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  1. #16

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    Re: August 15, 2008: Motor Boat Cruise

    I rode the motorboats on every trip. I remember the Gummi Bear addition, there was audio installed next to each cut out and the cut outs wished for gummiberri juice which was sold somewhere near the exit.

    At night, the amber lights (on the hoods of the front of the boats) were on and the motorboat cruise had a romantic feel to it at night with colored lights here and there near the bubbling rapids. Lots of couples rode in the evening and cast members seemed to be absent under the bridges, and one did not feel watched during the ride. I saw one guest jump from his boat to a friends boat due to lack of supervision.

    My father-in-law says he remembered when they opened, that the lines for the motor boats were too long for what they offered.

    In the last days of the boats, I found the lines to be very short and they moved pretty quickly since there were plenty of boats circling on the tracks. I liked the left/north side versus the other side as it seemed there was just a little more track to cover. This was a family friendly ride. simple and fun.

    Triton

  2. #17

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    Re: August 15, 2008: Motor Boat Cruise

    This is one of the attractions I miss most, actually, as it was a favorite of my brother and I when we were kids. At 8 years old, I didn't realize that the steering wheel didn't do anything - I was happy just to PRETEND I was steering.

    This, along with attractions like the Skyway and the Peoplemover, are one of the things that's sorely missing from from today's Disneyland - relaxed attractions. Something you can do with the whole family, that isn't about telling a story or engaging in thrills; one of the best parts about the Motor Boats was that there WASN'T any story to pay attention to. You just took in the scenery, chatted with your family members, and enjoyed a relaxing trip. Today, the only thing we really have left from that style of attraction would be the Storybook Land Canal Boats / Casey Jr., and even those don't REALLY lend themselves to that "relaxing" style of ride.

    Don't get me wrong - I love my Pirates and my Space Mountain and all those types of attractions; I just feel like there's a market for "relaxing experience" types of attractions that is being sorely neglected lately.

  3. #18

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    Re: August 15, 2008: Motor Boat Cruise

    Quote Originally Posted by Triton View Post
    I rode the motorboats on every trip. I remember the Gummi Bear addition, there was audio installed next to each cut out and the cut outs wished for gummiberri juice which was sold somewhere near the exit.

    At night, the amber lights (on the hoods of the front of the boats) were on and the motorboat cruise had a romantic feel to it at night with colored lights here and there near the bubbling rapids. Lots of couples rode in the evening and cast members seemed to be absent under the bridges, and one did not feel watched during the ride. I saw one guest jump from his boat to a friends boat due to lack of supervision.

    My father-in-law says he remembered when they opened, that the lines for the motor boats were too long for what they offered.

    In the last days of the boats, I found the lines to be very short and they moved pretty quickly since there were plenty of boats circling on the tracks. I liked the left/north side versus the other side as it seemed there was just a little more track to cover. This was a family friendly ride. simple and fun.

    Triton
    Wait, I thought there was onlt one track. Were there two? Did they cover different paths or was it just split loading?
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  4. #19

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    Re: August 15, 2008: Motor Boat Cruise

    Yes indeed, there were two tracks. Each track served one side of the dock. They did not connect anywhere. Both tracks basically did the same thing, take you out towards the sub lagoon and then bring you back to the same dockside you disembarked from. I have video of the ride which I treasure.

    Triton

  5. #20

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    Re: August 15, 2008: Motor Boat Cruise

    One of my first rides at the park with my Dad. My mom and Aunt were in the boat behind us. Never rode it again from then on.

    It was always down when we went after that.

    It really is too bad Fantasia Gardens become a smoking section. I enjoyed taking a break there.
    1st Amendment-Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

  6. #21

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    Re: August 15, 2008: Motor Boat Cruise

    Thank you for posting this, you are now my hero!


    I loved this ride but the funny thing is that I only remember riding it once, with my aunt.

  7. #22

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    Re: August 15, 2008: Motor Boat Cruise

    For a company as uber wealthy as The Disney company is, how is it that there are sections of the park that sit as derelict sections at all? How can a president of a park like DL just walk by the peoplemover (still there), flight to the moon (still there behind the pizza dough machine) and the boats etc and do nothing? Tunnels, a little theming, the boats could be a charmer again!

  8. #23

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    Re: August 15, 2008: Motor Boat Cruise

    Gummi Glen! I remember that!

    They also had to fill up most of the water so they can have emergency exit paths from the caves of FNSV. Now the river doesn't go far at all because of that.

    I loved the Motor Boat Cruise but there is no way it can come back now with that new path backstage.
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  9. #24

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    Re: August 15, 2008: Motor Boat Cruise

    The Motor Boat Cruise - what memories! Back in 1957 I was a ride operator on the original Motor Boat Cruise. If you refer to old photos of Tomorrowland you will see the Motor Boat Cruise with the Viewliner train running along one side with the Midget Autopia across the way. At that time the ride had a curved covered (for the guests) loading area. The ride operators wore white sailor pants, white and blue stripped tee shirt and white captain's cap. It was summer and very hot. There were two courses for the boats as in the later version that narrowed down to one track through the loading area. The track system was different in that it consisted of two pipe rails for each channel except, as noted before, in the loading area. Under the boats were three rollers - one at the bow and the other two at the back corners. These rollers when making contact with the pipe rails, kept the boats on track - sort of, as you will read later. The boats could acually be steered as there was enough space between the rails to allow a driver to turn the boat slighty. There was a large open water area at the back of the ride where the boats made a large circular turnaround. Then they came back through the rock and rapids area as the later version did. Ride operators did not enjoy the luxury of the air controlled gates at each load position as the later version used. Instead ride operators had long aluminum poles with a wire cable loop at the end of it. The boat engines were always going and the operator would hook the loop over the cleat at the bow of the boat as it came into the station, follow it to the first open space, and through shear strength stop the boat until the guests disembarked and the next riders were safely seated before unhooking the loop and letting the boat go on its way. As I recall there were underwater gates at the start and finish that would direct the boats alternatingly to Channel l or Channel 2. The loaders lined up on the dock to catch their boats and bring them to a stop. It took some strength to hold the boats during the load/unload process and new operators ended up with blisterned hands until their hands toughened up. We felt in good shape with all that physical labor to run the ride. Now the plot thickens--what we found early on was that of course the guests had no idea how the boats were controlled under the murky water. Since there was a little steering between the rails, one guest would try to bump their buddy in the next lane. Of course he couldn't do it, but steering against the rail slowed the boat down and if it was held too long the next boat in that channel would nose up along side the rear of the slowed boat and they would get locked between the rails. I hope you can visualize what I just wrote as it caused endless problems. When this happened to boats in the outside lane, they could sometimes be separated from the bank with the poles. However, if it happened in the inside lane or at the back turnaround, we found that the only thing we could do was to jump into the water and wade out to the jammed boats. Of course this felt good on a hot day and then we would go to Wardrobe for a dry costume. This got so bad that we finally didn't bother to get dry clothes because we were going in so often. The water was probably 3 feet but at the rear turnaround it was about 4-1/2 feet. I was 5'-8" and it came up to my armpits. Many riders thought this was funny, but small children tended to panic particularly when we might have 4 or 5 boats all jammed together back there far from the shore. It was a routine we were all familiar with as we gave our wallet to a cast member while we jumped into the water. It got so bad at one time that one of the crew said he had lifeguard training and asked if he could wear his swim trunks and station himself in the turnaround area. That was done through some of the summer until one day the Grounds crew treated the water at the top of the system that runs through the park and since this attraction was just below the source, the crew member in the water broke out with a rash from the water treatment. That was the end of stationing a cast member in the water for a long period of time. During all this I remember writing a letter to Joe Fowler telling him of the problem we were having with the ride, as no one seemed to come and watch what we were going through. I think I became a Jungle Bunny the next year and I think it was 1959 that the Matterhorn, Monorail, and Submarines all opened up the same year, and the Motorboat Cruise was changed to the new system. Just think of what is entailed with opening an attractiion, particularly a large attraction. I still find it hard to think of how they opened three very large and complex attractions at the same time. I was a Tour Guide at that time and became a V.I.P. host that day, but that is another story. Thanks Werner for jarring my memory.

    Glowman

  10. #25

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    Re: August 15, 2008: Motor Boat Cruise

    The Motor Boat Cruise - what memories! Back in 1957 I was a ride operator on the original Motor Boat Cruise. If you refer to old photos of Tomorrowland you will see the Motor Boat Cruise with the View Liner running along one side with the Midget Autopia across the way. At that time the ride had a curved covered (for the guests) loading area. The ride operators had the white sailor pants, white and blue stripped tee shirt and white captain's cap. It was summer and very hot. There were two courses for the boats as in the later version that narrowed down to one track through the loading area. The track system was different in that it consisted of two rails for each channel except, as noted before, in the loading area. Under the boats were three roller - one at the bow and the other two at the back corners. These rollers when making contact with the pipe rails, kept the boats on track - sort of, as you will read later. The boats could acually be steered as there was enough space between the rails to allow a driver to turn the boat slighty. There was a large open water area at the back of the ride where the boats made a large circular turnaround. Then they came back through the rock and rapids area as the later version did. Ride operators did not enjoy the luxury of the air controlled gates at each load position as the later version used. Instead ride operators had long aluminum poles with a wire cable loop at the end of it. The boat engines were always going and the operator would hook the loop over the cleat at the bow of the boat as it came into the station follow it to the first open space and through shear strength stop the boat until the guests disembarked and the next riders were safely seated before unhooking the look and letting the boat go on its way. As I recall there were underwater gates at the start and finish that would direct the boats alternatingly to Channel l or Channel 2. The loaders lined up on the dock to catch their boats and bring them to a stop. It took some strength to hold the boats during the load/unload process and new operators ended up with blisterned hands until their hands toughened up. We felt in good shape with all that physical labor to run the ride. Now the plot thickens--what we found early on was that of course the guests had no idea how the boats were controlled under the murky water. Since there was a little steering between the rails, one guest would try to bump their buddy in the next lane. Of course he couldn't do it, but in steering against the rail slowed the boat down and if it was held too long the next boat in that channel would nose up along sideh the rear of the slowed boat and they would get locked between the rails. I hope you can visualize what I just wrote as it caused endless problems. When this happened to boats in the outside land, they could sometimes be separated from the bank with the poles. However, if it happened in the inside lane or at the back turnaround, we found that the only thing we could do was to jump into the water and wade out to the jammed boats. Of course this felt good on a hot day and then we would go to Wardrobe for a dry costume. This got so bad that we finally didn't bother to get dry clothes because we were going in so often. The water was probably 3 feet but at the rear turnaround it was about 4-1/2 feet. I was 5'-8" and it came up to my armpits. Many riders thought this was funny, but small children tended to panic particularly when we might have 4 or 5 boats all jammed together back there far from the shore. It was a routine we were all familiar with as we gave our wallet to a cast member while we jumped into the water. It got so bad at one time that one of the crew said he had lifeguard training and asked if he could wear his swim trunks and station himself in the turnaround area. That was done through some of the summer until one day the Grounds crew treated the water at the top of the system that runs through the park and since this attraction was just below the source, the crew member in the water broke out with a rash from the water treatment. That was the end of stationing a cast member in the water for a long period of time. During all this I remember writing a letter to Joe Fowler telling him of the problem we were having with the ride, as no one seemed to come and watch what we were going through. I think I became a Jungle Bunny the next year and I think it was 1959 that the Matterhorn, Monorail, and Submarines all opened up the same year, and the Motorboat Cruise was changed to the new system. Just think of what is entailed with opening an attractiion, particularly a large attraction. I still find it hard to think of how they opened three very large and complex attractions at the same time. I was a tour Guide at that time and became a V.I.P. host that day, but that is another story. Thanks Werner for jarring my memory.

  11. #26

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    Re: August 15, 2008: Motor Boat Cruise

    Glowman, Thanks so much for some early park memories.

  12. #27

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    Re: August 15, 2008: Motor Boat Cruise

    Quote Originally Posted by glowman View Post
    The boats could acually be steered as there was enough space between the rails to allow a driver to turn the boat slighty.
    Perhaps things changed from the early version you worked on, glowman. When I rode it (probably in '67 or so?) the steering wheel did nothing but spin on a central bolt. Very disappointing!

  13. #28

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    Re: August 15, 2008: Motor Boat Cruise

    Yes, danyoung, I was writing about the original Motor Boat Cruise which I suspect opened before you were born. In 1959 when the Submarine Voyage, Matterhorn Bobsleds, and the Alweg Monorail opened, the ride was changed to a double loading system with channels on both sides of the straight loading dock. Each channel had loading/unloading positions where gates held the boats until the operators released them. The underwater pipe guide system was replaced with channels where horizontal wheels under the front and back of the boats would ride guiding the boats through the course. This eliminated the steering which, as you pointed out, would only spin if the driver tried to use it. This system solved the problems of the original system, but lost appeal to those that wanted to steer their boats. Low ridership finally closed it down. The loading building is still there today across from the Matterhorn Bobsleds where guests can sit and watch the birds.

    Glowman

  14. #29

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    Re: August 15, 2008: Motor Boat Cruise

    Very interesting, glowman. I didn't know the boats were once steerable. Thanks for the info!

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