Walt Disney World  Watercraft Pilots

 A Group Photo:


CV-41_USS Midway_08_1970s.jpg
CV-41_USS Midway_07a_1970s.jpg

USS Midway CVA-41 in 1970's


Here is a picture from the Summer of 1991. From left to right is Bobby Dumas, Troy Morehead, Steve Zavinsky.   Bill Kilzer, is believed to be   in  the pilot house, but not   sure.
The Kingdom Queen - Ferryboat


Kingdom Queen class


Above: This is a view, in the back of Walt Disney World's Drydock Yard, as seen from the high stern roof top of The Southern Seas cruiseship. Photo taken by Greg Chin in 1984.

Length: 120'- 0" long

Beam: 34'-10" wide

Draft:   5'-6" deep at keel

Displacement: 180 tons

Top Speed:  7.0 knots


(2) Catepillar Model 3406 marine engines - 6-cylinder diesel engines. One on each end of the hull.

Props: (2) props and (2) rudders

Built at: The WDW Central Shops, and Drydock yard.

Designed by: naval architect Ben Ostlund and Walt Disney Imagineering.





















Click on pictures to see enlarged images






      In 1976, the third ferryboat, the "Kingdom Queen" had joined the Watercraft fleet. This one was designed by noted naval architect, Ben Ostlund, based in Newport Beach, CA. Ben Ostlund had been part of the team which designed the modernizations to one of the U.S. Navy's aircraft carriers, the USS Midway (CVA-41) during 1955. [ Click on the small images, above right, to see larger ones ] 
He was excited to be designing vessels for the Walt Disney Company, (known then as Walt Disney Productions). The construction of the "Kingdom Queen" was to be handled differently, and it was built in the Drydock area at Walt Disney World's Central Shops. In 1976, the new ship cost the company $1,250,000 dollars to built it. She has a steel hull, and an aluminum superstructure for the two decks, which is why she weighs less at 180 tons. Both the Magic Kingdom I and II ferryboats have all-steel beam, square tubing, and steel plated construction, and each weigh in at 190 tons.

      At a glance, The Kingdom Queen has the same external horizontal lines and shape as the MK I and II, but internally she is totally different on both decks, especially in the layout of her engine rooms. Any of the pilots will tell you, she is much more of a luxury ship, since she was designed to accommodate charter cruises around the Disney lakes. The Kingdom Queen has no seating at all, on the upper deck, but there are two wet bars behind each of the pilothouses. (Note: The Wet Bars are removed later, during 2001). Because of this, the pilothouses have their doors along their righthand sides, instead of the backside, where the wet bars are, and the piloting would be in plain view of the guests on a charter cruise . The Kingdom Queen also has a flat area dance floor in the middle of the upperdeck. In case any fire emergencies should arise, whether it's on the ship itself, or another boat on the lake, or something else along the shoreline (like a wooden dock), the Kingdom Queen is also equipped with an advanced water-pumping apparatus design to ensure maximum volume of water to all the fire boxes and their fire hoses within. They can be deployed in a matter of seconds. The ample supply of passenger life vests are stowed in easy to reach overhead racks on the lower deck ceiling, as well as the compartmented stowage areas under the seating benches. The tops of the seating benches on the Kingdom Queen are hinged for added convenience. The ship also has large restroom areas, which are unlocked only during charter cruises, for public use.

     During 1999, the ferryboats were renamed for the upcoming Walt Disney World 30th Anniversary. The Kingdom Queen was renamed as the "General Joe Potter", in honor of the man that Walt Disney chose to oversee the field construction of Disneyland in 1954, and Walt Disney World, during 1968 through 1971.
     In 2001, the ferryboats received a refit on some basic equipment. New pilothouses were built, with forward sloping windows to increase visibility, during docking procedures. Behind each of the 2 new pilothouses, the wet bars on the General Joe Potter were removed, and the benches on the lower deck, were also replaced with the new flat-styled benches. They were lighter, and had no seat-backs, so more passengers could sit all around the edges of these new benches. The Life Jackets had been stowed away on the ceiling, but now they were stowed away, in the blue aluminum box compartments under the new benches. Since the seats benches were lighter, and hinged, this makes it easier to access the life jackets, in the event they are ever needed.
The "Kingdom Queen" Joins the Fleet:


  • The square framework structure to the left, with the big wheels is known as a "Tommy Lift". It is used for raising and lowering smaller boats which have a "V-shaped hull, or do not require the large syncrolift platform. It is used extensively during the rehabs for the Motor Launches and Motor Cruisers.

  • Later on, in 1981, the Tommy Lift was also used for the first 2 new "Friendship" Watertaxis, built for the World Showcase Lagoon, at EPCOT. Eventually, a total of 8 watertaxis were built right here, at Walt Disney World's Central Shops and put to the test in the two larger Disney Lake.




Left: The Kingdom Queen, ( or the "General Joe Potter" as she is called today) nose- docked over at the Disney Wedding Pavilion, located in the Seven Seas Lagoon nearby the Grand Floridian Beach Resort and the Polynesian Village Resort. The Kingdom Queen does a lot of wedding charters, because of its wide open, and flat dance floor on the upper deck. It also has a very fancy sound mixer, audio, and PA system, and two wet bars. She's such a great party boat!

Click on pictures to see enlarged images
Disney WC Pilots  


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