Walt Dated World
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Mike Fink Keel Boats
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 boats would sail around Tom Sawyer Island, to view scenery around the Rivers of America.
The boats operated sporadically until May 17, 1997. One of the Keelboats at Disneyland capsized that same year and probably led to 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 they still operate sometimes at Disneyland Paris under the name 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.
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