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Guide to Disney World Lakes

Guide to Disney World Lakes

There is water surrounding all of Walt Disney World, which makes sense since Florida is full of swamps. But did you know that there are 10 lakes in Walt Disney World? Disney has cleaned everything up and given it that special magical touch that they do and even incorporated the lakes into parks and attractions. Let’s take a deeper look at all the Disney World lakes.

You can even make Disney lakes part of your upcoming vacation! There are boat rentals, special fireworks cruises, pirate adventure cruises, and in select locations, fishing! 

With all of this water it’s important to note that because this is Florida, there is no swimming allowed in any of the Disney lakes. Florida is home to alligators, snakes, and other critters that you don’t want to be swimming with. Disney has an excellent animal program to deter predatory animals like alligators, so it’s unlikely that they will be in the waters, but you should always assume that where there’s water, there’s gators in a place like Florida. 

Seven Seas Lagoon

The Seven Seas Lagoon is the body of water in front of the Magic Kingdom. This body of water worked to create the “Disney Bubble” around the Magic Kingdom. It was man-made for this purpose. This water filters over to Bay Lake, which is used for the ferry boats from the Transportation and Ticket Center as well as boats to the Wilderness Lodge Resort. 

This is also the body of water where you will find the classic Electrical Water Pageant! The best places to watch this opening day nighttime spectacular are Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s Fort Wilderness and Campgrounds, and Disney’s Contemporary Resort. 

Bay Lake

Bay Lake surrounds the Wilderness Resort, Polynesian Village Resort, and the Contemporary Resort. Bay Lake is a natural lake that lines Disney property. There are various places that offer boat rentals on Disney property for recreational boating on Bay Lake. 

Ferry boat cruises to enjoy the fireworks also use Bay Lake. Side note: These are excellent alternatives to dessert parties in the Magic Kingdom! Far less crowded with completely clear views! They are called Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise and cost $99 for adults and $69 for children ages 3-9, which is comparable to the far more crowded Magic Kingdom dessert party that is $99 per adult and $59 for children ages 3-9. Of course, for both parties, children under 3 are free! 

World Showcase Lagoon

World Showcase Lagoon is the body of water that World Showcase is wrapped around.  This body of water has been in the Disney news in the last couple of years. In 2021, EPCOT has finally completed all of the structures for the Harmonious nighttime spectacular. 

Now, real talk… The World Showcase Lagoon was once a beautiful backdrop for enjoying cocktails and snacks around the world. Now we have a view of giant black tacos and island structures. These are all part of Harmonious. 

Crescent Lake

Sunset at the Boardwalk Resort

Crescent Lake is the body of water that you will see as you walk along the Boardwalk. This lake also surrounds Disney resorts like, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, and the Swan and Dolphin hotels. This lake is often referred to as EPCOT/ Hollywood Studios Resort Area. There are boats for guests to take from the EPCOT area resorts to Hollywood Studios via Crescent Lake. 

Echo Lake

Guide to Disney World Lakes 2
Echo Lake decorated for Christmas

Echo Lake is unique to all of the Disney Lakes. Not only is it man-made, but it served a design purpose. This oval lake is within Disney’s Hollywood Studios. But is it just a simple oval? Hollywood Studios was built to make a giant hidden Mickey and Echo Lake was one of Mickey’s ears in the design!

This lake is also home to the famous Gertie, the dinosaur. Gertie is inspired by one of the first cartoons published in 1913. This dinosaur influenced Walt Disney to create this new art form.

Discovery River

Guide to Disney World Lakes 3

Found within Disney’s Animal Kingdom is Discovery River. Keep your ears listening for the change in music throughout the Animal Kingdom because that’s how you know that a special boat is coming through! You will see drummers and bands, and then you also see characters floating down the river! These aren’t always your typical characters, either. Sometimes you will see Rafiki, Miko, Pocahontas, Timon, Chip and Dale in dinosaur costumes, and of course, Mickey Mouse. At Christmas time Santa Claus will also ride down the Discovery River. 

Discovery River also used to be the home of the Discovery River Boat attraction that opened in April of 1998. Sadly, the attraction closed just one year later!

Lake Buena Vista

Lake Buena Vista is a small body of water by Disney Springs that also leaves the Disney bubble to cross HWY 535 and I-4. This lake was originally known as Blake Lake, but once Disney purchased the property they renamed the water Lake Buena Vista. The name is from the street in Burbank, California where Disney Studios is based. You’ll find that a lot of Disney entities include Buena Vista in the name. Buena Vista is Spanish for a good view. 

Sassagoula River

Port Orleans Resort boat launch area.
Port Orleans Resort boat launch area.

Sassagoula Lake is another man-made lake in Disney connecting Disney Resorts to Lake Buena Vista. The connected resorts are Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort, Port Orleans French Quarter Resort, and Saratoga Springs Resort. Guests at these resorts can also enjoy complimentary transportation to  Disney Springs. 

Hourglass Lake

Hourglass Lake is a beautiful body of water in between Disney’s Art of Animation and Pop Century Resorts. The lake gets its name from the hourglass shape, shocker! High above the water is Disney’s newest transportation vehicle, the Skyliner. The water gives you great views from the sky! Want the great views but are afraid of heights? There are walking and running trails around the resorts that wrap around Hourglass Lake. 

Lago Dorado

Meaning “gold lake” in Spanish, Lago Dorado is the water by Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. The sights are beautiful with a perfect view of the golden Floridian sunset, which turns the water gold. Hence the name.