Walt Disney World knows how to create nostalgia. And a great example of this is the Liberty Square Riverboat in Disney’s Magic Kingdom. It’s a beautiful, colonial, steam-powered riverboat, and it’ll instantly transport you to a simpler time, as you cruise along the Rivers of America. Here are our favorite things about the Liberty Square Riverboat.
7. Come One, Come All
We love the exclusivity of the Liberty Square Riverboat! Because it’s a slow-moving boat ride, there are no height or age restrictions, and it’s a family-friendly attraction. It might not keep thrill-seekers entertained, but we think it’s a brilliant way to take a break from the chaos of a busy day in the parks. Wheelchairs and ECVs can board the boat, and there is even sign language interpretation offered at certain times of the week.
6. Fun Facts
Spoilers ahead! While the attraction is named the Liberty Square Riverboat, the vessel itself is called the Liberty Belle. Your voyage will last around 20 minutes, and it will take you through the Rivers of America. For those who are curious, the river is only about 6 feet deep, and the riverboat is actually on a track in the water, much like the boats on Jungle Cruise! The water itself is dyed green, so that guests won’t be able to see the track, and have the magic ruined.
5. Unparalleled Views
Adventurers who want to explore Tom Sawyer Island can take the log raft over to the island and wander around to their hearts’ content. But if you’re looking for the best views of Tom Sawyer Island, then you’ll want to ride the Liberty Belle! The riverboat takes you around the entirety of Tom Sawyer Island, and along the way, you’ll also see unique views of several key Magic Kingdom attractions, including Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain and Haunted Mansion.
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4. Delightful Decks
While you enjoy your journey on the Liberty Belle, you can choose from 4 decks to sit or stroll or explore. The top deck, or pilothouse, contains the wheelhouse and Captain’s quarters. Wander along the Promenade Deck to view photos and maps from a by-gone era, or enjoy the warm Floridian sun on the Sun Deck. Of course, the real action is on the Main Deck, where you’ll find the workings of the boat itself, including the pistons that run the paddlewheel, and the boiler. There’s a lot to explore on your river cruise!
3. Family of Riverboats
The Liberty Belle is in good company! A riverboat named the Mark Twain debuted in Disneyland when it opened in 1955, and it was the first riverboat that had been build in the country in half a century. Guests can now also enjoy riverboat attractions at Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris. WDW originally had two riverboats, the Admiral Joe Fowler and the Richard F. Irvine; the latter changed its name to the Liberty Belle in the 1990s, and is now the sole riverboat in the Magic Kingdom.
2. Working Reproduction
History buffs and boat fans alike will enjoy learning about the Liberty Belle. It’s almost 50 feet tall, with some beautifully crafted woodwork. It’s actually a faithful replica of the types of boats that used to carry passengers up and down the Mississippi River, which means it’s a unique glimpse into the past. How does it work? The Liberty Belle’s steam engine turns water into steam, and it’s that steam that provides the power to turn the paddlewheel, which drives the boat.
1. Famous Voice
Your voyage on the Liberty Belle is narrated by several characters, and Disney fans might recognize one of the recorded voices: it’s none other than Thurl Ravenscroft, the famous voice behind Tony the Tiger (of Frosted Flakes fame). Thurl provided the speaking and singing voices for many iconic Disney rides – you’ve probably heard his voice many times, even if you didn’t realize it! He voiced the lead bust in Haunted Mansion, various voices in the Enchanted Tiki Room, Buff in the Country Bear Jamboree, and multiple pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean!