Disney Springs The BOATHOUSE® - Orlando, FL

Three-quarters of this 400-seat restaurant is built over water.

VAA provided structural design services for an 18,000 SF waterfront restaurant located in Walt Disney World’s Disney Springs properties. The 400-seat eatery is one of several projects reinventing Downtown Disney as Disney Springs - an area representing a turn-of-the-century lakeside town common to the Floridian landscape. The use of amphibious vehicles and a 40-foot Italian water taxi will allow guests to enjoy the picturesque waterfront location.

The theme-intensive architecture and structural floor system bearing on a pile foundation installed in the lake presented unique challenges that required an understanding of structural and building systems engineering at a waterfront setting.

Our Approach

Calling on the team’s experience in port design and multi-level commercial construction aided VAA’s design of the steel structural framing over the water. The theme-intensive architecture of the restaurant façade resembled five separate buildings added and remodeled over a fictional 70-year history. Designed exclusively using Revit 3D modeling software, the building includes unique elements such as a 38-foot clerestory bar area, a two-story composite framed portion, a 70-foot tower element, dock bar and boardwalk areas surrounding the building’s waterfront.

Careful coordination between VAA, the architect and owner was required to support the visual elements and branding as well as restaurant functionality and customer comfort. VAA consulted with contractors on constructability issues over the water for a foundation system that combined both steel pile and spread footings.


The restaurant was one of VAA’s most complex structures under 20,000 SF. The team accomplished design and engineering requirements within the constraints of overlapping design and construction schedules to meet the owner’s required opening deadline.