14 January 2011

Shipping of freight

The Magic Kingdom is filled with myths and legends, some that are based on fact and others that are total works of fiction. When it comes to the stories of Frontierland, the pioneer spirit has always been embodied in the man known as Davy Crockett. But what about the other characters that filled the tales of the King of the Wild Frontier, specifically that braggart turned buddy, Mike Fink. Turns out, he has his own special place along the river.

Mike Fink was a real keelboater, often referred to as the king of the keelboaters. His larger than life personality spawned many stories, including his insertion in two episodes of the Disneyland television series that aired in 1955. In the two episodes, Davy Crockett’s Keelboat Race and Davy Crockett and the River Pirates. In the first of the two encounters with Crockett, Mike Fink is portrayed as the King of the River and enters into a race with the King of the Wild Frontier. In the second, the pair of kings team up to take on pirates that have been plaguing the river.

When it comes to the theme parks however, Mike Fink and his recognizable keelboats, the Gullywhumper and Bertha Mae, began plying the waters of Disneyland in December of 1955 and were an opening day fixture of Walt Disney World in 1971. Although the boats themselves have been retired at both parks since 1997, Mike Fink still has a presence along the banks of the Rivers of America. At the foot of Big Thunder Mountain, viewable from the deck of the Liberty Belle or from Tom Sawyer Island, is a small dock run by none other than Mike Fink. Claiming both freight and passenger services, the King of the River still calls the waterways home in the Magic Kingdom, if only in name.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this (it brought tears to my eyes). The Mike Fink Keelboats were my Dad's favourite ride. He passed away in 2007 and I went looking for them when I was there last April. It's nice to know they are still in people's minds.

Gator Chris said...

Hi Ryan,

Disneyland's wilderness cabin is now the home of Mike Fink.

Here's a photo of the cabin.

I assume this is a new addition from the recent update to the Rivers of America. Perhaps one of your CA readers can clarify.

From the deck of the Mark Twain I heard audio of Mike bragging about his prowess. Not sure if the audio was emanating from the cabin itself or was in the steamboat narration.