Captain takes you inside the wheelhouse of the Mark Twain Riverboat at Disneyland

July 28th, 2013 | by Sherry Barkas | Comments
The Mark Twain Riverboat cruises the Rivers of America at Disneyland. Photo by Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland

The Mark Twain Riverboat cruises the Rivers of America at Disneyland. Photo by Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland

Ever wonder what it’s like to steer the Mark Twain Riverboat through the Rivers of America at Disneyland? Or how the Radiator Springs Raceway cars get their power?

“Every Role a Starring Role” is one of my favorite Disneyland blogs that takes you behind the scenes with various cast members who describe their jobs.

Jen Holst, a Mark Twain Riverboat captain, describes herself as “the eyes and ears” of the ship. Her primary job is to look out for other watercraft, which would include the Columbia sailing ship, the log rafts that ferry people across the river from New Orleans Square to Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyer Island, and the canoes.

The Mark Twain, a full functioning steam ship, and Columbia sale along submerged tracks while the canoes are controlled by their passengers, each armed with oars who follow the commands of Disneyland Cast members.

Holst explains how she works in unison with the ship’s engineer, using bells to signal whether to proceed, slow down or stop the ship altogether if necessary.

Here’s something I didn’t know: With every cruise, a few guests are brought up into the wheelhouse with the captain, where they get a bird’s-eye view of the scenes along the river and other spots in the park. The guests get to sound the ship’s whistle and leave with a pilot’s certificate bearing their name.

A new goal: Get up in that wheelhouse!

Check out the video to hear more from Holst about her job at http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2013/07/every-role-a-starring-role-mark-twain-riverboat-captain-at-the-disneyland-resort/

Another interesting “Every Role a Starring Role” blog features electrician Joe Shanahan, who helps keep the cars in the new Radiator Springs Raceway ride in California Adventure running.

He talks about the preventive maintenance of the cars, which he says “are very high tech.” He takes you under the hoods — front and back — and explains how the cars get the electricity they need to zip around the track.

Shanahan, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, also shares some tips on how to get a job as an electrician at Disneyland.

Check out Shanahan’s story at http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2013/03/every-role-a-starring-role-radiator-springs-racers-electrician-at-the-disneyland-resort/


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