graceful Plaza Swan Boats operated seasonally from May 1973 until August 1983 in the canal surrounding Cinderella Castle and through parts of Adventureland. The seventeen-minute ride was guided usually by a young, female Cast Member who gave a tour past numerous points of interest. There were twelve, 26-passenger boats in the fleet, including one which was used solely to clean the canals. They were powered by natural gas, and used a water jet propulsion system. Although originally suppose to run on an electronic guidance system, it never worked correctly, and the boats were steered manually. The boats were named after heroines from classic Disney films, such as “Tinker Bell, “Flora,” “Fauna,” and “Merryweather” from Sleeping Beauty. The ride required a “D-Ticket” up until 1980, when the ticket books were discontinued.
The Swan Boats that traveled the canals of the Magic Kingdom were originally supposed to be controlled by an electronics guidance system that never worked properly. The navigational system was quickly abandoned due to mechanical issues in favor of two water jets below the hull.
The green-roofed dock on the water’s edge between Cinderella Castle and Tomorrowland, still exists today, although the boats are long gone, having been sold by Disney after the ride’s closure. Contrary to rumor, they were not sold to the City of Orlando, nor are they found on nearby Lake Eola .