A detailed guide telling you about the history & what you can expect at the Explorers Canoe attraction at Shanghai Disneyland

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The Explorer Canoes at Shanghai Disneyland are a fun and unique way to see parts of the theme park.

Unlike other attractions at Shanghai Disneyland, the Explorer Canoes are completely guest/human powered. And they are a continuation of a tradition that started at the original Disneyland park, back in 1956.

Canoe Ride at Disney Parks

The canoe ride at Disneyland in Anaheim, California is known as the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes. It was original called Indian War Canoes when it opened on July 4, 1956. At the time, it was part of an Indian Village expansion in Frontierland.

Here’s a list of all the canoe attractions at the different Disney theme parks all over the world:

  • Disneyland – Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes (opened 1956)
  • Magic Kingdom – Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes (1971-1994)
  • Tokyo Disneyland – Beaver Brothers Explorer Canoes (formerly named Davey Crockett Explorer Canoes, opened 1983)
  • Disneyland Paris – Indian Canoes (1992-1994)
  • Shanghai Disneyland – Explorer Canoes (opened 2016)

The Explorer Canoe Ride

The canoes in the ride are meant to resemble “dugout” canoes made out of tree trunks by native tribes of North America. However, the ride’s canoe is larger, as it can hold up to 20 people.

Unlike Disneyland’s canoe attraction, which is located in Frontierland, the ride in Shanghai Disneyland can be found in Treasure Cove (a pirate-themed land). The backstory to explain this involves a pirate-turned-businessman (well, nearly legitimate businessman) called “Bilge Rat” Bill. He’s the one who runs the canoe tours for residents and visitors of the fictional Spanish town in the area.

As for the ride itself, you’ll get a short lesson at the beginning on how to paddle the canoe. Although it’s in Mandarin, it’s very visual and shouldn’t be difficult for beginners to follow. And once you get started, there is a cast member who will both steer the canoe as well as do most of the work, if needed. There is also some narration by the cast member in Mandarin during the ride.

Things You’ll See During the Ride

In addition to the experience of paddling in a canoe, one of the best parts of this attraction is how you get to see different parts of the park from a new perspective. Specifically, you’ll get to see various landmarks in Treasure Cove and Adventure Isle. (Make sure to have your phone or camera ready for pictures and videos!)

You’ll pass by the following landmarks.

Off Dead Man’s Dock

The Fortress

This is a former Spanish stronghold that has been overrun by privateers. You can see this from a distance.

Shipwreck Shore Lookout

Shipwreck Shore is an interactive play park themed to a wrecked pirate ship. Kids can fire a water cannon at different targets… including the Explorer Canoes!

Wharf Dock

This is where you’ll find Siren’s Revenge, which is an interactive play area set in a wrecked galleon (that had been previously commandeered by Joshamee Gibbs, a good friend of Captain Jack Sparrow from The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise).

El Teatro Fandango

El Teatro Fandango is an impressive theater that houses Eye of the Storm: Captain Jack’s Stunt Spectacular.

You can also see:

  • Skull Island
  • Large Lighthouse Ruins

At Adventure Isle

The Stone Guardians

Adventure Isle is home to the Arbori People, who crafted these huge rock sculptures to honor animal spirits.

Apu Taku

You can spot this mountain in the distance.

Stone of the Sun & Moon

Music and dance performances can sometimes be seen at this gathering space.

On Ride Video

Want to get a better idea of what the ride experience is like? Check out this on ride video from the opening weekend of Shanghai Disneyland.

Know Before You Go

If you’re planning a trip to Shanghai Disneyland, keep in mind that Explorer Canoes follow a different schedule from other rides, as it shuts down in the middle of the afternoon. It can also shut down due to inclement weather.

Shanghai Disneyland Tickets

Don’t forget to get your park tickets before your visit! Click here for a variety of ticket options, including an Early Bird Ticket (booked at least 10 days in advance), 5th Anniversary Limited Time Offer 1 Day Ticket, 2 Day Ticket, Annual Passes, and more.

Further Reading

If you would like to find out more about this attraction & other Shanghai Disney attractions, I recommend getting this book. It helped me tremendously in writing this blog entry!