Disappearing Attractions – River Boats of the World
Welcome to vanished attractions. This week, we’re kicking off the new year with one of Disneyland’s most fleeting attractions.
Going through The edge
Christmas is now behind us, and I hope you were able to treat yourself to some lovely gifts. I’m sure at least one person reading this has picked up some nice Lego sets and maybe someone was even lucky enough to pick up the Millenium Falcon set which was Lego’s biggest set when it debuted in 2017. It’s since been overtaken by two other sets, but it’s still impressive. Seeing these sets makes me want to take a trip to Legoland to see all the minilands they have there. These representations of mini monuments, both real and fictitious, always amaze me with their attention to detail and their little hysterical touches. But of course the Danish company didn’t start the mini-pitch trend, one of the earliest examples being Madurodam in the Netherlands.
Going through Netherlands Tourism
This small park opened in 1952 and allowed visitors to see miniature versions of Dutch landmarks. Walt Disney heard about the park on his travels and was particularly enthralled by the idea, as plans began to fall into place for Disneyland, Walt sought to create a Lilliputian land where guests would have the chance to see miniatures of a city complete with little working animatronics going about their daily lives.
Originally, Walt wanted guests to experience Lilliputian land with a guided tour and mini train ride, both considered at times, but eventually plans had to be changed and the vehicle was adapted. on a boat trip. . But the major change was that the city idea was scrapped because it was basically impossible at the time to create the level of sophistication that Walt wanted from animatronics. The idea then pivoted to look more like Madurodam and focus on miniature versions of landmarks around the world.
Going through Duchess of Disneyland
With this idea in mind, the Canal Boats of the World opened with Disneyland on July 17, 1955 and the photo above illustrates the major problem with the land, the world portion of the boat ride was non-existent. They ran out of money as they finished the park, but decided to open the attraction without the models there for some reason. As you can see there were only mounds of dirt in the area so when it rained the banks tended to scramble which gave rise to the affectionate name, the Mud Bank Ride, which some members of distribution were using.
But that wasn’t the only problem with the rides, as some of the boats had very bad motors that easily overheated and stopped moving, requiring cast members to physically drag the boats along the way. While I’m sure it was great for their arm strength, it was probably terrible for their mental well-being.
I can’t help but think of the outrage if an attraction had opened in this kind of shape these days. Obviously this is a different situation as the park as a whole was opening and it was the first of its kind but yet to promise houseboats in the World and then only have land banks? Let’s just say I’d be pretty pissed off.
Fortunately, Disney was quick to realize this was a problem, so they closed the Canal Boats of the World on September 15, 1955 for a major renovation, effectively (and arguably) making the attraction the Disneyland’s first extinct attraction. When it reopened a year later, the attraction was basically completely new with story scenes based on Disney movies, becoming the Storybook Land Canal Boats. Basically it was a glow to the most extreme degree and it couldn’t have happened sooner because even two months of its original iteration was unacceptable for a park trying to showcase the quality of the highest level. This is perhaps the only change made to the park where there were no hard feelings at all because it was essentially a completion of the attraction more than anything else and who could be mad about that?
Going through your tango
As always, be sure to check out my interactive maps of Disney Parks over the years where you can watch or learn more about all the attractions of all the Disney parks in the world.
Thanks for reading and have a magical day!
Cole Geryak is a childless millennial making his way across the world. He rode all the Disneyland rides in one day, while wearing a shirt and tie. Imagination is his middle name and his heart truly lies in the parks.