Disneyland’s 50th Canoe Race

It has been 50 years since the first canoe race event took place at the Disneyland park.  On hand for this year’s event were Ray Van De Walker and Bob Penfield.  Assembled for the races were 80 teams and several volunteers to make this a memorable event.

Teams competed in trials over the span of 5 weeks, all leading to today’s finals.  The winners included the OAR Lords for the mens’ division, United for the co-ed, and DC Anchorladies for the womens’ division.

Each team competes by paddling around the Rivers of America for one lap.  The best times advance, and the final best time wins.  When all is said and done, the winners get to do a victory lap around the Rivers before being presented with medals and trophies.  The trophies include names of past winners.

It was an exciting event and competition!  The crowd’s enthusiasm helped teams compete well.  The camaraderie was portrayed as each team paddled in unison around the water way.  It was a fun morning with many cast members and family gathered at the Hungry Bear Restaurant to cheer teams on.

Here’s the official press release and the results below:

Disneyland Cast Canoe Races Celebrate 50th Anniversary

ANAHEIM, Calif. – August 7, 2013 – The Disneyland Resort marks 50 years of friendly competition with the annual cast canoe races around the Rivers of America.

Over the span of 50 years, thousands of Disney cast members have teamed up to take on fellow cast members along the banks of the Rivers of America, competing for the fastest time around the 1,410 foot long river before the park opens guests. Teams range from eight to 10 participants, from all over the west coast, including Disneyland, the Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering. The top teams complete the course in less than five minutes, with a record of 3:55:50, set in 1974.

The event has grown from a one-day challenge between two teams of Disneyland cast members to a month-long event that inspired the Canoe Races of the World at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year; the canoe races at Tokyo Disneyland, celebrating 30 years this year; the kayak races at Disneyland Paris, which began in 1992; and the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, that started in 2008 at Hong Kong Disneyland.

The first race was held in 1963, when the foreman of the Indian War Canoe attraction, Ray Van De Warker, along with Jungle Cruise foreman, Bob Penfield, challenged their respective areas to a race after witnessing a group of athletic tourists race around the river. The following year, Ron Doyle from the former Disneyland Recreation Club, transformed the one-time event into the yearly tradition Disney cast members have grown to cherish.

The event is one of many activities available to Cast Members that build camaraderie and organically promote personal health and wellness. Other health and wellness offerings include cast walking leagues, and nutrition and fitness classes.

50th Annual Disneyland Resort Canoe Races
OVERALL FINALS (Wednesday, Aug. 7)

Men’s Division
1st – OAR lords (3:57.45)
2nd – DC Anchormen (4:02.84)
3rd – Crush (4:19.04)
4th – Mouse-Ka-Noers Men (4:19.85)

Women’s Division
1st – DC Anchorladies (4:26.29)
2nd – Trouble from Paradise (4:32.42)
3rd – Two Bit Oars (4:43.06)
4th – SynOARgy (4:47.17)

Coed Division
1st – United (4:12.67)
2nd – Pier Pressure (4:31.36)
3rd – NOCC-CT UP (4:39.89)
4th – Mouse-Ka-Noers Coed 1(4:45.76)

SPRINT FINALS (Tuesday, Aug. 6)
Competition between 5th-8th place teams in each division

Men’s Winners: DCA GC
Women’s Winners: Mouse-Ka-Noers Women
Coed Winners: Let it Row

# # #

About Disneyland Resort
Located on approximately 500 acres in Anaheim, Calif., the Disneyland Resort features two spectacular theme parks – Disneyland (the original Disney theme park) and Disney California Adventure park – plus the Downtown Disney District comprised of unique dining, entertainment and shopping experiences. The Resort’s three hotels are the 948-room Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, the 969-room Disneyland Hotel and the 481-room Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. With 25,000 cast members, the Disneyland Resort is Orange County’s largest employer and a $4.7 billion annual contributor to the local economy. The Resort has welcomed more than 650 million guests since opening on July 17, 1955. For detailed information about the Disneyland Resort, please visit www.disneyland.com.



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