Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Magic Kingdom - The Liberty Belle Riverboat

My last post was about everything on Tom Sawyer Island....let's now take a ride around the island aboard the Magic Kingdom's steamboat, the Liberty Belle.

Get ready for some more ugly gray skies! At this point in the day, it even started to drizzle a little.

I took the picture of the Liberty Belle above, for a photo comparison to the vintage shot below of the Admiral Joe Fowler. I had posted the vintage pic previously in my Steamboats of the Magic Kingdom post from last year. (That post also included information about when the two different steamboats were in service and the different names that have been assigned to them over the years.) You can see in the photo below how WDW loads their guests onto the second level of the boat, but has them disembark on the lower level.

Before we begin our ride, here's one more photo comparison using a vintage shot that I have not previously posted. Unfortunately, I didn't stand back as far as I should have for the current shot.

Here's the vintage "yesterday" shot from 1975. The whitewashed fence that we saw in my last post can be seen across the river in both of the pictures. And that's Aunt Polly's restaurant on the right. As a reader commented in the last post, Aunt Polly's is now closed and abandoned with just some vending machines placed in front of it. Sad!

Okay, now we're ready for the ride. We have grabbed a spot on the second level and at the rear of the boat. From here we can see the Haunted Mansion and part of the old Keelboat landing on the far right.

Here's the view looking down at the paddle wheel.

And the view looking back at the two-level boat dock and Liberty Square.

Most of the guests went upstairs to the top level!

Now were passing Frontierland and two empty Tom Sawyer Island rafts. one loaded with happy WDW guests.

I believe this next area is what's left of WDW's old Canoe dock, but someone please correct me if I'm wrong. I wish I knew more when it comes to WDW history! By the time I made it to the Magic Kingdom for the first time, the Canoes had already been removed from the park. :-(

Big Thunder is up ahead!

WDW's Rivers of America has these river markers in the water every so many yards. Each one has a sign with the name of that portion of the river. This sign reads, "Twin River Bend."

We're looking back here, so we have just passed Potter's Mill on Tom Sawyer Island and that structure in front of it is Huck's Landing.

There's the suspension bridge that we saw in my last post and off in the distance is another view of the old Keel Boat dock.

BIG THUNDER STRIKES! (Anyone else remember that television commercial from 1979 when Big Thunder opened at Disneyland?)

A side view of Fort Langhorn....

Some flora and fauna....there's one of those birds that I like so much!

The structure formerly known as "The Burning Cabin."

Here's a closer look. I believe Tokyo Disneyland is the only park with an actively "burning" cabin now. At least it was still burning when I visited last year.

The "backside" of Big Thunder.

The Magic Kingdom's train passes over this trestle. I have been wondering where this tributary of the river goes, so I checked out a satellite view of the park and it showed it leading around the west side of the park and opening up into the Seven Seas Lagoon out in front of the park. I think it's interesting that the two bodies of water are connected. I'm guessing that the bridge can pivot on that large support on the right in order to allow watercraft to get by. Does anyone know for sure if that's the case?

Here's Beacon Joe and his dog Rufus just hanging out at "Alligator Swamp." We saw Beacon Joe (or his identical cousin) in a Tokyo Disneyland post of mine from last year.

If you check out that earlier post (here), you can then click on a link to a post by Dave of Daveland showing how this same guy shows up in both Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion! He really gets around!

According to the river marker, this is "Deer Crossing Shallows."

A native dwelling....

....and some moose.

Now we're coming upon a friendly Native American village.

Attention Major Pepperidge: Look there by that tree! A papoose has been left all by itself out in the sun. Where's a Ronco food dehydrator when you need one? Of course, you'd also need an electric outlet to plug it in.

Here's something that used to be visible along Disneyland's Rivers of America. A body all wrapped up and prepared for burial.....or would it be for cremation?

This keel boat sits just outside of a cave on the island. It looks too small however to have been one of the actual boats used for the Keel Boat attraction.

Now we're on the other side of Fort Langhorn. The exit from the fort's secret escape tunnel can be seen just to the right of that guy leaning against the rocks.

Here's one more look at the island's suspension bridge.

And now we are approaching the dock.

I hope everyone enjoyed this ride aboard the Liberty Belle!


Major Pepperidge said...

It took me a while to get used to sun-dried baby, but now I'm hooked! Thanks for all of these wonderful photos of the WDW river with so many details. Look at that Liberty Belle steamboat, what a beauty. It's nice to know that it will always be there (!!!). I like the fact that the train crosses water, too bad they didn't plan that at Disneyland. If that bridge does turn, it would be cool to see a photo of that. They certainly designed a lot of neat stuff to see, and I can only hope that the "rumors" we've been hearing aren't true (even though they probably are).

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Hey great trip on the Liberty Bell, thanks so much, it was closed on my visit (just like the Island) so your virtual tour really helps me to understand the layout.

Neat that they load passengers on the second deck and exit from the first deck.

That train bridge is cool, when I saw it back in 2008 I did the same thing, Google Earthed that waterway and saw the same thing you did, its all connected!!!!

Awesome WDW posts, grey skies and all, heck it rained half the time I was there!

JG said...

I did enjoy my ride, thank you.

Interesting to compare. I have only seen Disneyland, after all.


Dan Alexander said...

I love all the outdoor animated characters at the Magic Kingdom. How do they survive the extreme Florida weather?!?

Snow White Archive said...

Another enjoyable ride. From the sound of it, Beacon Joe sure does get around. He's got a good life, doesn't even have to pay for an annual pass!

By the way, the large white heron-like bird is a Great Egret (or if you happen to have a strong southern accent, it's a Greaty-Grit). Note the yellow bill.

The smaller ones you might see around are Snowy Egrets with black bills.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, yeah....let's hope that it will always be there (and operating!)

VDT, it's always been open when I've visited, but as with Tom Sawyer Island, this was actually my first time on it. Now I'm sorry I didn't check out both of them sooner.

JG, thanks for riding!

Dan, I was kind of wondering the same thing. I would think that even the figures on the island (in the blacksmith shop) would be exposed to a lot of moisture. Maybe they do okay because they are just limited motion figures like on the Jungle Cruise and not super high tech? I don't think Lincoln or his fellow presidents would survive being outdoors....even if they were under a cover.

SWS, thanks for the info on the birds. If I was an egret, I would want to live in the Magic Kingdom!

steve2wdw said...

The train tressle over the water does indeed swing open....when the riverboat goes in for major rehab, it is taken to the boatyard north of the Contemporary on Bay Lake, where it is lifted out of the water. This is where the first riverboat (the Admiral Joe Fowler) met it's maker...As the boat was being lifted, it was dropped (or the sling broke) resulting in a broken-unfixable- hull. I've heard that the bell on the Tokyo Mark Twain is the original Fowler bell.
A note about the unused dock. At one point the dock along side Big Thunder was the location for the canoe dock. It was later turned into the dock for the Keel Boats.

TokyoMagic! said...

Steve, thank you for that info about the train bridge and about the Canoe dock!