The way I see it, the Columbia like the rest of the characters in Fantasmic! is wearing a costume. She's dressed up as the Jolly Roger, but after the show she takes off her costume and her makeup and goes home as the Columbia. She's just an actress in the show.
The Right Honorable Count Boogie Bonz of Random, at your service.
Unfortunately, much of the "costume" is permanent, in the form of show rigging and the elimination of details (such as sails). I prefer to have the merchant vessel in her original state (in most cases, slow merchant vessels made poor pirate ships anyway).
Well - the trade off is valuable tho in the grand scheme. Just look at Fantasmic in DHS.. without the Columbia an entire sequence is replaced by a pathetic Poca/John Smith sequence which dogs the show compared to the DL version.
At least the losses in detail got a pretty good return instead of just being lost for costs, etc.
If it the tradeoff was Tarzan's Treehouse.. sure but one can't deny the pull of Fantasmic. That's why I say 'in the grander scheme' - somethings are always going to fall prey to the mothership's needs. The trade-off is symbiotic at least... Columbia does get a lot of attention because of her Fantasmic role too. She's unlikely to be shuttered like a keel boat for little reason
So I'm sure this will be covered in part II, but I'm wondering what the dimensions of the Disney ship are. I always thought the original would be bigger but at least from what I'm seeing measuring from google earth it seems the replica is quite a bit larger.
Stern to bow is coming out at 100 feet exactly and about 27 feet abeam.