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Karl Buiter

Mark Twain at Night

Text and photos by Karl Buiter, contributing editor

PilotHouse at Night
Mark Twain Pilot House. Photo by Karl Buiter.

Most late evenings at Disneyland are punctuated by Fantasmic!, a pyro / stage show held in the natural amphitheatre of New Orleans Square and the Rivers of America. As great as the show is, there are many who miss the lazier days of the River, when one could relax on the deck of the Mark Twain as it drifted around the river.

Paddle Wheel of the ship. Photo by Karl Buiter.

The interior. Photo by Karl Buiter.

Winter months at Disneyland, especially when Fantasmic! is in rehab, bring back these opportunities at dusk and early evening when the days are short. While not nearly as lazy as a warm summer late night, many of the same evening vistas can be shared.

Ready to Board the Mark Twain. Photo by Karl Buiter.

It is only 5:45 pm. Yet the sky is in twilight and you must wear a sweater or coat to stay warm in the crisp winter air. The Mark Twain, lit with bright lights, is boarding for a late voyage around the Rivers of America. Two long pulls on the steam whistle and we slide out of dock. 

New Orleans Square
New Orleans at Christmas. Photo by Karl Buiter.

Hungry Bear Approach
The Mark Twain passes the Hungry Bear Restaurant. Photo by Karl Buiter.

Passing along New Orleans Square, we see diners eating at the various restaurants, shoppers working their way past the crystal, culinary, and jewelry shops, and families heading out toward Haunted Mansion and Splash Mountain. During November and December, New Orleans Square is decorated for the Holidays.

Passing Splash Mountain and the Canoe Dock, we come up on diners eating at Hungry Bear. The deck lighting reflects off the river easing our entry into the wilderness.

Inidian Chief waves to a passing train
Indian Chief waves to a passing train. Photo by Karl Buiter.

From our left appears a train along the banks of the river. Our captain answers back to "Haircut and a Shave" with the steam whistle as both steamers hurry deeper into the wilderness. In the spotlight we catch an Indian Chief waving to the passing train.

Indian Village Story Teller Area
Indian Village. Photo by Karl Buiter.

Passing the bend, we come upon an Indian Village. Here, two groups of Indians, one near a fire and the other near a storyteller appear in the every searching spotlight of our steam paddlewheeler. Rainbow Ridge Mine Train
Abandoned Mine Train and Nearby Deer. Photo by Karl Buiter.

Abandoned Mine Train and Nearby Deer. Photo by Karl Buiter.

Our captain wheels the Twain around the bend and toward the area once known as Cascade Peak. In the dark, our spotlight catches an abandoned mine train from Rainbow Ridge. Just on the bank of Tom Sawyer Island, two deer hide in the tall weeds.

From the stern of the Twain looking forward. Photo by Karl Buiter.

The Mark Twain Boiler near the bow of the ship. Photo by Karl Buiter.

We are approaching civilization again. The crew readies the Twain for docking.

A welcoming crowd from the next frontier town awaits at the dock. Photo by Karl Buiter.

The Twain settles into the dock as a crowd of locals welcomes our arrival.  Or are they the next crowd of voyagers headed out into the nighttime wilderness?


One of the founding members of MousePlanet, Inc., Karl Buiter is now a contributing writer. He lives in Las Vegas, NV, and is a software developer with an interest in monorails.

Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Karl here.


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