Ahoy! Earn Your Pilot’s License on Disneyland’s Mark Twain Riverboat

As you cross the threshold between Adventureland and New Orleans Square at Disneyland, you’ve undoubtedly seen the iconic Mark Twain Riverboat chugging along the Rivers of America, puffing white steam into the blue sky as she takes guests on a delightful twelve-minute journey through yesteryear. What you may not know, is that Park Guests have the opportunity to pilot the ship, just like Steamboat Willie does in Fantasmic!

For a chance at becoming the captain of the ship, simply ask one of the dockside Cast Members in the queue. (Planning note: if you have a large party, not all Guests may be able to visit the wheelhouse in one trip.) If another Guest has already asked, you may have to wait for the next sailing of the Mark Twain, but it’s worth the short wait to gain passage into the exclusive wheelhouse, which was frequently visited by Walt Disney himself (you’ll see photo proof in the Captain’s quarters).

When your turn comes, you’ll be escorted by a Cast Member up several flights of narrow, steep stairs into the wheelhouse, where you’ll have breathtaking views of the surrounding lands. But you’re not just there to spectate, you’ll actually have a job to do, whether it’s manning the ginormous wheel to ensure the ship doesn’t run aground or taking charge of the whistle and bell system to signal your whereabouts to the Sailing Ship Columbia and others along the Rivers of America. As you wave hello to guests on Tom Sawyer’s Island, be sure to chat with your host Cast Member, who will undoubtedly point out details and delights that you may not notice from the ship’s other decks (ask about the hidden Mickey in the “rapids” and why Disneyland welcomes ducks and felines).

When you make the final turn back to the dock, you’ll have a chance to sign the wheelhouse guestbook and will be presented with a personalized riverboat pilot’s license, signed by none other than Walt Disney. Now, how cool will it be to add that to your resume or Disneyland scrapbook?!

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About Megan Prine

Megan Prine has a reputation among her friends as a "Disneyland Nerd", earned thanks to her frequent trips from the soggiest place on Earth Seattle to the Happiest Place on Earth. She's been halfway around the world to Hong Kong Disneyland, but has yet to make it to Walt Disney World (go figure!). Megan (sounds like "vegan") is a fan of classic Disney movies, some of her favorites include The Parent Trap, Swiss Family Robinson, Babes in Toyland and the Silly Symphony "Skeleton Dance". Her mantra is that life is short, so we owe it to ourselves to make time for more fun and adventure than we think possible. Can also be seen on: Twitter as @meganprine, Meegie's Disneyland Tips, and Adventures With Barack, which follows the shenanigans of a certain presidential action figure.
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8 Responses to Ahoy! Earn Your Pilot’s License on Disneyland’s Mark Twain Riverboat

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  4. Ceronomus says:

    Is this something that can only be done at Disneyland or is this experience available at the Magic Kingdom too?

  5. Megan says:

    As cool as this experience is, I wish people wouldn’t blog about stuff like this. The visit to the wheelhouse is intended as a very special bit of magic that the riverboat captains can make for their Guests. It loses its luster when there’s a queue of Guests waiting for “their turn” in the wheelhouse, not because it’s their 80th birthday or they just got engaged, but because “I read online that I could ask for this.”

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  7. Berni says:

    I agree with Megan, Let “people” figure out the “magic” for themselves..
    I did this last year on Xmas Day!!! cuz no one knew about it, I was the only one asking…

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