The annual Cast Canoe Races at Disneyland began in 1963 when employees, who Walt Disney calls cast members, challenged one another to a race.
Nearly 50 years later, the event has evolved into a gathering with more than 600 Disney cast members,on 72 teams rowing around the Rivers of America in canoes from Davy Crochett's Explorer Canoes.
At dawn on Wednesdays, before the park opens, 12 teams in 3 divisions competed for bragging rights and medals in front of a crowd of 250 family members and friends.
The 4 finalist teams in each division-men, women and coed- were comprised of 8 to 10 rowers per canoe. The teams started and finished at the Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes dock, one at a time, rowing the quarter-mile lap around Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island. The teams were timed.
Cast members of the Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes swept the divisions, taking first in the men's,women's and coed divisions. The men's team won it's 12th title by circling the course in 4 minutes,6.72 seconds; the women finished in 4 minutes,38.09 seconds, while the coed winners won in 4 minutes, 21.20 seconds.
Teams practice before the park opens to guests.
Having worked at Club 33, I would sit and watch all this from Club 33,a birds eye view...DR LEE