Mark Twain at Disneyland

New Facebook Live From Mark Twain at Disneyland

We’ve broadcasted a Facebook Live event from the Mark Twain at Disneyland this week! The Mark Twain is an original attraction from opening day at Disneyland, though it was ridden by guests a few days before when Walt and Lilly celebrated their wedding anniversary with a few close friends.

Our story on Facebook Live comes from an experience shared by Terry O’Brien as a Cast Member on opening day. He shares that story and more here. It’s a story about making mistakes, and learning from them. But it wasn’t the first mistake made on this attraction. When water first filled this big ditch in what was a former orange grove, the water simply sank through the sand. They had to line the river with clay to keep the water in place. They’ve since not only learned from this experience, but they now recycle and re-purify all of the water at the resort, the largest water purification project of its kind.

Our message is about learning from experience, one that was very real in the early days when riverboats ruled the Mississippi. These were beautiful ships, but they were very combustible and easily damaged.

Mark Twain at Disneyland
This image paints the grandeur of steamboats during the 1800s. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

But this message is also is about preventing experiences in the first place, as is evidenced by the practice of measuring the depth of the water going down the river. Mark One meant one fathom, or six feet. Mark Twain meant two fathoms, or twelve feet. Samuel Clemens explained in Life on the Mississippi why he chose that particular moniker for his most famous novels. In this quote, he was referring to Horace E. Bixby, the grizzled pilot who taught Clemens to navigate the river during his two-year training phase:

“The old gentleman was not of literary turn or capacity, but he used to jot down brief paragraphs of plain practical information about the river, and sign them ‘MARK TWAIN,’ and give them to the ‘New Orleans Picayune.’ They related to the stage and condition of the river, and were accurate and valuable; and thus far, they contained no poison.”

So Mark Twain is not just a name of an author or a ship, but of the practice of being accurate, and providing value. Another insight from this ship.

Here are some additional photos from not only Disneyland but of steam ships across Disney resorts:

Mark Twain at Disneyland
A closeup of the details found on the Disneyland Mark Twain. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Mark Twain at Disneyland
From the wheelhouse on the Mark Twain at Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Mark Twain at Disneyland
Mark Twain seen from shores of Critter Country at Tokyo Disneyland. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

There is a Mark Twain at Disneyland Paris. But they also have a second ship, the Molly Brown. Molly Brown, made famous by Debbie Reynolds in the musical, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, showcased a woman with determination who helped fellow survivors at sea when they took refuge on a lifeboat as the famed Titanic sank into the sea. Determination is a another fantastic quality in any workplace culture.

Mark Twain at Disneyland
Molly Brown, Disneyland Paris. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The Mark Twain at Disneyland is currently down while changes are being made to the Rivers of America. Those changes are in preparation for Star Wars Land, opening in 2019. Here are some photos of the construction underway. The first showcases the tracks being re-laid for the Mark Twain as its pathway is being re-curved around Tom Sawyer Island. In the back you can see new rock work and trees having been planted. The two tunnels offer functional space for Fantasmic, which also happens along the Rivers of America. During the day it will be covered by a waterfall.

The view near Critter Country. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
The view near Critter Country. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Here’s a view from behind Big Thunder Mountain. You can see rock work similar to Big Thunder. In the front is a train trestle which guests will walk beneath as they enter Star Wars Land.

Mark Twain at Disneyland
Frontierland Entrance to Star Wars Land. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Here’s a view from the top of Big Thunder Mountain. You can see construction for Star Wars Land on the other side.

Mark Twain at Disneyland
On Top Big Thunder Mountain Railway. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Here’s another view showing actual buildings going up at Star Wars Land.

Mark Twain at Disneyland
On top of Big Thunder. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Now here’s a view from the Mickey and Friends parking structure. The big structure I believe will be an attraction that places guests into the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. Notice the structures for the AT-ATs in the front.

Mark Twain at Disneyland
View of Star Wars Land. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The round structure is where I believe a version of the Millennium Falcon will be contained.

Mark Twain at Disneyland
Star Wars Land under construction. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Disney at Work Souvenirs

Here are some souvenirs from our Facebook Live video:

  • Is your culture a learning culture?
  • Do you allow people to learn from their mistakes, or hold it against them?
  • What can we do to send a message that we should not only learn from our mistakes, but share them to the benefit of others?
  • How can we make sure that like Mark One, Mark Twain, we are taking careful notice of the river ahead, to avoid making mistakes in the first place?
  • Are your practices Mark Twain, or in other words, are they accurate and provide value?

That does it! Be sure to Like our Facebook Page, and stay close by because we’ll be back at the Disneyland Resort for more Facebook Live events. Join us soon!

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