The canoe ride at Disneyland opened in 1956
as part of Frontierlands Indian Village.
The ride was originally called the Indian War Canoes.
Real American Indian guides were on every canoe.
The canoes were lots of fun, participatory, and great for repeat visits.
The Indian Village closed in 1971, and the Indian War Canoes
became Davy Crocketts Explorer Canoes.
When the new land, Bear Country,
opened in 1972, Davy Crocketts Explorer Canoes ensured that the land
would have more than one ticketed attraction.
In 1989 Bear Country became Critter Country, and the canoe ride gained the
distinction of being the only single-location ride to be in three different lands
over the years.
(The Disneyland Railroad is in different lands only by virtue of having
Davy Crocketts Explorer Canoes operated on busier days only, primarily in
the summer and on weekends.
Even though Walt Disney World permanently closed their Explorer Canoes in 1994,
Disneyland continued to operate theirs.
But Disneylands Davy Crocketts Explorer Canoes closed suddenly on October 3,
1998, more than 42 years after the first guest-powered canoes plied
the Rivers of America.
The word among Disneyland cast members was that the canoes would not return.
Were the canoes gone forever, or were they just on loan to Yesterland for the
Fall, Winter and Spring seasons?
Following the closing, Disneyland Guest Relations assured callers that
the closing was seasonal, and that the canoes would be back for Summer 1999.
Many fans and cast members didnt expect to ever see the canoes again.
Their belief was that the canoes wouldnt return due to Disneyland managements
desire to increase profits by reducing expenses.
Each canoe requires two cast members, making the attraction expensive to
operate in relation to its capacity.
After all, the Submarine Voyage had just closed
for a similar reason.
The good news was that Disneyland Guest Relations was right, and canoes returned
in June 1999—and theyre still part of Disneyland more than a decade later.