Walt Dated World
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Admiral Joe Fowler and Richard F. Irvine Riverboats | Country Bear Christmas Special | Country Bear Vacation Hoedown | Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes | Diamond Horseshoe Revue Show Formats | Hall of Presidents: Original Show | Mike Fink Keel Boats | Frontierland/Liberty Square Shops and Restaurants
Mike Fink Keel Boats
Mike Fink Keel Boats
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The Mike Fink Keel Boats debuted at Walt Disney World on opening day. They were based on the watercraft featured in two Disneyland shows (Davy Crockett's Keel Boat Race and Davy Crockett and the River Pirates). The plot of the first show had Davy Crockett racing the Bertha Mae to beat Mike Fink's Gullywhumper for title of King of the River. The second show had Davy and Mike Fink teaming up to solve a river mystery. Both shows were later combined into a feature film and a Keel Boat attraction premiered at Disneyland in late 1955.
Walt Disney World's Keel Boats were a B ticket. The boarding dock was to the left of the Haunted Mansion entrance. The boats were named Gullywhumper and Bertha Mae, just like in the Davy Crockett shows. After leaving the dock, the free-floating, motorized boats would sail around Tom Sawyer Island to view scenery around the Rivers of America. Having the Keel Boats be free-floating proved to come in handy during one of the preview days before the park opened in 1971. During preview days before the Magic Kingdom opened, only three monorails were in service so any watercraft that could serve to shuttle guests from the Transportation and Ticket Center to the main gates were used and this included one of the Keel Boats!
The boats operated sporadically until May 17, 1997. One of the Keelboats at Disneyland capsized that day and probably led to the beginning of the demise of the boats at Walt Disney World. The old Keel Boat loading dock is still at the Magic Kingdom near the Liberty Square smoking area and the former Haunted Mansion Fast Pass distribution area. Disneyland's Keel Boats sailed for the last time in 1997 but the boats at the Magic Kingdom continued on until April 29, 2001 (although some sources say they operated seasonally beyond that date). Disneyland Paris had an attraction called River Rogue Keelboats.
The Keel Boat loading dock can still be seen by the Rivers of America.
This reminder of the Keel Boats can be viewed from the Liberty Belle as it circles Tom Sawyer Island. The book shelves at the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen contain a book called Keel Boats of the Mississippi River by "Fink".
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See ya real soon!