Mike Fink Keel Boats was an attraction at Disneyland in Anaheim, California and at the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. It consists of small boats navigating the Rivers of America. A similar attraction at Disneyland Paris currently exists under the name of River Rogue Keel Boats.
The Mike Fink Boats were based on the Walt Disney television shows, later made into feature-length movies, Davy Crockett's Keelboat Race and Davy Crockett and the River Pirates. The boats were free-floating and traveled on the Rivers of America and across Tom Sawyer Island. Yet, the ride was named after the "King of the River" who lost the boat race.
People would sit inside the seating area inside one of the boats with a roof on the top where more people could sit also. This was the design issue that caused it to close. On the inside, guests could watch full episodes of Walt Disney's Davy Crockett.
Reasons for closing
At about 5:30 p.m. on May 17, 1997, Disneyland's Gullywhumper boat began to rock side to side. It capsized, dumping a full boatload of guests into the Rivers of America. The boat was removed from the waters for inspection and neither the Gullywhumper nor the Bertha Mae returned for the next operating season. The Bertha Mae was put up on Disney's eBay Auction Site and pocketed $15,000 for it. It was built as an unseaworthy craft.
The Gullywhumper returned to Disneyland's Rivers of America as a prop and was moored on Tom Sawyer Island where passengers on the Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes, the Sailing Ship Columbia, and the Mark Twain Riverboat could see it while passing. Eventually, hull damage caused the boat to flood and sink, and it was finally removed from public view in April 2009, hidden in the old keelboat drydock by camo netting and being eaten by termites. When the rivers were drained in 2010, the Gullywhumper was lovingly restored to its original 1955 appearance and placed back on the river (some sources claim the original Gullywhumper was scrapped and replaced by a replica, but Alex the Historian on YouTube revealed it was indeed the original). After the 2016-17 rerouting, the Gullywhumper was once again placed on the river.