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Mark Twain Riverboat Jumps Track After Opening Day

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  • [Question] Mark Twain Riverboat Jumps Track After Opening Day

    According to Wikipedia, the Mark Twain Riverboat jumped its track a few days after Opening Day in 1955:

    Disneyland's opening day brought further problems for Mark Twain. Actress Irene Dunne, star of the movie Showboat, had trouble breaking a bottle of water (from many major American rivers) across the vessel's bow for her christening on Dateline Disney. During the riverboat's first official voyage, when the crowd moved to one side of the boat to view a passing scene of an Indian encampment or other sight, the boat would list from the side and water poured over the deck, as no one had determined Mark Twain's maximum safe passenger capacity.

    This oversight caused the Mark Twain to almost capsize on a voyage a few days later when ride operators continued to wave more than 500 guests on board until the deck neared the water line. As the ship traversed the sparsely vegetated river route, it came loose from its track and got stuck in the muddy banks. Immediately, the park established a maximum capacity of 300 passengers, which remains in effect today.


    Which begs my question -- has the Mark Twain ever jumped its track since? How about the other riverboats at the other Disney parks?
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  • #2
    re: Mark Twain Riverboat Jumps Track After Opening Day

    Okay...THAT freaked me out when I saw that headline. I thought this was a recent reporting.

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    • #3
      re: Mark Twain Riverboat Jumps Track After Opening Day

      Originally posted by CASurfer65 View Post
      Okay...THAT freaked me out when I saw that headline. I thought this was a recent reporting.
      You're not alone, I freaked out too
      All right, listen! I didn't want to have to do this, but you leave me no choice. Here comes the smolder.


      DLR Annual Passholder, Disney nerd
      Trip Reports:
      From California to Walt Disney World: The Road to Orlando (Coming soon)

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      • #4
        re: Mark Twain Riverboat Jumps Track After Opening Day

        And if the Internet had been around in 1955, within a few minutes of the Mark Twain coming off its underwater guidewheels there would be a hundred Tweets and a dozen pictures on Instagram of the boat floating in the water at a weird spot on the river.

        Then a few hours after that Mark Twain downtime, a good half-dozen people who weren't there would have jumped on to this message board to proclaim that Disneyland was a failure and that Walt Disney was a greedy businessman out to rob working class families of their entertainment dollars while he laughed all the way to the bank from his fancy mansion in Holmby Hills.

        Good thing the Internet wasn't around in 1955. Walt never would have gotten Disneyland to make it to Labor Day, let alone 1956.

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        • #5
          re: Mark Twain Riverboat Jumps Track After Opening Day

          My first (sarcastic) thought after reading the headline:

          If only someone would invent a boat that doesn't run on a track.

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          • #6
            re: Mark Twain Riverboat Jumps Track After Opening Day

            /\ LOL, where's the like button..

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            • #7
              Re: Mark Twain Riverboat Jumps Track After Opening Day

              Originally posted by CASurfer65 View Post
              Okay...THAT freaked me out when I saw that headline. I thought this was a recent reporting.
              Fixed to reflect accuracy.




              Help me get more security in Pingvinivlle! Click here!


              Originally posted by AGhostFromThePast
              all you need to know about the mommy stick is.. out of all the bad things that could happen to you... it's right between wetting yourself and death.

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              • #8
                Re: Mark Twain Riverboat Jumps Track After Opening Day

                I doubt virtually every fact presented in that article.

                If you can't get the fact correct that Irene Dunne had NO trouble breaking the bottle across the capstan (not the bow), even though that fact is easily verifiable, then the rest of the article's "facts" are in serious doubt as well.

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                • #9
                  Re: Mark Twain Riverboat Jumps Track After Opening Day

                  Originally posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
                  I doubt virtually every fact presented in that article.

                  If you can't get the fact correct that Irene Dunne had NO trouble breaking the bottle across the capstan (not the bow), even though that fact is easily verifiable, then the rest of the article's "facts" are in serious doubt as well.
                  I cut & pasted that section from the Wikipedia article. If any part of it is inaccurate, I encourage anyone with the facts to contact Wikipedia and make the recommended changes.

                  As for the misleading title, well, hey -- I got you to read it, didn't I?
                  sigpic

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                  • #10
                    Re: Mark Twain Riverboat Jumps Track After Opening Day

                    Originally posted by DoctorQ9 View Post
                    If any part of it is inaccurate, I encourage anyone with the facts to contact Wikipedia and make the recommended changes.
                    I've given up trying to correct misleading or incorrect information on Wikipedia.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Mark Twain Riverboat Jumps Track After Opening Day

                      Originally posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
                      I've given up trying to correct misleading or incorrect information on Wikipedia.
                      You don't want to hire 10,000 people to work 24 hours a day on that?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Mark Twain Riverboat Jumps Track After Opening Day

                        Originally posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
                        I've given up trying to correct misleading or incorrect information on Wikipedia.
                        As a Fellow MiceChatter, I tell you what -- if you will send me the corroborating documents that show the Wikipedia errors, I will submit the changes myself. Sound good?
                        sigpic

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                        • #13
                          Re: Mark Twain Riverboat Jumps Track After Opening Day

                          Originally posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
                          I doubt virtually every fact presented in that article.

                          If you can't get the fact correct that Irene Dunne had NO trouble breaking the bottle across the capstan (not the bow), even though that fact is easily verifiable, then the rest of the article's "facts" are in serious doubt as well.
                          Well here is the source article for the claim

                          Man who sank the Mark Twain | Deseret News

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Mark Twain Riverboat Jumps Track After Opening Day

                            Originally posted by Juni View Post
                            Well here is the source article for the claim

                            Man who sank the Mark Twain | Deseret News
                            Maybe I should get new glasses, but I read the article and I could not find anything that disputed the Wikipedia article. There was no mention of the Irene Dunne + bottle incident, and the interviewee said that the ship did go off the rail.
                            sigpic

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                            • #15
                              Re: Mark Twain Riverboat Jumps Track After Opening Day

                              Sorry folks, that Deseret News yarn is old news -- it was joked about on MiceChat back in 2005.

                              A number of points make the story eligible for "exaggerated mis-recollection" status. The main point is its complete lack of corroboration: in 57 years there have been no stories of the Mark Twain "coming off the tracks" and "sinking in the mud" other than this one.

                              Besides the technical issues of how the boat's attachment to the tracks makes a detachment-and-sinking improbable, there also is the illogic of O'Brien's claim that the Mark Twain sank with 508 aboard, but was up and running "20 to 30 minutes" later. There is the illogic of how the flagship of Walt Disney's famous new Disneyland sank with 508 aboard, and the story didn't even make even the local press at the time.

                              The fact that the story appeared in the Deseret News under the byline of a community interest writer does not make it authentic. The fact that it has been repeated many places including Wikipedia lends it no authenticity.

                              Bottom line, Mr. O'Brien was probably exaggerating for his hometown newspaper, in an embellished conflation of the famous Irene Dunn "we're sinking" event (no, it didn't sink then, either), and his own memories.
                              "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
                              it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
                              together with every variety of recreation and fun,
                              designed to appeal to everyone."

                              - Walt Disney

                              "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
                              - Michael Eisner

                              "It's very symbiotic."
                              - Bob Chapek

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                              • #16
                                Re: Mark Twain Riverboat Jumps Track After Opening Day

                                And the boat was somehow "fixed" in only 20 or 30 minutes, still with 500 people on board. Disney must have had some awesome underwater jacks placed precisely where the Twain dug into the mud.

                                The story is just so logically improbable that it bears further research; unfortunately, this is fairly impossible to do because this is the only account ever given.

                                EDIT: Whoops, Wiggins beat me to the punch--as usual!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Re: Mark Twain Riverboat Jumps Track After Opening Day

                                  Well I can't speak for the Mark Twain but the Liberty Belle has "jumped track" multiple times. She's like the Florida Jungle, a pylon/trench scenario and it (pylon) can come out (trench).

                                  But shes never fixed in 20-30 minutes when it happens.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Re: Mark Twain Riverboat Jumps Track After Opening Day

                                    I can't find it right now, but I remember reading something about them putting 500 folks on when the Disneys were celebrating their 30th anniversary, July 13th, just before opening. As I remember, everyone ran to one side to look at something interesting and the boat tilted badly.

                                    WHERE: Disneyland . . . where there’s plenty of room . . .
                                    WHEN: . . . Wednesday, July 13, 1955, at six o’clock in the afternoon . . .
                                    WHY: . . . because we’ve been married Thirty Years . . .
                                    HOW: . . . by cruising down the Mississippi on the Mark Twain’s maiden voyage, followed by dinner at Slue-Foot-Sue’s Golden Horseshoe!
                                    Hope you can make it – we especially want you and, by the way, no gifts, please – we have everything, including a grandson.
                                    Lilly and Walt
                                    Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.
                                    Mark Twain

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Re: Mark Twain Riverboat Jumps Track After Opening Day

                                      Originally posted by sailor310 View Post
                                      the boat tilted badly.
                                      Tilting (listing) and sinking are two different things. Very.

                                      Cool that Irene Dunne said "listing." Would Angelena Jolie or Lindsay L. or Miley have even known the word? Most people today would have a hard time trying to find the nautical definition...

                                      Comment

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