In just a few short weeks my nephew, age 10, and his family will be heading to Orlando for a Walt Disney World vacation. Quite frankly, he and his dad would rather be fishing than meeting a yucky ol’ princess who might try to kiss him! So in the interest of all things fair, here are some things that fisherman of all ages might enjoy at Disney, princess kisses not included!
Upon completion in the late 1960’s,BayLake and the Seven Seas Lagoon were stocked with 70,000 fingerling bass. Organized fishing tours didn’t start at Walt Disney World Resort until 1977, leaving bass to grow and breed undisturbed for years. All fishing at the Disney resorts is catch-and-release, guaranteeing anglers an opportunity to catch the big one!
Guided Fishing excursions are available on a 21-foot pontoon boat accommodating up to five guests or on a tournament-style Nitro Bass boat for one or 2 people. Both 2 and 4 hour excursions are offered. To inquire about current pricing or to make reservations, please call Call (407) 939-BASS or (407) 939-2277. Reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance.
For dockside fishing, casting-rod fishing gear can be rented from the Bike Barn at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. For traditional cane-pole fishing, visit the Fishin’ Hole at Old Man Island at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort—Riverside. Hours are 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. and vary seasonally. The fishing areas are stocked with catfish, bass, and blue gill, and a catch is almost certain. Remember, all fishing at Walt Disney World Resort is catch-and-release only so have your cameras ready!
If your anglers were told “absolutely no fishing” by their vacation planner, a.k.a. Mom, there are still lots of opportunities to see fish!
The best place in all of Disney to see fish is at EPCOT. The Seas with Nemo & Friends, located in Future World, features a 5.7 million gallon saltwater aquarium…. one of the largest such aquariums in the world! This aquarium is home to 70 varieties of fish and other marine animals including dolphins, manatees, and sea turtles. While you are there, make time for Turtle Talk with Crush and visit the many hands-on exhibits. Consider having lunch or dinner at the Coral Reef, a table service restaurant located behind The Sea. One wall is made of glass and offers views into the aquarium, where Mickey can occasionally be seen scuba diving.
Animal Kingdom theme park is also an obvious place to see fish. If you take the Discovery Island Trail, just past Pizzafari, there is a viewing area where you can see Pacu and Parooon Shark Catfish in their natural habitat. The Pangani Forest Exploration Trail provides opportunities to view African Cichlids. If it is Nemo and Dory that you would like to see, make time to watch Finding Nemo: The Musical. This show fills up fast so check the time guide and plan ahead!
Next check out the Rain Forest Café, located at the entrance to the Animal Kingdom and in Downtown Disney. The gift shop is located just inside the entrance and it is surrounded by massive saltwater tanks providing homes to coral reefs and exotic fish. Browsing is free, but do not be surprised if you are “lured” in for a quick bite to eat!
A hidden treasure for fish-finding is inside theTyphoon Lagoon Water Park at Shark Reef. After donning snorkeling gear, you will enter a chilly, 60 foot, salt water pool to ogle the tropical fish and yes, live sharks. (They’re small and harmless.) There is no additional cost for this experience.
For those who want to spend a little more time “swimming with the fishes,” Shark Reef now offers a longer program called the S.A.S. Adventure. There is an additional fee and participants must be at least 5 years old. To sign up for the S.A.S. Adventure, and for more information, visit the kiosk near the entrance of Shark Reef.
Still not enough fish for your angler? Ride the ferry boats at sunset. You will be certain to see fish of all kinds jumping and surfacing to feed on bugs. Also keep an eye to the sky as you will see plenty of Herons and Egrets heading home to roost. If you are lucky, a Bald Eagle just might be fishing nearby. Just don’t lean too far over the edge!
The Orlando area offers additional opportunities to enjoy sea life at Discovery Cove and SeaWorld. Your resort concierge or your travel agent can assist Walt Disney Resort guest with transportation arrangements.
Remember…….“Fish are friends. Not food”.