Brian Martsolf (bigbrian_nc) wrote,
Brian Martsolf

An Unusual Thing I’m looking forward to seeing at Mousefest


When speaking of things to look forward to at Mousefest first, a few obvious things come to mind, enjoying the attractions of Walt Disney world is something almost all of us look forward to on any trip, but at Mousefest you get to take that to another level, enjoying these attractions with lots of other fans who “get it” when it comes to Walt Disney World. Perhaps the most obvious when it comes to mousefest is meeting those folks we’ve met online and in the parks over the years, this is certainly a highlight of any Mousefest trip for me! But, I have a few odd things on my list that, in some cases will overlap with those of others, but in other cases may be less common. For instance since there are so many of us in the Disney Fan community who enjoy sharing our trip photos on our web sites and blogs a lot of us will enjoy taking pictures we can use for just that purpose, and I have many favorite photo subjects, I also learn about new things at the resort form time to time and want to go take pictures of those things when I arrive. I have a lot of pictures of things like the monorails and the ships at WDW, and while I’m always looking for a new good angle on these those can be hard to find, so when something changes a bit it really catches my attention, this year a few of the old Animal Kingdom Discovery Island River Cruise vessels have be moved to the Seven Seas Lagoon / Bay Lake  complex and are now being used for fireworks cruises, so I’m not sue how often they are seen out in the daylight but at least a couple of Disney fans caught views of them this year, in fact I first became aware of this change because of a photo by Jason, the Disneygeek of, and with his gracious permission I’m re using his photo here:







 additionally one of my online friends Denise often takes WDW photos and shares them on her site too , and I got permission to share her image too:





Now you may notice from their photos that the ships have been re-christened, at Disney’s animal Kingdom the ships were named the Darting Dragonfly, Otter Nonsense, Leaping Lizard, Crocodile Belle, Hasty Hippo, now the Darting Dragonfly was the one being used as a character barge so I would bet that it might still remain at DAK, and I’m not sure as to how many of the other ships have been moved and renamed, but I really like the “retro” names they have given these two vessels, you see MAGIC KINGDOM I, was the original name of the ferryboat now named the Admiral Joe Fowler, while MAGIC KINGDOM II, was the original name of the ferryboat Richard F Irvine, now of course when the Magic Kingdom opened the Admiral Joe Fowler was the name of the dual stacked Steam Engine in Frontierland that resembled the Mark Twain steamship at Disneyland, but after that ship was damaged and retired in the early 80s’s and its companion on the Rivers of America the Single Stack Richard F. Irvine, was rechristened the Liberty Belle in the mid 1990s it was decided to re-name the ferries in honor of these folks who had so much to do with the design and building of the Disney parks (more on each of these men, and General Joe Potter,  in some earlier posts on this blog)

. So naming these new fireworks viewing barges with these old names is a neat way to pay homage to the history of WDW itself. Only having those two photos does make me wonder, exactly how many of these barges got moved, and it there are additional ones what their names are, if there is only one more well than the next logical name would be the KINGDOM QUEEN since that was the original name of the General Joe Potter.


            Speaking of those ferryboats I think that I had heard they were not there on opening day before, but not any details. Recently I went over to check out a site I had known about for a while but had not checked back in on recently the WDW Watercraft pages at

After my visit I wrote the webmaster Greg Chin, a former Watercraft cast member of the from at least the early 1980’s (if not earlier), and even into the 90’s, he gave me a lot of information about the Friendships which I’ll put in a later post, but in regards to the ferries he let me know that they didn’t go into service until 1973 (and I believe that would have been just the first two as the KINGDOM QUEEN came later), in those first two years folks had to either take the monorail, or one of the lower capacity, and slower loading (as compared to the ferries) Side-Wheel ships, the Southern Seas and Ports O’ Call, accordingly those side-wheelers didn’t start their “WORLD CRUISE” service until 1973 when those ferries came on line . In addition to that back in those days there was another way for guests to get from the TTC to the Magic Kingdom in Gregs words:

“For years, the Watercraft Dept. and Parking Lot Dept. also manned the extra Trams from TTC side area, to the entrance of the MagicKingdom. Only if the crowd capacity warranted it, the extra Trams were put online. But we keep them warmed up, and idling during the busiest parts of the morning and night, in case they were needed.


Florida has a lot of dew, in the morning hours. It takes a while to go, and suddenly dry off any wet tram bench seating. We use a wide 12" or 16" squeegee and plenty of towels. Same thing on all of the Watercraft boats and Parking Lot trams, in the morning. Once the new MK Bus Depot, and expanded TTC Bus Depot were built in 1986, that problem finally went away.

Tags: admiral joe fowler, ferries, ferry, general joe potter, richard f. irvine, steamship, walt disney world, wdw

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