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City of Orlando debuts new swan boat

New swan boat wheelchair accessible

New swan boat docked at Lake Eola
New swan boat docked at Lake Eola (WKMG / ERICA RAKOW)

ORLANDO, Fla. – If you've been to Lake Eola in downtown Orlando, chances are you've seen the iconic swan boats on the water. Thursday morning, the city showed off a new boat that's like no other after one of the eight was retrofitted to be wheelchair accessible.  

[PHOTOS: Swan boat at Lake Eola]

"We're excited for the swan boat because we have a ramp and we never went on it before," said Alexis Taylor.

Taylor, 6, was born with spina bofida and uses a wheelchair to get around. Moments after the new boat was revealed, she, her twin sister and mom were the first to get to ride it.

The Taylors were visiting Orlando last month when the twins spotted the swan boats and wanted to go for a ride. They soon found out Alexis could not get on with her wheelchair.

They were crushed, especially her twin sister, who was a nervous wreck.

"She was breaking down, she was sad," said Amanda Taylor, the girls' mom.

Good new followed though, and the Taylor's were quickly invited back to be the first family to ride the ADA accessible boat that was already in the works by the Rotary Club of Orlando.

"Things that we take for granted, being able-bodied, that we can go out and do, a lot of folks can't do and we love being able to open up that opportunity to someone in a wheelchair," said Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan.

The Rotary Club of Orlando donated $6,000 for the boat and dock changes. The money was raised through a swan boat race the chapter held in March.

"If you saw the great smile on her face, you knew it was all worth it," said City of Orlando Mayor, Buddy Dyer.  "This is a fantastic way to kick off the 4th of July weekend," Dyer said.

Local 6 was told the Fourth of July is the busiest day of the year for the swan boat rentals.