Sailing Ship Columbia

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Sailing Ship Columbia
Disneyland Columbia Poster.png
Attraction poster
Disneyland
Area Frontierland
Status Operating
Opening date June 14, 1958
General statistics
Attraction type Sailing ship
Manufacturer Todd Shipyards
Designer Walt Disney Imagineering
Joe Fowler
Ray Wallace
Theme 18th Century sailing ship
Length 2,410 ft (730 m)
Participants per group 300
Duration 12 minutes
Must transfer from wheelchair
Assistive listening icon.svg Assistive listening available
The Sailing Ship Columbia.jpg
The ship sits in the Rivers of America
Class overview
Builders: Todd Shipyards
Operators: Disneyland Resort
General characteristics
Length: 110 ft overall. 83 ft 6 in on deck.
Beam: 27.25 ft.
Height: 76 ft.
Draft: 45 in.
Installed power: Detroit diesel engine (previously)
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) engine
Electric
Propulsion: 2 30" diameter, 18" pitch standard ship's propellers (Screws)
Speed: 1.3 knots
Capacity: ~300
Crew: Two to four
Notes: 97.5 tons

The Sailing Ship Columbia, located at the Disneyland park in Anaheim, California, is a full-scale replica of Columbia Rediviva, the first American ship to circumnavigate the globe. Its passengers embark on a scenic, 12-minute journey around the Rivers of America. When it was constructed in 1958, it was the first three-masted windjammer to have been built in the United States in more than 100 years. The Columbia has entertained park visitors for over fifty years, including its twenty-one year role as Captain Hook's pirate ship, the Jolly Roger, in the park's popular nighttime show, Fantasmic!.

Ride description[edit]

Passengers wait for the 84-foot-tall (26 m) ship, which departs every 25 minutes, inside a sheltered area called Frontier Landing, located in the Frontierland section of the park. The waiting area, which the 110-foot-long (34 m) Columbia shares with the Mark Twain Riverboat, is made to resemble a real dock, with cargo deliveries sharing space on the dock. Historic United States flags are displayed at the attraction's entrance.

Passengers board the full-scale replica of the original sailing ship Columbia by climbing steps, also known as the "brow", up onto the main deck. Once on board, they can visit a nautical museum below deck, which shows what life was like for the 1787 crew. In addition to the galley, pantry, dry stores, and sick bay, there are quarters for the crew, bosun and bosun's mate, first mate, captain, and surgeon.

Once the ship casts off, it begins its voyage around the Rivers of America. The ship, which has three masts and rigging but rarely unfurls its sails, is powered by a compressed natural gas engine. It runs along the same track as the Mark Twain, hidden by green dye in the water.

The captain provides a tongue-in-cheek running commentary as he calls orders to his crew, while recorded background music plays a selection of nautical songs, such as "Blow the Man Down". As the ship passes Fort Wilderness on Tom Sawyer Island, a Columbia cast member fires two 12-gauge blanks from one of the ship's ten cannons. The Fort also had a cannon that used to fire back.

The sailing ship Columbia operates only on the park's busiest days, or when the Mark Twain is not operating. The attraction usually opens at 11am and closes at dusk. On evenings when Fantasmic! is being performed, the ship, which plays the role of Captain Hook’s pirate ship in the show, will also close at dusk. When the ship is not operating, it is docked at Fowler's Harbor, near the Haunted Mansion attraction.

History[edit]

When Walt Disney decided that the Rivers of America needed more river traffic and wanted another large ship to join the Mark Twain, he asked Joe Fowler, who was Disneyland's construction supervisor and a former naval admiral, to pick a historic sailing ship for inspiration. After examining every maritime museum in the country, Fowler recommended the first American sailing ship to go around the world: the Columbia Rediviva. However, there is only one known picture in existence of the original windjammer. WED researchers used it, along with research materials from the Library of Congress, to design the Columbia.

Architect Ray Wallace was commissioned in 1957 to work with Fowler in creating the construction plans. The ship was constructed at Todd Shipyards in San Pedro, California, where the Mark Twain 's hull was built a few years earlier. After Fowler told Disney that it was customary to put a silver dollar under each mast before it was set, Disney personally put a silver dollar under each of the Columbia's three masts.

For the ship’s christening on June 4, 1958, Fowler was dressed as a sailing captain of the 18th century, while the Mousketeers appeared as his crew. Since then, the sailing ship Columbia has had many extensive refurbishments, but the only major change has been the addition of the crew quarters exhibit in 1964.

Accidents[edit]

On December 24, 1998, a cleat used to secure the ship to the dock tore loose, striking park visitors Luan Phi Dawson, 33, of Duvall, Washington and his wife in the head, as their son and grandchild and other park visitors looked on. A park employee was also injured. Dawson was declared brain dead two days later when his life support system was disconnected.[1]

Soundtrack[edit]

  • "Show Narration", 3:25
  • "Haul Boys Haul", 2:05
  • "Oh Johnny Come to Hilo", 2:30
  • "Song of the Fishes", 1:41
  • "Drunken Sailor", 1:51
  • "A Whale of a Tale", 1:44
  • "An American Frigate", 2:08
  • "Blow the Man Down", 2:12

Current songs (all vocals): Blow the Man Down, Clear the Track (Let the Bulgine Run), One More Day, Rolling Home and Song of the Fishes.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Bright, Randy. Disneyland:Inside Story. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. p. 141. ISBN 0-8109-0811-5. 

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Gale, Elaine; Kandel, Jason (1998-12-28). "Family Excitement Preceded Tragedy on Disneyland Dock". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-07-05. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°48′44″N 117°55′14″W / 33.81234°N 117.92062°W / 33.81234; -117.92062