I've never been on Columbia in the 15+ times I've been to Disneyland. Does Columbia serve any other purpose than as part of Fantasmic!? I would like to ride on it someday and visit the museum. Does it come out when Mark Twain is in "dry-dock"?
I went on it Sat. for the first time during MiceChat's Gumball Rally. I always avoid it for some reason (or I just prefer Mark Twain or the canoes), but it was nice to do something different.
So yes, it runs. But on slow days, it takes turns with the Mark Twain running, in my experience. One is docked all day, the other runs. In the past, I've usually seen the Columbia docked, but on Monday it was the Mark Twain.
Mark Twain can go faster. It has the added flexibility of boiler ratings which help boost its speed (there is a FANTASMIC! speed setting on the boat). That, and the Mark Twain has a booster propeller to help it go just a bit faster.
Fantasmic! allows Columbia to be onstage for 20 more seconds than the Mark Twain, but under normal operating conditions, they move at around the same speed.
I rode on it today. I prefer it over the Mark Twain and hope it comes out of the dock more often. Also, I went to the Aladdin show but was distracted by one of the Harem girls - she must be the loudest singer because of her lungs. Couldn't pay attention to the rest of the show.