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“Disney's most thrilling attraction (and it's not what you may think).”

Sammy Duvall Watersports Centre
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and up
Jet Ski Adventure at Disney's Contemporary Resort
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Parasailing at Disney's Contemporary Resort
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Tandem Parasailing at Disney's Contemporary Resort
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Enjoy a sunny day on the water. Located behind Disney's Contemporary Resort, Sammy Duvall's Watersports Centre offers families and individuals the opportunity to Parasail, ride our Personal Watercraft, Water-ski, Wakeboard, Tube, and much more! Open daily; 365 days a year!
Useful Information: Lockers / storage, Activities for young children, Wheelchair access, Activities for older children
Reviewed August 1, 2012

We've done them all, Space Mountain, Aerosmith's Rockin' Roller Coaster, Mission Space, even Expedition Everest. These are without a doubt fabulous rides. But if you're looking for something a bit different, something a bit more breath taking, or something maybe even a bit more personally challenging than being secured into a predictable ride system, Sammy Duvall's watersports center is a must.

Located behind the Contemporary Hotel, this facility is staffed by fun, energetic folks who will go out of their way to give you a "Disney" experience like you've never had. With options from parasailing to jet skis, waterskiing and tubing, this place is a blast! While not actually owned or run by the Disney machine, everyone who works at Sammy's is just as polite, knowledgeable and professional as the cast members you'll encounter in one of the theme parks.

Basically what you have is a water sports banquet and you can pick your activities as you wish. Here are some choices. Parasailing... my wife is deathly afraid of heights and nervous about being tethered from a rope while up in the air (who wouldn't be). She flew at 600 feet and loved every minute of it. You float off the back of the boat and land as gently as you go up. You won't even get your feet wet. We took both still photo cameras and video cameras up to record everything. No worries. Again, the staff explains everything to you ahead of time and they know their stuff. Our recommendation - do it!

Jet skis. We took both the early morning tour and did some free riding as well. Both are awesome. The tour allows you to go from Bay Lake across the water bridge over to the Seven Seas Lagoon. You'll get cool info on Disney as you tour, and excellent photo opportunities that you can't get otherwise. Also, it's really fun to zip by the ferries and wave to the guests as they stare out at you. Just remember, you have to be 16 to operate the jetskis, and yes, they'll check. Have a younger family member? Let them ride as a passenger. If you take the jetskis out for "free riding" the same rule applies. But don't worry; it's still a blast to bomb around for an hour in your private section of Bay Lake if you're up front or on the back. If you can only do one or the other, take the tour. It's a bit more diverse and you still get to go fast across the water.

Water skiing, wake boarding, tubing. Now we're talking intense, high energy fun. My son had never done any of these activities, nor had my wife. I tried to water ski many years ago but failed miserably. At 14 the kid was up for anything and Sammy's crack staff had him up on the water skis on his third attempt. I made it up on my fifth. My wife was also successful. Bottom line - when they say they can teach you to ski, they really can. They also got my son wake boarding, which he loved more than the skiing. As for tubing, well, that is where you totally dictate what kind of experience you want. The boat operators are experts at dragging you on a casual joy ride, or giving you the time of your life where you'll hardly be able to hang on as you catch serious air off of the waves from the boat wake. We would highly encourage families looking for fun "together" activities to go out for an hour or two and have some fun on the water.

If we can share a few tips, here they are. 1.Book a date (or dates) early in your stay. If you get rained out, Sammy's staff will set you up with a new date. You don't want to get all pumped up to parasail on your last day at Disney and then get rained out. Also, book early in the day; it usually doesn't start raining until noon or so. 2.Pay attention to the safety directions. They are few and simple and will make your experience awesome. 3.Take a camera up if you parasail. Use a neck or wrist strap obviously. Sammy's has a photo package that you may want to take advantage of, but they only shoot from the boat. You're going to want pictures from the air too! 4.Don't pick on the counter staff if it rains. They don't control the weather (and no, they don't know how long it will be before it stops raining or when the safety patrol will open the lake either).

Bottom line, go to Sammy's. Stop thinking about it, and do it. You'll have great times no matter which activity you select, and you'll make awesome, unique memories while you're there!!

3  Thank Rick W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 31, 2012

Sammy Duvall Watersports operates on a private section of the lake behind Disney's Contemporary Hotel. They are sanctioned by Disney and operate in a first class way, just as all of Disney does. In contrast to a hot, crowded day full of waiting at the Disney parks, we had a private first class (the Ferarri of boats) boats with a talented, kind, helpful, and fun driver, Dave, all to our ourselves--no waiting, lots of fun, and a top notch experience.

Sammy Duvall's offers rentals of jet skis (must be 16), parasailing (single or tandem--must be 6 years old to tandem, at least 130 pds to single), and waterskiiing/tubing/wakeboarding. They offer discounts for AAA, military, and ALLEARS (print out the coupon from the allears.net website--15% off). We forgot to bring our printed coupon, but they allowed you to show it on your smartphone. We made reservations on their website the week prior and we got prompt confirmation.

Where is it?
Go to Disney (get off at the exit for Magic Kingdom--I think it's exit 65) and drive through the gates where you park for Magic Kingdom and tell them you are going to the Contemporary Hotel. Free parking is available at the hotel. Go through the main lobby and out back past the pool to the marina. Sammy Duvall is on the back right of the little building by the dock. Usually water outfitters look a little rough, but this place was super clean and in perfect condition. There are t-shirts, gear, waters, and other things available for purchase. Be sure to allow plenty of time to drive there, park, and walk out back.

We did the tubing/waterskiing experience. It was $165 for an hour (minus the 15% discount). We were suprised how fast the boat was and that they could tow 2 tubes at once so that all four of us could ride at the same time (they carry up to 5 passengers). We were in a section of the lake reserved for only SD, so we didn't have to wait for other boats or deal with the wakes of other vehicles, which we normally do at other lakes.

Our driver, Dave, was fantastic about giving instructions, showing us signals to use to communicate, checking to make sure we were happy with his speed and level of challenge, and even making sure each of our kids had exactly the experience he wanted. He even had towels for us to use. WOW! Super nice guy.

The first half of the time, we focused solely on tubing. We all had a great time. Then we asked Dave to give some waterskiing instruction to my boys. He did an amazing job of teaching the form and technique. We really only had time for my older son to try and he did get up, but never really conquered it enough to have a long run. Dave was patient and encouraging and very specific in helping to learn what he was getting right or wrong. We decided that my younger son would not have time to really get a good run at skiing and to focus on the older one. Dave didn't want him to feel left out so let him help drive the boat back to dock (very fast!!! which he loved!!!).

Everyone had a great day, and I would totally recommend this organization to a friend. We will keep this on our list for future visits. It would be a great filler for an arrival or departure day, when you don't have an entire day to spend at the parks or if you want a different experience.

Only bring things you don't mind losing or items that float. If something goes in the lake, you aren't getting it back! :) Wear a swimsuit, sunscreen, and bring a water bottle. We like wearing goggles (old ones that aren't our favorites) to minimize the eye splashing. There was a restroom right inside the lobby where we were able to change afterwards. If you want, book a meal at Chef Mickey's while you are at the Contemporary! (reservations on the Disney website)

2  Thank CaryPlanner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2012

We planned a Disney vacation around character meals, annual pass expiration dates, and mom's birthday and then remembered "FATHER'S DAY!!"
I booked about a week ahead of time, and there were spots available. There were plenty of options and lots of info upfront (like size and safety requirements). My husband had a great time and the staff was courteous and friendly. There was plenty for us to do while we waited for him nearby at the Contemporary hotel.
A great way to add a new twist to a Disney trip.

1  Thank Shannon S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2012

Fantastic experience -- A great way to cool off in the summer heat. Flying high above the lake with a great view of WDW. The crew was very nice and gave great instructions. We opted for the extra photo package. They took great pictures of both my daughters for a single fee. Everybody was really helpful from the time we booked until we exited the boat. We'll be back! Highly recommend.

1  Thank MAY61899395
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 11, 2012

We have experienced what Sammy Duvall Watersports has to offer on two separate occasions.
In 2008 we took a group of High School Seniors on their senior trip to WDW. They went parasailing and or tubing & had a blast, many felt it was the very best part of the trip.
The staff did an excellent job of organizing our group of 50 plus.

Our second experience was a family trip. Our son had always wanted to try wakeboarding. With Daves excellent instruction & tips, he was jumping the wake by the time our session ended!
The rest of us were content with going tubing, which I highly recommend.

I should mention that our trip was in December, it was quite cool, overcast with temps in the low 70's. Don't let cool weather stop you....we had a blast!

I feel bad that I have not reviewed this sooner, I wholeheartedly recommend Sammy Duval Watersports

1  Thank MomSwan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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