Walt Dated World
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Admiral Joe Fowler and Richard F. Irvine Riverboats
Admiral Joe Fowler Riverboat
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Named after the retired navy admiral who was in charge of construction for Disneyland and Walt Disney World, the Admiral Joe Fowler riverboat didn't travel the Rivers of America on opening day in 1971. It premiered a day later on October 2. It used to require a D ticket. The other riverboat, the Richard F. Irvine didn't debut until May 20, 1973. It was named after a Disney designer and WED executive. It is the only riverboat that currently travels the Rivers of America and was renamed the Liberty Belle in 1996. In 1997, the Magic Kingdom I and Magic Kingdom II ferryboats were renamed the Richard F. Irvine and Admiral Joe Fowler.
Both boats docked at a landing right in the middle of Liberty Square and traveled around the Rivers of America to view sights such as the burning settler's cabin and Indian village. The boats would also steam past attractions such as Tom Sawyer Island, Big Thunder Mountain and the Haunted Mansion.
In 1980, The Admiral Joe Fowler was taken to dry dock for routine rehab. While the boat was being lifted by crane, it slipped and the hull was completely destroyed. The boat was then retired due to "mechanical problems". The broken boat was taken to the backstage "bone yard" for awhile before being buried somewhere on the property. The Liberty Belle supposedly has a life ring from the Admiral Joe Fowler on board.
(Special thanks to SJHYM at LaughingPlace.com for information on the Admiral Joe Fowler.)
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