My Disney Do List #9: Riding in the Wheelhouse of the Mark Twain Riverboat

Last weekend I got to check off an item on my Disney Do List… mostly… and I wanted to share the experience!

The recent return of all the attractions around the Rivers of America at Disneyland Park has not only added a welcome energy back to the area, but it allowed me to do something I’d always wanted to do: ride in the wheelhouse of the Mark Twain riverboat!

A view from the top – New Orleans Square.

Now, I’d always heard this was such a popular request that one usually had to make it over there early in the day to have a chance of getting one of these coveted rides. However, a friend and I were there on a not-terribly crowded day and were lucky enough to be selected by the Cast Member piloting the boat for that particular turn around the river simply by being up front by the gate and being quick to respond when he asked if we (or the party next to us) had ever been up top before. I jumped at the opportunity I believed we were being presented – as did the couple standing next to us – and we were told that as soon as the gates were opened, we were to follow the Cast Member up the stairs to the top, which we excitedly did!

My friend didn’t know what to expect, but I was thrilled at the prospect of this rare visit to the top of the boat!

We climbed upstairs into a small anteroom and then into the wheelhouse itself. This small area fits a maximum of four guests along with the Cast Member.

Looking out at the view behind us of the dock and Big Thunder Mountain.

From there, we had not only an amazing view of the river and the park itself in all directions around us, but we got to watch the Cast Member in action, communicating with those who helped run the attraction as well as watching him work the boat’s bell and whistle.

Captain at the wheel!

It was just a glorious experience made even more magical by knowing how few people get the chance to do this – not to mention the even fewer so far who’ve seen this new view of the river from up top!

We were greeted by the chief on the hill – at eye level!

A view of the new waterfalls… with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge construction peeking over the top!

My only disappointment was that while I (along with the other guests) was allowed to sign the log book to commemorate the ride in the pilot house, they were out of the Pilot’s Certificates given as a souvenir of your trip, so the closest I got was seeing this framed one in the anteroom below:

I highly recommend trying for this special adventure, both for the extraordinary view and the unique perspective of riding this attraction from such a relatively private location!

The train passing the Twain on the new trestle! So good to see the railroad back in action, too!

Have you ridden in the wheelhouse of the Mark Twain? What was your favorite part of the experience?

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One thought on “My Disney Do List #9: Riding in the Wheelhouse of the Mark Twain Riverboat

  1. My daughters piloted the riverboat at WDW on a trip many years ago. It was a magical experience, and I shot video and took pictures the entire time! The Captain was very informative and pointed out lots of scenic items we had never noticed during previous visits. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, especially for the older kids!

    Liked by 1 person

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