Meet the ‘Grand 1’ at Walt Disney World Orlando

With such an eminent designation, the chance to spend the day with the ‘Grand 1’, at Walt Disney World Resort, conjures magical ideas of a certain famous mouse for a tour around the inescapably popular Magic Kingdom. As we discovered, the ‘Grand 1’ is one of those extra special experiences that Disney offer privileged VIP guests and celebrities for a princely sum.

Down by the boat pier below the stunning ‘Grand Floridian’ luxury resort, the ‘Grand 1’ is waiting for her next voyage across the beautiful man-made Seven Seas Lagoon. A sleek 45 foot Sea Ray motor yacht is waiting to cruise the 14ft deep waters around the Magic Kingdom.

Grand Floridian

Once swampland, the 14ft deep man-made lagoon was cut away to provide the main infill for the raised terraces that now form the ground level of the world’s most popular theme park. Nothing in Walt Disney World is wasted, yet every part adds to the magic.

As part of Walt’s vision for guests to enjoy an adventure as they enter his beautiful theme park, the lagoon now serves as a magical ‘barrier’ that guests must cross before entering the Magic Kingdom. Most choose the Monorail, but those that can, board the Ferryboat to cross the lagoon ‘the old fashioned way’.

Rather unlike the two old paddle steamers that connect the Magic Kingdom to the Ticket and Transportation Center and car parks, the Grand 1 can be yours for the hour or more as you and up to 16 other members of your private party spends your time peacefully cruising around what is now officially known as the Most Magical Place on Earth.

With a starting price for the Grand 1 at around $500 per hour including captain, the versatility of the waterways around Walt Disney World Resort provide an array of quaint navigable routes that meander through the 42,000 acres of theme parks conservation land and charming resort hotels. The Grand 1 can be hired for pure transportation between theme parks and hotels, or for lavish parties and corporate events that last the whole day long.   Dependant upon you needs, you may also hire a butler, or select a private dining package and sip a bottle of Cuveé Dom Perignon Brut at a fizzy $290.00 per bottle.

For most guests however, one of the most adorable experiences aboard the Grand 1 takes place in the evening, over the still waters of the Seven Seas Lagoon. As the skies slowly darken and the artistic theme park lighting takes effect, the full glory of this most impressive floating vantage point is realized in full at 9pm each evening. The twelve minute long ‘Wishes’ firework display illuminates both the sky and shimmering water for one of the most spectacular nightly displays in the world. What a perfect way to celebrate a birthday or special anniversary.

If you need to think of ways to encourage an unwilling family member onto Disney property, this luxurious motor yacht carries a perfect blend of class and majesty for an idyllic ‘get to know Disney’ experience in Orlando. For reservations visit the Specialty Cruise page and book well in advance of your stay.

Kevin Maw is Editor of Total Orlando.

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