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Realityland's David Koenig

Disneyland Slows Down Mark Twain

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When the Mark Twain and Columbia return to the Rivers of America July 29, they will be traveling slower in order to maintain their traditional ride duration of 14 to 15 minutes.

Since the reconfigured river is shorter, the ride time could have been cut. But Disney figured the slower speed would make it easier to maintain loading and unloading times, particularly when running both boats, and and to coordinate with the rafts and canoes. ďItís a ballet on the river,Ē explained one cast member.

The canoes, since they are in large part guest powered, will not be slowed down, so the shorter course should increase the rideís capacity (and translate into record times for the annual Cast Member Canoe Races).

On the north side of Tom Sawyer Island, the long-retired Gullywhumper keel boat will be docked at riverís edge next to the rebuilt (non-Burning) Settlers Cabin and the structure will be treated as the home of character Mike Fink.

The park has confirmed it will reopen Tom Sawyer Island today, bring back Fantasmic! July 17, and start up the steam trains along with the big boats July 29.

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