Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes Photo of the Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes Yesterland
Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes pass scenic Cascade Peak.

“D” Ticket       Closes at dusk

This isn’t a “sit back and relax” ride. Get ready to work! Grab either a child- or adult-size oar, and climb into an Explorer Canoe. You and every other canoe guest will help to propel the craft around the island and past Cascade Peak.

You’re helped by two explorer scouts—one in front and one in back. They’ll make sure that your canoe is steered properly, and that you don’t collide with a Keel Boat. And their considerable biceps will compensate for all the pre-schoolers who are onboard.

This ride isn’t on tracks. You may take a different route on various trips. In fact, you might even pass another canoe.

Here’s one bit of advice. Try not to sit behind a 4-year-old. You’ll wind up soaked.

Photo of "Oars above your heads!"
“Stop rowing. Oars above your heads!”

At Disneyland, Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes were back in operation for Summer 1999 and continued to operate even after the end of the Summer season. The Canoes now appear to be a year-round attraction.

A quote from the Los Angeles Times, Tuesday, August 31, 1999:
Another change involves the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes, a Frontierland summer fixture and a favorite of employees who compete in canoe races before the park opens. In a break with recent practice, Disneyland Executive Vice President Cynthia Harriss has decided to keep the canoes operating past the end of summer, said a worker who a year ago had feared the attraction would be closed forever to save money. “We were all completely floored” by Harriss’ decision, the employee said.

quoted from
Bypass Long Lines at Disneyland

The canoe ride at Disneyland opened in 1956 as part of Frontierland’s 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 Crockett’s Explorer Canoes. When the new land, Bear Country, opened in 1972, Davy Crockett’s 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 multiple stations.)

Davy Crockett’s 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 Disneyland’s Davy Crockett’s 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 didn’t expect to ever see the canoes again. Their belief was that the canoes wouldn’t return due to Disneyland management’s 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 they’re still part of Disneyland more than a decade later.

Photo of the site of former Cascade Pesk
All that’s left of Cascade Peak (October 1998)

Cascade Peak, shown in the picture at the top of this page, is now gone. Originally opened in 1960 as part of the Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland, the hollow, man-made peak was bulldozed in Fall 1998. Over the years, water had severely damaged the peak’s structure, including its wooden framework. The economical solution was to remove Cascade Peak and its beautiful waterfalls.

it’s a small world holiday
Christmas in Yesterland

© 1998-2011 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated April 15, 2011.

Photograph of Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes: 1996 by Werner Weiss.
Photograph of “Oars above your heads!”: 1996 by Werner Weiss.
Photograph of the former site of Cascade Peak: 1998 by Dennis Caswell.