Photo by Park Troopers on Unsplash
There’s nothing like a trip to the Magic Kingdom. It’s an experience that leaves many visitors full of nostalgia. I, for one, vividly remember riding 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. That was a ride I had hoped to experience again, perhaps with my own children. Alas, that was not to be. Like many theme park rides and attractions, it was eventually replaced.
In the spirit of remembering the Walt Disney World water rides of our youth, we’ve collected videos of five that no longer exist. Take a trip down memory lane with us as we review them one by one.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1971 – 1994)
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was basically the same ride as Disneyland’s Submarine Voyae, except it was based on the book by Jules Verne, and the ride narration was done by “Captain Nemo.” In the 1990’s, it was closed for refurbishing, which sadly never happened.
Mike Fink Keelboats (1971 – 2001)
A well-know boat driven by a well-known character from Davy Crockett was a hit attraction for Disneyland when it opened, and thus was included in the opening attractions for Walt Disney World. As time went by, Mr. Fink’s keelboat fell into disrepair and was no longer used.
Plaza Swan Boats (1973 – 1983)
The Swan Boats were unique water jet powered boats that took passengers on a scenic trip around Walt Disney World’s Cinderella’s Castle, Swiss Family Treehouse, and The Crystal Palace. The first couple of minutes in the following home video features a ride on these once majestic boats.
1975 Super8 Magic Kingdom Swan Boats and more – HD Restored Film from RetroWDW on Vimeo.
As you can see, the Plaza Swan Boats are not to be confused with the newer Swan Paddle Boats that can be seen at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.
Admiral Joe Fowler Riverboat (1971 – 1980)
The Admiral Joe Fowler Riverboat was one of two riverboats to tread the waters of Walt Disney World’s waterways. It was named in honor Admiral Joe Fowler, who after retiring from the Navy in 1948, worked as a construction overseer at Disneyland. Unfortunately, this memorable riverboat met its demise in 1980 when its hull was damaged and unrepairable.
The following video details a ride on the Liberty Belle Riverboat, which is an identical boat to the Admiral Joe Fowler Riverboat and travels the same route. It remains in operation today.
This leads us to another confusion to avoid. The Admiral Joe Fowler Ferry Boat is a boat currently in use to ferry visitors across the Seven Seas Lagoon. It is not the same boat that was decommissioned in 1980.
Walt Disney World/Epcot Center’s Maelstrom (1988 – 2014)
Maelstrom was a unique log flume-like boat ride that took its passengers through a darkened tunnel of Norwegian mythology and landscapes. It was re-imagined in 2014 as a trip through the animated film Frozen.
Which Walt Disney World water rides do you miss the most? Share with us in the comments below.