Sea Raycers and the current state of Disney's boat rentals

BaymaxFan78

Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 10, 2019
There's been a bunch of different rumors and stories about what happened to the Sea Raycer "Water sprites" at WDW. I was told by a marina CM last year that they were sold, some people said they were destroyed among other things. Either way I don't understand why Disney got rid of them, I know for a fact that anyone who got a chance to rent one had the time of their lives. Renting these boats along with the pontoons are my favorite thing to do at WDW.

The company that made the boats, Sea Ray, is still in business, so I don't think there was a parts / maintenance issue. I don't know when they first switched to this model of boat, I know it's been well over 10 years, so maybe they just reached the end of their lifespan. In that case you would think they would have bought new ones to replace them with rather than leaving a void of no rentals.

There was also the Boston Whaler boats that disappeared with the Sea Raycers. I don't know if they got thrown out as well or if they are sitting backstage somewhere.

Then there are the pontoons. They came back, albeit only available at certain resorts, and people are still renting them. I don't think there is a profit issue because prior to 2020, I remember trying to rent both the pontoon and motor boats and being turned away because they were all taken.

I don't know about other resorts but at Fort Wilderness the dock that used to house the pontoons and sea raycers has been torn up in different spots. I can't tell if it's just maintenance or if they are getting rid of the dock entirely.

What do y'all think? Are they gone for good or is Disney planning on bringing them back? Maybe a different model / brand will show up. Who knows.
 

New Mouse

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 8, 2010
The smaller boats were killed because it lost money for the company. The pontoons were kept only because the fireworks cruises and fishing tours make money.
 

Dis Dragon

Rawwwwr
Joined
May 19, 2019
They got rid of them because they were a net loss, even though it offered an amenity at deluxe resorts. There's been a lot of hubbub about low fiscally performing add-ons being cut, even though they added value for guests, that doesn't present it itself in a finance presentation.
 

Mrs.AMC

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 15, 2021
Wasn't the entire Sea Racer et al operation run by Sammy Duval, not Disney? The 2 parted ways.
 

FlynnRiderSwitch

Earning My Ears
Joined
Sep 8, 2022
The smaller boats were killed because it lost money for the company. The pontoons were kept only because the fireworks cruises and fishing tours make money.
That's so sad Disney got rid of the Sea Raycers, I have great memories of going on those little speedboats as a kid in the early 80's. Now that my kids are old enough to drive they're gone.
 

Cogswel_Cogs

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 5, 2005
You know, sometimes you have to have things that loose money so you'd make it up elsewhere. They were part of reason we considered some hotels when booking.
 

New Mouse

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 8, 2010
Even if they break even, you are tying up worker hours in an activity that is used by a small number of people.

With workers scarce, you want them serving the most people possible. For example, do you want mechanics fixing buses that transport hundreds a day or small boats that maybe 10 people use?

It is a shame that these little things get eroded away, but I can see why.

It is possible these could return someday. Perhaps if Disney builds another resort near Fort Wilderness there will be more people and more reason to offer extra activities. Maybe a boat company will want to sponsor a service like that to boost awareness.

Workers are only scarce due to pay at Disney
 

TheBigErn

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 2, 2016
Does Disney need to make money on EVERYTHING? If they did get rid of the sea racers because they lost money, how much could it have been? I'm really sick of the everything for a buck motto. I paid $107 to ride Guardians on opening day. That was on top of the park ticket and the Genie plus charge.
 

KYMickey

Adding EARS to Kentucky!
Joined
Sep 14, 1999
Does Disney need to make money on EVERYTHING? If they did get rid of the sea racers because they lost money, how much could it have been? I'm really sick of the everything for a buck motto. I paid $107 to ride Guardians on opening day. That was on top of the park ticket and the Genie plus charge.
Welcome to how Disney does things these days! If it doesn't help the bottom line it isn't going to be done! Of course by paying as much as you did to ride a ride on the 1st day you just are encouraging this behavior from them.
 

SteveAZee

Earning My Ears
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Sad really. We won a free hour rental (pre-pandemic) and had a blast out on the water. We even rented another so we could all go. I agree, they were probably a loss with the staffing required and low rental costs. I also always wondered if the ferry boat captains hated them since they were tiny and guests are stupid.
That's a good point... the need to have some oversight on the water with a number of small boats speeding around, including the slower area over the water bridge near the Contemporary.

I guess it's a little frustrating that if it's mostly about cost, why not try a higher price point for the rental? It's like DME... they didn't try a test of charging for it, they just took it away. Same with FP+... don't try keeping it and charge for it, instead it's a whole new (and in my opinion lesser) product.

I suspect it's about the time and energy needed to test pricing and determine value, and the people that would do that in the company are finite, so they're assigned to bigger fish and the plug is pulled on the thing... the boats, DME, whatever.
 

middlechild

Mouseketeer
Joined
Nov 4, 2013
I guess it's a little frustrating that if it's mostly about cost, why not try a higher price point for the rental? It's like DME... they didn't try a test of charging for it, they just took it away. Same with FP+... don't try keeping it and charge for it, instead it's a whole new (and in my opinion lesser) product.
Often these features and functions have costs that we are not aware. In the case of DME, according to a bus driver, the company that actually checked in the bags at MCO went out. And Homeland Security was not open to the idea of doing the same thing another way. In which case DME was not solely a decision on Disney part. Putting fencing up on all beaches to keep people out of the water, when they can bypass the fence by renting a Sea Raycer? Not to mention the bacteria, or other hazards? Potential liability through no fault of Disney, but simply due to being on Disney property? There are many aspects to a decision, of which we as the paying public only get to see a very small part, like an iceberg.
 

New Mouse

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 8, 2010
Often these features and functions have costs that we are not aware. In the case of DME, according to a bus driver, the company that actually checked in the bags at MCO went out. And Homeland Security was not open to the idea of doing the same thing another way. In which case DME was not solely a decision on Disney part. Putting fencing up on all beaches to keep people out of the water, when they can bypass the fence by renting a Sea Raycer? Not to mention the bacteria, or other hazards? Potential liability through no fault of Disney, but simply due to being on Disney property? There are many aspects to a decision, of which we as the paying public only get to see a very small part, like an iceberg.
The boats were money. Nothing more nothing less.
 

TheBigErn

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 2, 2016
Welcome to how Disney does things these days! If it doesn't help the bottom line it isn't going to be done! Of course by paying as much as you did to ride a ride on the 1st day you just are encouraging this behavior from them.
You're right. I should have said to my kids: No you can't ride this great new ride that just opened today because I'm going to make a point to Disney.
 

New Mouse

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 8, 2010
You're right. I should have said to my kids: No you can't ride this great new ride that just opened today because I'm going to make a point to Disney.

There's nothing wrong with your stance, but with that, it's accepting of how Disney is going to do things. You got to ride that great new ride in exchange for the money you paid in addition to the ever increasing upcharges and elimination of things such as movies, campfires, activities, boats, meet and greets at resorts, etc. They aren't mutually exclusive, so everyone choosing to pay for access is pushing Disney right down that path. Heck, they are even giving after hours another shot even though it was a failure first time around.
 

Jwaire

Mouseketeer
Joined
Sep 17, 2020
They've been steadily removing resort recreational activities for 10+ years. You used to could rent all types of watercraft at Caribbean Beach Resort, Old Key West, Polynesian, Downtown Disney, etc. Guests are willing to pay for deluxe resorts without those activities. So, why keep them?

People complain about what's happened to the parks in the last few years, but the Deluxe resorts have been decimated in the last 15 years. Maintenance neglected, theming stripped, water and landscaping features removed, lobbies homogenized, staffing reduced, transportation reduced, etc.

What's happened to the Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian alone is just sad. You would think WDW would take more pride in what makes it special. Uniquely themed deluxe resorts, recreational opportunities, unique transportation, etc. make it the vacation destination it is.
 








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