The Empress Lilly was a riverboat restaurant located in the Lake Buena Vista shopping district. It later became Fulton’s Crab House, run by Levy Restaurants.
The Empress Lilly is replica of a paddle steamer riverboat, and is 220 feet long by 62 foot wide, and was located on Village Lake. She was built in 1976, and was home to three restaurants and a lounge. She opened officially on May 1, 1977 and was christened by her namesake, Walt Disney’s widow, Lillian. Notable was the decorative paddlewheel at the aft of teh ship that turned, although the boat never moved an inch.
The Lilly was home to one of WDW’s first character brekafasts, apty titled the “Disney Character Breakfast.”
The Baton Rouge Lounge was located forward on the main deck, and had a full bar and entertainment provided by the Riverboat Rascals.
The restaurants were:
The Steerman’s QuartersÂ – a steakhouse located in the aft section of the Main Deck.
The Fisherman’s Deck – a seafood restaurant located on the Promeade Deck, forward.
The Empress Room – a formal dining room located aft on the Promenade Deck. Rickly decorated and always busy, this restaurant required reservations and was lavishly decorated in gold.
On April 22, 1995, the Empress Lilly closed her doors, and had the interior gutted in preparation for a new dining experience. The smokestacks and paddlewheel were removed from the exterior, and on March 10, 1996, it reopened as Fulton’s Crab House.
The carpet of the Empress Lilly Riverboat is notable because it is the same as the carpet that inside the Disneyland Railroad VIP Car. When the Riverboat was being built, they wanted to use the carpet from the VIP Car for the Lounge area of the Riverboat. (Photo courtesy of Mike Bronstein)