Disney World appears to be in the process of retrofitting its ferry boats to allow for quicker and easier access to the second floor from the dock. As you can see in our photos below, the second floor of the Richard F. Irvine has construction at either end of the boat as railings are removed and replaced with gates to allow guests to embark and disembark directly onto the second level of the boat.
Work is taking place at the dock as well, where pilings have been driven into the lagoon where a staircase will be constructed to allow for access directly to the second level of the boat.
The stairs will be located between the two existing docks.
Onshore nearby, crews are working on constructing what appears to be a floating dock that will contain the staircase. When it is finished, we expect it will be positioned where the pilings are in the photo above.
Work is also taking place at the Transporation and Ticket Center side of Seven Seas Lagoon.
Disney has not formally announced this project yet, but it should help greatly with guest flow on the ferry boats.
As to why Disney might be performing this work, we have to imagine it has to do with the fact that guests will occasionally have issues with the staircases on the interior of the boats. The staircases are supposed to be kept clear when the boat is in motion, but guests have not always followed Cast Member instructions. Cast do rope off the staircases, but that doesn’t always prevent guests from sitting or standing on the staircases. Because the ferry boats are free-floating vessels, they can bump the dock when they approach land. Sometimes, a hard docking occurs where a bump could destabilize guests. In that event, standing on or near the staircase could be dangerous.
Earlier this summer, the General Joe Potter was removed from service for a few days following a crash where guest injuries were reported. While the exact details of the crash or injuries were not disclosed, it’s possible that the staircases could have played a part and prompted Disney to make changes.
As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!