Location: Straight ahead to the river as you enter Frontierland from Main Street.
Date Opened: 6/14/1958
# of Ride Units: Just the one boat.
Ride Capacity: Approximately 300.
Restraint Method: None
Ticket Rating: D Ticket
Ride Photo: No
Open/Close: Sailing Ship Columbia, on days it is used at all, generally begins trips around Rivers of America at 11:00 a.m. and stops at dusk, though it may stop even earlier during summer to prepare for the Fantasmic show.
Wait Times: It is rare for the ship to have to deny any desiring riders.
Length of Ride: 12 minutes
Single Rider: No
Queue Description: No queue, just a waiting area on the dock loading area.
Health Restriction: Should be fine for any condition that allows climbing a flight of stairs.
Ride Access: The Sailing Ship Columbia is not at all accessible to wheelchairs or ECVs. To board the ship will require climbing a dozen steps up to the ship.
Wheelchair Transfer: Riders will need to be able to leave their wheelchair or ECV and walk up stairs into the ship. Once on the ship, seating is available on various benches.
Service Animals: Yes
Audio: Pre-recorded narration is presented throughout the trip. Assistive listening devices are available at City Hall
Weight and Size Issues: None.
Height Restriction: No
Child Swap: No
Other Issues: Should be none for most children. Be warned, however, that during the trip around Rivers of America the ships cannons will fire twice and are very loud. As with any boat, children should be watched at all times and not allowed to climb on railings.
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History and Trivia
- At this location: The Sailing Ship Columbia shares the river with various other watercraft, both past and present. The loading area was built previously for use by the Mark Twain Riverboat, but required modification to handle the loading stairs needed by Columbia.
- The Attraction's History: Architect Ray Wallace was commissioned by Walt Disney in 1957 to work with Admiral Joe Fowler to recreate a historical sailing ship from America's past. The Columbia Rediviva was chosen as the model for both its look and its place in American seafaring history. Under Captain Robert Gray in 1787 it became the first ship under U.S. flag to circumnavigate the globe and then in another voyage in 1790, Robert Gray found the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest (which he named after the ship) and several landmarks along the Oregon and Washington Coast bear his name or were named by him. Despite many extensive refurbishments over the years, the only major change has been the addition of the crew quarters exhibit in 1964. In 1991, it was put to use as Captain Hook's pirate ship for the Fantasmic show.
- Other Trivia:
- Tragedy: On Christmas Eve, 1998, tragedy struck the Sailing Ship Columbia when a cleat used to secure the ship to the dock tore loose and whipped around to kill one park guest (Luan Phi Dawson, 33, of Duvall, Washington), also injuring his wife and a park cast member. This was the first ride-related fatality at Disneyland since 1984 and quite possibly the first that wasn't, to some degree, the fault of the park guest. Eventually it was determined to be a training error (the rope should not have been used at the speed the boat was moving) as well as a mechanical failure (the rope should have broken before the cleat was pulled off).
- Not Quite: In David Smith's important reference book, Disney A-Z he (as do many other references) states that the original Columbia was the first ship to navigate the globe in 1787. Actually, it was the first American ship to navigate the globe. The first ship to circumnavigate the globe was the Victoria, under Spanish flag, in 1521, as the only ship in Ferdinand Magellan's five ship fleet to make the entire voyage.