A Unique Point of View: Mark Twain Riverboat Wheelhouse at Disneyland Resort

Shannon Swanson

by , Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort

Pilots of the Mark Twain Riverboat agree they have one of the best views of Disneyland park. I’ve traveled on the original attraction countless times, but this was my first visit to the wheelhouse. Also known as the pilothouse, the pane windows offer a 360-degree view of the Rivers of America. I was especially impressed to see the pristine captain’s quarters on the way up and loved the photo of Walt hanging on the wall.

If you have the opportunity to visit the wheelhouse for this bird’s eye view, be sure to sign the guest book!

For more in this series, check out the posts below:


  • That was a fun video! Especially since I spotted my son and I on the riverboat at the beginning and end of the clip! We’re famous!!! 😉 My son thought that was pretty cool, he LOVES riding on the Mark Twain!

  • I know you can at Tokyo Disneyland in the Mark Twain around their Tom Sawyer Island, as well as at Paris Disneyland’s Mark Twain around Big Thunder island. Rusty

  • That looks like a memorable experience. Can you ride in the wheelhouse of the Liberty Square Riverboat at the Magic Kingdom? If so, it’s the first thing I’m going to do next time I visit the parks!

  • In fourth grade we still had share and tell, so having just been to Disneyland,I brought in my 1955 Tom sawyer island map, from our first trip, that Herb Ryman had created. I also had my Sam McKim 1957 Tom Sawyer Island map from this trip, and explained the differences, as we were studying maps and ships at that time. Fishing off the dock and catching a live catfish was my main difference. The Columbia was my favorite ship as I heard Walt had selected a lot of the tools within it’s interiors. The best part of my sharing however was when I brought out my Mark Twain Pilots Cerificate for going up into the wheel house and guiding the very large wheel of the very large ship while standing on a stool.

  • this has nothing to do but is this in disneyland? I dont remember splash mountain being attached to rivers of america

  • The Mark Twain Riverboat is actually one of my most favorite of Disney attractions (third only to Tokyo Disneysea’s Mysterious Island and Disneyland USA’s Haunted Mansion). It is the only attraction whose poster I have hanging in my apartment, and I largely credit it and pre-pirate Tom Sawyer’s Island with sparking my interest in the literature of Mark Twain.

    I have not, however, had a chance to ride in the wheelhouse. Yet! That is #1 on the list for the next time I go.

  • ive been co-captain 3 times, 2 times i had Amanda be captain, she is the sweetest and most friendly captain 😀 be sure to request your trip with her 😀

  • Shannon, Can you still ask to ride up in the wheelhouse? My girls would love it!

  • I’ve been up to the wheelhouse once. Very unique viewpoint of the R.O.A. The pilot let me ring the bell, and blow the whistle for the entire trip :D. A really enjoyable experience.

  • I’ve been in there too. It’s such a treat to drive the paddle wheeler on the Rivers of America. The captain of our outing also said that the little bed that is shown on the video is one that Walt would take naps on during the day. Such a treat!

  • Thanks for all the great videos. You guys know how to entertain my two year old for hours. He loves the water and the whistle the best. We make sure to always make a couple of trips around the river while we are there. Nothing is more peaceful.

  • This is one of my favorite attractions at Disneyland. I was just explaining to my fiance that Disneyland has had a major hand in encouraging and shaping my imagination as a child, giving me the chance to play make believe while being immersed in realistic surroundings. I was trying to explain what a wonderful gift that is to children.. and adults! and was having trouble giving any solid example for him to relate to. Anyway, long story short, we were reading Mark Twain’s “Life On The Mississippi” a couple weeks ago, and every whistle described, every yell, every lap of water against the boat, conjured up memories of playing on the Mark Twain at Disneyland… it was exciting. We kept thinking, “I know what that feels like, I’ve been there!” The memories didn’t feel like “theme park” memories at all. And when we visited Disneyland again, we went back on the Mark Twain Riverboat, pulling on river stories and borrowed memories to play grown up “make believe” where we were far from Anaheim, CA and instead mighty explorers on the Rivers of America… my fiance couldn’t stop saying, “Wow. I see what you mean! This place IS magical!” ^_^

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