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The Ugly Duckling

In our recent article about Fantasia Gardens, I brought up the Plaza Swan Boats. If you read the linked articles about the Magic Kingdom attraction, which operated from 1973 to 1983, you might have noticed that while the ride was still in the park, one of the individual ride vehicles had been converted into a maintenance barge to help clean the park’s waterways at night. The so-called “Waterway Vacuum Boat” would do just that – make use of vacuums to clear debris from the water.

By total coincidence, I’ve come across this photo from 1978 that shows the Vacuum Boat in action; this is the first time I’ve seen a picture of it.

The Waterway Vacuum Boat, Magic Kingdom, 1978Cast members Chuck Spivey and L.A. Hoitt operate the Waterway Vacuum Boat in front of the Crystal Palace in 1978

I’ve no idea if it’s still operational – do any of our Cast Member readers know?

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4 comments to The Ugly Duckling

  • It isn’t. If they do any moat cleaning these days it’s done on a big aluminum raft with an outboard motor. I think they use the same rig to go out and work on the Jungle Cruise too.

  • Thanks Foxx – I thought about emailing you before I posted this but I was in a rush :) Sounds like they use the same pontoon boats they used at EPCOT for water maintenance…

    PS. I like how the google ads on this page are now vacuum-centric… Buy Oreck!

  • Very nice!

    I assumed that they used the really bad skippers to clean the waterways.

  • philphoggs

    And yet the loading platform remains. Another fine structure thats lost its way. No complaints, I’m glad at least it does still stand…. er, right?

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