Renting a Sea Raycer: Is It Worth It?

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Renting a Sea Raycer at one of the Disney World Resorts has been on my to-do list for years, but the hardest thing about having so many things to do at the Disney World Resort is that there are just so many things to do! But a few weeks ago, I finally carved out some time courtesy of a Personalized Touring Plan to do a little cruising to see if it’s worth it. Here’s what I found out.

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The Fort Wilderness Marina

First of all, a Sea Raycer is a small, two person watercraft guests can rent at the Disney World Resort marinas. I personally chose the marina at the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground because I wanted to cruise around the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake to get a view of the Deluxe Resorts and the Magic Kingdom from the water. You can rent a Sea Raycer from the marina at the Yacht and Beach Club, but there isn’t as much to see, in my opinion.

The rental rates for a Sea Raycer are pretty reasonable at $32 per 30 minutes, $40 per 45 minutes, and $45 for 60 minutes. There’s also a 30% discount for passholders, which I gladly took advantage of! I also had to sign a waiver, show my driver’s license, and was warned that Sea Raycers are not known for speed. In fact, you’re looking at top speeds of around 20 mph. I was also informed that have two adults riding in a Sea Raycer, as opposed to driving solo or with a small child, will slow you down even more.

After getting my free life jacket, as it is a requirement for all drivers and passengers to wear a life jacket at all times, I was given a brief tutorial on how to operate a Sea Raycer by a friendly Cast Member, shown a map of Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon, was informed a few basic rules, and then was free to head out into open waters!

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Sea Raycers

Now, Sea Raycers are small and you do sit close to the water, but surprisingly there’s quite a bit of leg room. I discovered pretty early that steering was a little difficult and that these boats are truly short on speed, but I was enjoying the freedom to zip at will through the Magic Kingdom waters.

One of the opportunities that a Sea Raycer affords, and that I was especially looking forward to, was getting to head over to the Magic Kingdom to see it from the water. I had also brought my camera along and was hoping to get a few pictures. (Although, for fellow photographers, I should note that you can catch some spray from the lake since you are so close to the water, so protect your cameras!)

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The Magic Kingdom

For me, it was great seeing the Magic Kingdom from a different view point and all the activity at the gates; and even from my low vantage point, I could still see Cinderella Castle in the distance and the Main Street, U.S.A., Train Station. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get very close, as the water around the park is very busy with all of the boats picking up and dropping off guests. In the end, I personally preferred buzzing around the resorts instead.

Driving past the Contemporary, I got a great view of the Contemporary’s Bay Lake Tower and the Monorail sliding overhead. Also, across the lake at the Polynesian Resort, I got a close-up look at the construction of the new Disney Vacation Club rooms. They look awesome, by the way, and I’m already trying to figure out how I can get myself into one when they open!

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The Grand Floridian Villas

I really should mention that there are a lot of boat patrols on Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon, and they are very particular about enforcing no wake zones and controlling traffic. If you rent a Sea Raycer or any other boats at Disney World, be sure to cooperate and remember that they are there to keep all guests safe.

Now of all the resorts on Disney property, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is probably my favorite. It’s stunning from the entrance, and it’s rustic cavernous lobby is breathtaking, but you don’t always get to see it from the water. It truly looks like you’re on a lake at a National Park instead of Central Florida when you see it from your Sea Raycer.

I also couldn’t resist zipping over to the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. It looks like a postcard regardless of where you’re at; but from my Sea Raycer, I got a great close-up look at the new Grand Floridian Villas!

At this point, I was getting close to my 30 minute limit, but I was in for another surprise. As I approached Fort Wilderness to dock, I got a great view of River Country, Disney’s original water park, which closed in 1994. If you remember this park from back in the day, definitely make a point to check it out from your Sea Raycer. A lot of it is still intact.

Now back to the original question: Is Renting a Sea Raycer Worth It? Based on my little voyage, I would say that it depends. I think it’s a good activity if you have school-age kids and are looking for something beyond the parks to do, or if you’re into photography and want a whole new way to capture the resorts and Magic Kingdom. I would most definitely recommend a Sea Raycer to families with pre-teens eligible to drive a Sea Raycer themselves. Sometimes finding activities for this particular age group can be difficult, and the independence and safety that a Sea Raycer offers are sure to create an experience both you and they will enjoy. Plus, it won’t break the bank!

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View of the Monorail

However, for adults and those with older teens in tow, you may want to skip renting a Sea Raycer for another activity or upgrade to something with a little more size and speed!

A few more things I found out… You can only rent a Sea Raycer from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM. You may also want to prepare to get wet. I only caught a little spray, but others who have rented a Sea Raycer have gotten nearly drenched from other boats. Also, I rented my Sea Raycer for the shortest time allotment, which was 30 minutes. I wasn’t sure if that would be long enough, but I saw every resort and the Magic Kingdom easily within that time frame. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, wear sunscreen! I got more sun in my thirty minutes driving a Sea Raycer than I did my entire vacation, and it’s very easy to burn when you’re on the water.

So what do you think? Have you ever rented a Sea Raycer at Disney World? What was your experience?

Savannah Sanders

Savannah has been visiting Disney World since she was a year old and has gone back almost every year since. In the real world, she teaches high school history and government and enjoys writing about all things Disney. Savannah can be reached on Twitter @DisneyParkSavvy.

12 thoughts on “Renting a Sea Raycer: Is It Worth It?

  • July 22, 2014 at 8:42 am
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    Love the article! I’ve been looking for something do to with my 7 yr old while my 10 yr old & hubby do the African Trek in AK….think I found the answer! We’re staying at the Beach Club so maybe I’ll rent a Sea Raycer from that marina. I’m curious about the daily rental volume…would I need an advance reservation to get a Raycer? We will be visiting the first week of November. Thanks

    • July 22, 2014 at 2:01 pm
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      No reservations needed – or available, as far as I know.

      Do consider heading up to the Magic Kingdom area for your rental, though – there’s just not as much space to build up any speed on Crescent Lake, and not as much to see.
      Discounts are there for DVC, annual pass, and, apparently, AAA.

      • July 22, 2014 at 3:37 pm
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        Nicholas, you’re absolutely right about not needing reservations. I only saw one other couple when I rented my Sea Raycer; and renting at the Magic Kingdom area is definitely the way to go! Great advice!

  • July 22, 2014 at 9:14 am
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    I rented two of these at Ft. Wilderness for my 12 year old daughter and her friend, when they were called water-mice I think. I told them be back in 30 minutes. An hour and a half later they weren’t back and the sales kiosk was closing. They only charged me half price, thank heavens. After about two hours it started to get dark and the safety people chased them in. They loved it!

    They used to be available at more resorts but not any more.

  • July 22, 2014 at 9:51 am
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    We have rented Sea Raycers twice now, both times at the Wilderness Lodge Marina. Both times we were the only family at the marina at the time (Chilly day in March and gorgeous day in early April). My kids, ages 17, 15, 12 and 10 all thought it was the greatest thing ever!

    A few things to note: Kids age 12 and up are allowed to drive; those 15 and up may take out a Sea Raycer by themselves. (After you sign the waiver, of course.) The minimum charge is for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, you will be charged a prorated rate per minute, so you do not need to be worried about watching the clock. (If you are out for 47 minutes you will be charged the 45 minute rate plus the extra 2 minutes; not the 60 minute rate.) Always ask about possible discounts. We received 15% off with our AAA membership card.

  • July 22, 2014 at 11:31 am
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    “However, for adults and those with older teens in tow, you may want to skip renting a Sea Raycer for another activity or upgrade to something with a little more size and speed!”

    What other options are there? Are the considerably more expensive?

    • July 22, 2014 at 4:01 pm
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      Great question, Sarah! Marinas usually offer pontoon rentals, the price of which depends on how many you have in your party but are still very reasonable for Disney. Other recreational options at Fort Wilderness range from renting a canoe or kayak (at around $11 per person) to taking archery lessons, going on a horseback ride, to renting a golf cart (for around $60). For older teens, a tour may provide the excitement they are looking for, such as Animal Kingdom’s Wild Africa Trek or a Surfing Lesson at Typhoon Lagoon. The tour costs around $200, possibly more depending on when you visit; and Surfing Lessons are currently about $165.

  • July 22, 2014 at 1:57 pm
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    Have been renting regularly since 1999 I think. Years ago, they were called “Water Sprites”, then the name changed to “Water Mice”, and eventually to “Sea Raycers”, although there has been little change in the boats themselves. I usually rent at the Poly, as they are the only one of the docks I know of that has free lockers there for stashing your stuff. (The CR has paid lockers, and I think the GF does as well.)
    Back in the mid-2000s, they seemed to have a bit of a power crisis, as it was difficult to get up much speed, but since 2010 or so that seems to be much improved. That may be when the new Sea Raycers were brought in.
    Just a couple notes – although I can’t imagine why one would want to, they can be rented for 15 minute intervals, though the price is not posted. And you don’t have to decide your time at pick up – when you bring the boat back, you’ll be charged based on how long you were out. Some CMs will give you a bit more leeway than others if you’re close to the limit between one price and the next.
    Also, the paperwork that you sign does include an agreement that you will not take photos from the boat, so you may want to not be too obvious with the camera. This is partly a safety issue, but also because they want to minimize the number of cameras that get dropped overboard.
    While staying away from the larger craft is important for safety, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t great fun to jump the wakes behind them once they’re safely past. If you get the angle and the timing right, I’ve skipped as many as 18 bounces in a row off the trailing wake of one of the ferries.

  • July 22, 2014 at 2:00 pm
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    We love to rent boats at Disney. The pontoon boat is the best I think, it gives you tons of space to spread out. Also with the bigger boat you don’t have to wear the life jacket, which is nice in the Florida heat. Speed is non existant, if you want to go fast rent off site.

  • July 22, 2014 at 2:32 pm
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    Two years ago we splurged on renting a pontoon boat from Poly (these can be rented at all lake resorts). They are very bi and very comfortable for a whole family and has a shared cover. They move fairly fast and we were able to cover both lakes.
    Highly recommend this over the smaller boats. For about $100 you will enjoy cruising the Seven Seas lagoon in comfort with plenty of picture taking opportunities!

  • July 22, 2014 at 6:03 pm
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    How about an article about other boat rental at Disney? We’ve rented Pontoons and “The Breathless” for firework cruises at Epcot. But that was ages ago; I’d like to see if that still around and what other options are available. I’ve even heard about a Dinner cruise at one time.

  • July 22, 2014 at 10:15 pm
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    I rented two for my daughter and her friend and told them to be back in 30 minutes. They were called “water mouse” back then. An hour and a half later they weren’t back and the sales desk closed. Luckily they gave me a pretty good discount. At about two hours the patrol boat finally chased them back as it got dark.

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