Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Disneyland's Canoe Races - 1984

I experienced my first Cast Member Canoe Race in Summer of 1984. The Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes were used by teams from all around the Park---Operations, Custodial, Outdoor Vending, etc. There were Men's, Women's and Co-Ed divisions. Some of us from Custodial joined the effort. Of course, the shoe-ins were always the guys who ran the Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes. They had python arms and hours and hours of practice skirting Tom Sawyer's Island during their daily shifts, often with little or no assistance from the guests.

July 12,1984. I remember the early cool morning before opening, just as the sun was cresting. We were gathered in Bear Country and preparing for our run. The groups were competitive---some cutthroat, but most were out to have fun. The team names were creative (some not so): "Pink Sheets," "Rowing Stones," "Skid Rowers," "Oar Mongers," "East German Women," etc.

We had a co-ed team in Day Custodial. Great group. Not so great lap time. Still, splashing about in green water containing billions of heretofore unheard of species of bacteria at 6:00a.m. with a bunch of friends in a canoe was actually a blast. Indeed, the paddling seemed to take hold, as the Sweepers, later that summer and the next, organized whitewater rafting trips on the American and Kern Rivers. Those trips were completely enjoyable.
I attach pages from the "Disneyland Line" in July 1984, including an article that discusses the history of the Canoe Races with a few cast members who were there when the Races were started in 1963.

The Canoe Races undoubtedly remain fond memories for those who participated in them over the years. I still can't get the bacteria smell out of my t-shirt, though.