Length: 100'- 5/8" long
Beam: 30'-0" wide
Draft: 5'-6" deep at keel
Displacement: 160 tons (Best estimate)
Engine: Steam boiler operating a genuine "Gallows A- Frame Walking Beam Engine". Modeled after the type found on the steamer "Francis Skiddy" of the gold rush era, circa 1900's.
Built: Hull sections built at the Tampa Bay Drydock Co. But then assembled at WDW's Drydock and Central Shops, during 1970.
Above: The pilothouse of an Osceola-class steamship. With all the polished brass, the mohogany and teak wood, it had a very nice aroma inside. The window panels were raised and lower using the leather straps. This is actually the pilothouse of the Ports-O-Call, but it is the same design of the first Southern Seas' pilothouse as well. The brass steering tiller can be seen, and the ship's telegraph is a working version connected to the other one in the Boiler Room. It was actually used to signal the Engineer, about the speed and direction for the ship's movements.
The steam whistle pull-handle hangs from above, as does the aim-handle for the brass spotlight. The black handles are thruster controls to move the ship sideways if needed. There are duplicate buttons outside as remote controls. Most classic vessels have wooden pilothouses so it will not interfere with magnetic compasses, and other navigational aids. The brass binnacle in front of the ship's tiller, contains a floating compass.
The original "Southern Seas" ( I ) - an authentic steamship -
- The first "Southern Seas" was built in 1969 and completed by 1971, at the Disney Central Shops and Drydock. Her wooden and fiberglass-encased hull was built in sections at the Tampa Bay Drydock Company, in Tampa, Florida. Along with the rudder for steering, the side-paddlewheels were the sole means of propulsion for the ship. There were no propellers, like on the later Ferryboats, and other Disney watercraft vessels.
- These two Walt Disney World steamships were going to be unique! They were an engineering marvel. Nothing like them had been built since the turn of the century, from the 1870's to the 1900's. A more leisurely way to travel, and perfectly matching the theme of the Magic Kingdom's entrance land, of Main Street U.S.A.
- The Southern Seas operated in regular service from 1971, until about 1975. A relatively short time. Her wooden "egg-crate" compartmented hull was badly damaged in a maintenance flooding accident in Drydock, and her hull also was rotted due to the effects of the resulting water damage. After 2 years of evaluation, the ship was finally raised up out of the water in 1976, and towed back on the Drydock Hill. Certain engine parts and fittings were saved, for the next ship. It was then scrapped by a bulldozer, sometime in mid-1977.