Storybook Land Canal Boats is an attraction at Disneyland and Disneyland Paris (under the name of Le Pays des Contes de Fées). A leisurely boat ride, it goes past a series of miniature versions of locations from Disney stories. The Casey Jr. Circus Train travels around the same location, providing a high ground perspective.
The attraction's concept dates back to Walt Disney's plans for a small park across the street from the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. This modestly-scaled, never-built amusement park was to include a gravity flow canal boat ride among its attractions.
When plans for the much grander Disneyland were being made, there was to be a "Lilliputianland", inspired by Madurodam, a miniature city in the Netherlands that Walt once visited.
However, the technology did not yet exist for creating the miniature animated figures that were to inhabit the "Lilliputian" village, so the canal ride opened under the name "Canal Boats of the World". It was intended to be a journey past miniature recreations of the great landmarks of the world, but time and money prevented its completion. It was plagued by other problems. The outboard motors were prone to overheating, often forcing the boats to be pulled by hand, and because the attraction opened with little landscaping, it earned the nickname among park executives as "The Mud Bank Ride".
After only two months of operation, the attraction closed on September 16, 1955 while Storybook Land was constructed and the muddy banks were landscaped with miniature plants, including a bonsai tree planted by Walt himself. The idea of having Monstro consume the canal boats came from a never-implemented concept for a "Monstro the Whale" ride, in which small boats were to be swallowed by him and hurtled down a watery path into a pond below.
The attraction reopened on June 16, 1956 under the new name "Storybook Land Canal Boats".
Over the years, there have been many scenes added to and removed from the attraction. Most notably, Agrabah and the Sultan's Palace from Aladdin appeared where the miniature Toad Hall had previously stood during a major refurbishment done in 1994. However, it returned the following year in another location.
On December 7, 2014, an announcement was made about "Frozen Fun", which dealt with bringing various experiences to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure based on Frozen. Out of that announcement, the attraction was announced as one of the areas to get some Frozen treatment, where various locations from the film were added to the attraction in December 2014. They would replace a trio of windmills based on The Old Mill.
For the park's 50th Anniversary, the Tinker Bell boat was painted gold and the lighthouse was given a gold and maroon theme.
The Disneyland version of the attraction features small motorboats with a live cast member hosting and narrating the journey. Departing directly from the docks, the boats enter Monstro and continue on from him.
Atlantica, partially hidden behind a waterfall, from The Little Mermaid
Disneyland Paris version
Instead of being guided by a cast member, the Disneyland Paris version of the attraction has no narration. The Cave of Wonders from Aladdin appears midway through the voyage instead of the Disneyland version's Monstro. It is guided by underwater rails rather than live motors. Also, unlike the Disneyland version, miniature character figures can be spotted in their respective locations. Storybooks are also placed on each area to identify which location guests pass through.