Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Keelboat and Cascade Peak, 1996

I'll bet a lot of today's Disneyland fans (or "whippersnappers", as I calls 'em) have no idea that there used to be two little Keelboats that plied the Rivers of America back in happier days. But WE know! Mr. X took many photos of the Gullywhumper as it headed toward us. Slowly, slowly! But nobody is in a hurry.

Part of Fort Wilderness can be seen on Tom Sawyer Island, I think this was around where the emergency escape tunnel used to be, though I'm pretty sure it was long-gone by '96.

One of the highlights of a ride aboard a Keelboat was when the pilot would take guests perilously close to Cascade Peak's big waterfall. Meanwhile, I've never been clear on what that object that looks like a hangman's gallows was supposed to be. Any ideas?

Aw, he could have gotten closer than that! Maybe he was avoiding an reef or a sandbar that only an experienced river pilot would know about. I went a little heavy on the "saturation" slider on this one. I blame society.

Unlike the Mark Twain or the Columbia, at this point the Keelboat was only about halfway along its journey around the Rivers of America (since the dock was over near the Haunted Mansion). Enjoy it while it lasts, folks, the Keelboats would close forever the following year. 

Thank you, Mr. X!


"Lou and Sue" said...

Very nice, relaxing setting - great pictures! Thank you Mr. X and Major!



MAJOR: I think that think was left to look like a cargo hoist to load mining supplies from a raft or boat - but I think at one time it was functioning dock for park maintenance service boats.
At one time WDI had proposed using that mine tunnel leading to cascade peak as a entry tunnel for a relocated Explorer Canoe landing about right where that hoist is today - in fact during the course of the recent re-routing of The Rivers of America various displays on the Rivers construction barricades featured various images of Imagineering artwork related to the history of the River of America’s and that concept piece of the relocated canoe lading was featured.

I miss the Keel Boats . Does anyone remember when the Keel Boat “boatmen” would do their live narration and make the boat sway left and right -side to side saying “ many people ask me why these are called a Keel Boat .... it’s because sometimes we Keil right over!” I’m pretty sure that all stoped when one of the keel boats really did fall over - no doubt due to an over zealous Boatman!

TokyoMagic! said...

For the first time, I'm noticing an opening and a ledge way up near the very top of Cascade Peak. Could that be where the short-lived mountain goats were once located? Or could that be where the even shorter-lived bobsleds came out of and then reentered the mountain?

Chuck said...

Major, you are correct about the location of the escape tunnel...and that it was gone by '96.

Mike Cozart, thanks, as always, for the info about the proposed relocation of the canoe landing. That would have been an interesting and dramatic reuse of the tunnel, but I'm kind of glad they didn't do it. We got to keep a "wild" section of the river a while longer (although if they'd moved it, I can also see a reason to have at least kept Big Thunder Falls when they tore down the rest of the mountain).

TM!, they were actually mountain goats riding bobsleds.

Andrew said...

These are some really nice ones. I'd like to see a "then and now" set-up of any of them.

Also, I definitely agree with you on those young Disneyland fans. Some of them don't even know there is a river because of how distracted they are by the rest of the park! "Whippersnappers," indeed!

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, you are welcome!

Mike Cozart, a cargo hoist makes sense - I wondered why it wasn’t near the Mark Twain landing, but if it is for mining equipment, I suppose being near the old Mine Train is apt. I sort of like the idea of them putting the old tunnel to some use. I wish we could see some of the displays you mentioned that were on the construction barriers! I wonder if they survive in the archives? I’ve heard recordings of the Keelboat spiels, and I know that they liked to make the boats sway; you’d think that management would have made that verboten - maybe that would have prevented that tipping accident from happening, and we’d still have the boats. Probably not though!

TokyoMagic!, yes, that’s where one of the mountain goats used to move back and forth. There’s a pretty decent photo of one of the goats (or are they sheep?) at THIS POST.

Chuck, I’m unclear about when the tunnel was actually removed, and can’t seem to find that info online. The tunnel probably cost too much to maintain! I kind of agree with you, it’s nice to have some undeveloped land along the river; the old canoe landing seems to work just fine, I wonder why they wanted to move it?

Penna. Andrew, if I have time today, I might try to put together a comparison of these photos versus the way it looks now.

Matthew said...

Your hangman's gallows are actually concealing a large metal grate that was raised, using those three round pulleys, to remove trash and other debris from the river. Maintenance would periodically come over raise the grate and clean it with rakes (high tech stuff).

Remember too that there is a large pump system that would begin or end (depending on your view of it) in the Rivers of America. It would pump water up to the Motor Boat cruise, it would flow under ground to Storybookland, underground again to the castle moat, then down river to Frontierlnad, and Adventureland where it would enter the Jungle Cruise right there by the Tahitian Terrace and in the old days it would flow above ground back to the Rivers of America. When New Orleans Square was added... that tributary was then put underground.

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

PS Thanks Chris Lamberth for confirming my memory of it!

K. Martinez said...

I miss the Keel Boats too.

JG said...

Blogger ate my earlier post, so I will try again.

I had forgotten the sheep or goats, thanks for the link to the old post, Major. I have no memory of these from youth.

The ledge they are standing on is more visible from this photo angle, about 90 degrees further around the clock face from the more commonly viewed side with the big waterfall.

@Matthew, that's the famous "dark water" system that I have read about, that location was the pump intake then? Next stop Motorboats!

I certainly miss the keelboats and the escape tunnel. Hit my head on the "rocks" in that tunnel many a time.

Thanks Major.

JC Shannon said...

A great day on the river. I am liking the Keel Boats, they are a great addition to the ROA. The river illusion benefited greatly from the boats. I loved 'em and I miss'em. Thanks Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Matthew, gosh, I guess I never thought about it, but the river must have had its share of trash thrown (or blown) into it. Sounds like the grate was similar to the kind you might find next to a swimming pool. Thanks to “The E-Ticket Magazine”, I know all about the dark water system! Man, do I miss that publication. I appreciate your helpful comment!

K. Martinez, it would be amazing if they brought back even one Keelboat. I’ll bet it would be super popular too!

JG, those goats (or sheep) were only there for a year, no more than two years, before they were removed, so you would have to remember all the way back to around 1962-ish. I also hit my head on those Tom Sawyer Island rocks, and scuffed various pieces of me on the sides of the caves. Painful!

Jonathan, Mr. X swears that he had no premonition that the Keelboats would go away so soon, but I’m sure glad that he took so many pictures of it.