Maybe its just because I went to Dixieland Band camp as a teenager, but whatever the reason, I love the Mark Twain Riverboat. It big, its white and its full of steam, which makes it my kind of boat. Its also number 3* in this weeks countdown.
Walking through the gates of Frontierland, my one-track mind often turns to this opening day attraction. While the Mark Twain technically belongs to Frontierland, its unifying power is unlike any other attraction in the park. (Submarines, I’m looking at you.) As ridiculous as it might sound, out of all the things I love about the Mark Twain, its ability to live in two different lands with such grace and ease is my favorite. The powers of the Twain are as mighty as the rivers it navigates and as unifying as the jammy-goodness in the finest of Monte Cristo sandwiches.
Only Disney can take park visitors in a single day from the marvels of the future, to the wildest of African Jungles to a land of fantasy where magical boys dance with wooden legs while curious little girls munch on mushrooms. (And don’t forget the toad that drives a car or the hundreds of glassy eyed dolls whose intoxicating chant haunts every last nook and cranny of one’s soul for endless days, nay, years to come.) While in their own separate lands, all of Disney’s creations live together in perfect harmony but try dropping off Dumbo at Splash Mountain or beaming Buzz Lightyear over to Mr. Lincoln. It just doesn’t work.
While its 5/8th’s frame is confined to an unending riversome loop, with every turn around the island, the Mark Twain is the perfect blend of a little bit of Dixie, and a little bit of Country all in one beautiful floating package. It’s not hard to imagine Davy Crockett and Louie Armstrong kicking back a couple of mint juleps as they sailed down the Rivers of America together. Where else in Disneyland can buckskin pants, red and white striped shirts and both straw and coonskin caps intermingle? Only on the Mark Twain.
It’s the spirit of the Twain tooting, “All here are welcome” that brings these two lands together. (That and the fact that there were steamboats in both the old West and 19th century New Orleans.) Like Switzerland to the United Nations, home base in a game of freeze tag, or the library at lunchtime for high school mathletes, band geeks and stage monkeys alike, the Mark Twain is Disneyland’s steamy sanctuary. Keeper of the peace and the number 3 spot on this countdown –we salute you mighty Twain in all of your paddleboat, unifying glory.
*Note – today’s third choice was going to be the Haunted Mansion, but when you’re on a podcast with Chef Mayhem, forget it – I couldn’t begin do that attraction justice. Check out Jeff’s new book at doombuggies.com for a proper ode to our favorite Mansion.