Haunted Mansion Wiki
Advertisement

Disneyland's Mark Twain passing by Big Thunder Mountain.

The Mark Twain Riverboat (originally Mark Twain Steamboat) is an attraction at Disneyland, Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disneyland. It is connected to the lore of Phantom Manor and the Haunted Mansion.

Description

The riverboat is an attraction for guests to ride on and explore the interiors of. It is modelled after a steam paddlewheel riverboat and made to tie in with a 19th/early-20th century environment.

The riverboat takes its name from American writer, Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910) better known under his pen-name of Mark Twain. Notable books by Twain include: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper, The Mysterious Stranger, Life on the Mississippi, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Mark Twain's books are directly homaged at Disney Parks by the boat and by Tom Sawyer Island (which in Disneyland was originally designed by Walt Disney himself).

The Attraction

Disneyland

The boat-ride takes you on a journey through the, Rivers of America. First guests go from Frontier Landing in Frontierland's fictional town of Rainbow Ridge past the city of New Orleans as, "Down in New Orleans" from the Princess and the Frog (2008) plays. Following this, the riverboat passes through Critter Country where the character of Br'er Frog from the Uncle Remus stories explains the story of Splash Mountain. The riverboat then passes by a cabin on Tom Sawyer Island belonging to the legendary river-man Mike Fink with the captain believing he must be visiting with frontiersmen Davy Crockett and George Russel.

Guests are then greeted by a waving Lakota chief along the river-banks and go past the Lakota settlement where a shaman is telling his people a story about the creation of the flute. The river goes on to see wildlife on Tom Sawyer Island as the captain talks about how Sawyer always wanted to by a pirate, followed by audio of Sawyer himself exclaiming this. After this the ships enter the Rio Grande with Big Thunder Mountain in the distance and the captain explaining the story behind the haunted railroads as guests are treated to sights such as Big Thunder Falls with the Disneyland Railroad passing overtop.

During the nighttime show of Fantasmic!, the Mark Twain Riverboat is used to represent the Steamboat Willie (from the 1928 animated Disney short of the same name) and is helmed by a rubber-hose style Mickey Mouse with approximately 50 Disney and Pixar characters on-board performing a ribbon dance.

Disneyland Paris (Thunder Mesa Riverboats)

The Paris riverboat being pulled by a giant reaper during the Halloween season. c. 2003

This version of the attraction takes guests on a guided boat-ride through Rivers of the Far West of Thunder Mesa. This park has two riverboats; one being the Mark Twain and the other being the Molly Brown, named for the real-life Molly Brown two gained a reputation for being, "Unsinkable" after surviving the RMS Titanic in 1913.

During the years when Frontierland was seasonally redecorated as "Halloweenland", a giant grim reaper would tow the boat along the river.

Tokyo Disneyland

Connections

The Haunted Mansion (Disneyland)

The Mark Twain passes by the Haunted Mansion where the guide makes comments about the people of New Orleans telling rumours and ghost-stories of the estate being haunted by 999 spirits, looking to even out their numbers.

Phantom Manor

The Mark Twain Riverboat as seen in a portrait in Phantom Manor's Stretching Room

In the lore of Phantom Manor, one of the suitors of Mélanie Ravenswood was a man named Captain Rowan D. Falls. Falls is identified in Thunder Mesa's lore as having been the captain of the Mark Twain Riverboat when he courted Mélanie up until his death at the hands of her father. The boat can be seen in a portrait in the Stretching Room.

Considering that the real-life Mark Twain didn't become a writer until the 1880s, it is likely that the riverboat went by a different name when Rowan was captain during the 1840s-1850s. It could also be possible that it was named Mark Twain coincidentally for reasons unrelated to Clemens' success as a writer.

Trivia

  • Walt Disney World's counterpart to the attraction is the Liberty Belle Riverboat of Liberty Square. This ride does go around the Haunted Mansion with the manor itself being located by the riverboat's docks. It identifies the manor as being built on Native American burial-grounds.
    • Liberty Square previously had two riverboats known respectively as the Admiral Joe Fowler and the Richard F. Irvine.
    • The audio for the ride has the riverboat being narrated by a young Sam Clemens and references his future work and pen-name.
Advertisement