Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes is a delightful family-friendly attraction located in Critter Country at Disneyland Park. Guests board 20-person canoes and paddle around the Rivers of America, taking in scenic views of frontier-themed sights along the way. With an experienced guide steering and narrating, it’s a leisurely trip back to the days of fur trappers and pioneers.
The attraction originally opened in 1956 as Indian War Canoes. It was rethemed in 1971 as Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes, inspired by the popular 1950s Disney TV miniseries. The ride lasts around 10-15 minutes depending on paddling speed and river traffic.
Location: Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes is situated in Frontierland, along the Rivers of America. The attraction’s entrance is close to the Hungry Bear Restaurant.
Average Wait Times: One of the significant advantages of this attraction is its often short wait times. The canoes can accommodate a substantial number of guests at once, so lines tend to move quickly. On average, you can expect to wait anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, depending on the park’s overall crowd levels.
Height Requirements: This attraction is one of the few at Disneyland that has no height requirement, making it suitable for guests of all ages, including young children.
Single Rider Option: Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes does not offer a single rider line, as the seating arrangement is predetermined for safety reasons.
Genie+ and Lightning Lane: Genie+ and Lightning Lane are not included on this ride. Given the nature of the attraction and its usually short wait times, it’s not likely to be a priority for Disney’s paid access systems.
Rider Switch: Rider Switch, also known as Child Swap, is available for families with small children. One adult can wait with the child while the rest of the party rides, and then they can switch without waiting in line again.
Disability Access Service (DAS): Guests with disabilities can utilize the DAS system, which provides accommodations based on their individual needs. The attraction offers accessible boarding options, including a transfer to a standard canoe if needed.
Best Times to Ride: Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes are typically quieter during the first few hours after the park opens and in the evening as the park is nearing closing time. It’s an excellent choice for those who want to escape the crowds and enjoy a leisurely paddle along the river.
The canoes depart from a small dock next to the Hungry Bear Restaurant. After boarding, each rider takes a paddle and finds their seat – two guests per wooden bench row. The guide will give a brief paddling lesson, then you’re off on your journey. As you paddle along the river, the guide points out scenic sights like the Indian chief on horseback and Pioneer Mercantile storefronts. It’s a peaceful trip, with the sound of paddles splashing through the water and the guide’s narration about life on the frontier.
The canoes glide around Tom Sawyer Island, giving a unique on-the-water perspective of classic Disneyland attractions. You’ll pass right by the sailing ship Columbia and the Mark Twain Riverboat. The return trip passes close to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure (Coming soon), where the guide may give riders an extra splash with their oar! Then it’s back to the dock to disembark your canoe.
Tips for Riding
Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes operates seasonally, mainly during warmer months and busier days at the park. Check the park calendar for operating hours.
The attraction is suitable for all ages. Children under 7 years must wear a life jacket. Wheelchair/ECV access is through the exit near Hungry Bear.
Wait times are typically 10-15 minutes. Try visiting earlier in the day to avoid longer queues. Using Single Rider can help cut down your wait.
Paddling is required – you can’t simply relax and enjoy the ride. But the canoes are stable, so there’s no need to worry about tipping.
If you don’t want to paddle, consider the park’s other watercraft like the Mark Twain Riverboat for a leisurely trip with great views.
History and Design
The Explorer Canoes have been offering Disneyland guests unique river cruises for over 60 years. Walt Disney Imagineers designed the ride to immerse visitors in the setting of Frontierland, evoking 19th century fur trappers and pioneers. The attraction was originally conceived as Indian War Canoes, with guests paddling canoes manned by Native American guides around the Rivers of America. It opened in 1956 as part of a major expansion of Frontierland. In 1971, the ride was rethemed to tie in with the popular Davy Crockett miniseries aired on Disney’s television show. The new backstory had guests embarking on an expedition led by the famous frontiersman and Indian fighter.
Along with the name change came a redesign of the canoes and staff costumes. The boats were made to look more like wooden cargo canoes that would have been used by fur traders. Cast members wore coonskin caps and frontier attire. The scenic sights along the river were also updated to better reflect Crockett’s era, like the Pioneer Mercantile facades. When Bear Country opened in 1972, the attraction was incorporated into the new land, which later became Critter Country. Over the years, the charming canoe ride has delighted guests of all ages with its leisurely pace and unique perspective of classic Disneyland attractions. The Explorer Canoes remain a must-do for those looking to take in the park from the waters of the Rivers of America.
Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes is a delightful family boat ride that takes guests on a scenic paddle around Disneyland’s Rivers of America. With a knowledgeable guide leading the way, it’s a relaxing trip back to the days of early American pioneers and fur traders. The attraction has been offering unique river cruises since 1956, making it one of Disneyland’s classic rides.
Gliding around Tom Sawyer Island and past favorite Disney sights, it provides a one-of-a-kind on-the-water perspective. Riders of all ages can enjoy the canoe trip. Just be prepared to paddle! With a bit of teamwork, your canoe will smoothly make its way along the river, guided by a skipper evoking the frontier era. For a leisurely journey and special view of Disneyland, climb aboard Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: Located in Frontierland, this classic Disney roller coaster takes you on a thrilling ride through an old mining town in the Wild West. It’s known for its exciting twists, turns, and drops.
Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia: For a leisurely cruise along the Rivers of America, consider these two attractions. The Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia offer scenic views and provide a relaxing experience as you travel around Tom Sawyer Island.
Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island: Located within the Rivers of America, this island is an interactive playground where you can explore caves, bridges, and various themed areas inspired by the adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. It’s a great place for kids to burn off some energy.
Haunted Mansion: While not in Frontierland, the Haunted Mansion is very close by in New Orleans Square. This classic Disney attraction combines spooky fun with impressive special effects. It’s a must-visit for fans of the supernatural and ghostly tales.
Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes Review
The Final Word
Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes may not be the most high-octane or thrilling ride at Disneyland, but it offers a unique and memorable experience. With short wait times, a lack of height restrictions, and the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors, it's an attraction that can be enjoyed by the entire family.