The Empress of WDW

Empress Lilly  Riverboat Lake Buena Vista
Empress Lilly
Lake Buena Vista

Years ago, the Downtown Disney Area was simply known as The Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village, and one of the most notable venues was The Empress Lilly, named after Walt’s wife and life partner, Lillian Disney. It is a building designed by Disney Imagineers in the shape of a Mark Twain era paddlewheel riverboat. The detail on this was exquisite and it was very difficult to see whether or not it is an actual boat, or an outstanding piece of architecture.

My first visit to The Empress Lilly was on my first vacation to Walt Disney World in October of 1982. I was with my cousin and we decided to go for a Disney Character breakfast! It is one of the most memorable parts of that vacation and brings a smile to my face thinking about it, right now. We saw Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, and Donald, and I think a few princesses made the rounds, as well! How I wish I still had the pictures from that meal!

Fulton's Crab Shack Courtesy of Mouseplanet
Fulton’s Crab Shack
Courtesy of Mouseplanet

The Empress Lilly is now Fulton’s Crab Shack, and I’m not sure how it is figured into the plans for Disney Springs, but I vote to return Lilly to her former glory and let her shines as she once did! I would still go for character meals, if she went under a retroactive redo!

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the matter! Have a Blessed and Magical day, my friends!

Author: threestrandswdw

I am a Disney fanatic who can't get nearly enough time to be there! I am married to someone who isn't as into it as I am, but tolerates my "hobby". I live in Ohio, but would love to make the move to Orlando, if I would work either at Walt Disney World, or in some peripheral business serving the WDW area! I invite you to read, comment, and submit ideas anytime at Or, even better, send me a trip report to share with others! We all like to live through the experiences of others, help us stay connected to the magic! Thank you!!

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