Mike Fink Keel Boats

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Mike Fink Keel Boats
Disneyland
Area Frontierland
Status Closed
Opening date December 25, 1955
Closing date May 17, 1997
Magic Kingdom
Area Liberty Square
Status Closed
Opening date October 1, 1971
Closing date April 29, 2001
Disneyland Park (Paris)
Area Frontierland
Status Operating
Opening date April 12, 1992
General statistics
Vehicle names Disneyland: Gullywhumper, Bertha Mae
Magic Kingdom: Gullywhumper, Bertha Mae
Disneyland Park (Paris): Raccoon, Coyote

Mike Fink Keel Boats were small boats that navigated the Rivers of America at Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World Resort. An identical attraction called River Rogue Keel Boats still exists at Disneyland Park in Disneyland Paris.

History[edit]

The Mike Fink Keel Boats were based on the Walt Disney television shows, later made into feature length movies, Davy Crockett's Keel Boat Race and Davy Crockett and the River Pirates. The boats were free-floating and traveled around Tom Sawyer Island. Yet, the ride was named after the "King of the River" who lost the keel boat race.

People would sit inside the seating area inside one of the boats with a roof on the top where more people could sit also. This was the design issue that caused it to close. On the inside, guests could watch full episodes of Walt Disney's Davy Crockett.

The keelboats at Disneyland closed at the end of the summer on September 6, 1994 and remained closed for nearly a year-and-a-half until coming back in early March 1996. The Magic Kingdom's keel boats ran continuously until they finally closed in April 2001.

Reasons for closing[edit]

At about 5:30 p.m. on May 17, 1997, the Disneyland Gullywhumper boat began to rock side to side. It capsized, dumping a full boatload of passengers into the Rivers of America, leaving several with minor injuries. The boat was removed from the waters for inspection and neither the Gullywhumper nor the Bertha Mae returned for the next operating season. The Bertha Mae was put up on Disney's eBay Auction Site and was sold for $15,000 to Richard Kraft, and was later featured in a scene from Kraft's documentary Finding Kraftland. It was billed as an unseaworthy craft.

The Gullywhumper returned to Disneyland's Rivers of America as a prop and was moored on Tom Sawyer Island where passengers on the Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes, the Sailing Ship Columbia, and the Mark Twain Riverboat could see it while passing. Eventually, hull damage caused the boat to flood and sink, and it was finally removed from public view in April 2009. A replica that looks more like a keel boat was built.

A former Mike Fink Keel Boat from the Magic Kingdom's version of the attraction today sits as a non-functional prop on the banks of Tom Sawyer Island.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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