Moat around Cinderella's castle ever clear?

NelsonRD

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Happy Thanksgiving everybody, and one of the things we were doing this morning was watching some old footage of Disney World when I was a child in the early 80's. One particular part of the video caught my attention and started a small debate. The footage seems to show clear/treated water in the moat around the castle. However, it is difficult to see in the footage as the water mirrors the landscaping, and I was much to little to remember such a small detail.

Was the water in the moat ever treated and clear?
 

Goofyernmost

Well-Known Member
Advertisement
I don't know for a fact, but, if I had to guess I would have to say absolutely not. The moat is entirely to shallow and contains to many things under the service that would ruin the effect if it were clear. The ability to see to the bottom would ruin the show completely.
 

marni1971

WDW History nut
Premium Member
It was clearer than today. Often you could see the Swan Boat guides even when they intact. Oddly now they've gone the water is murkier. Though like said there's stuff in there now that isn't exactly show ready.

The hub water is topped up from the waterfall under the north east bridge. But add to that overflow from Jungle Cruise - whose water is deliberately dyed - plus the fact a lot more foliage today in the Adventureland canal area touches the water then it would naturally get darker.
 

Disneysea05

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
Yes
The moat around Tokyo's Cinderella Castle and hub areas has crystal clear water and looks beautiful. Wish it was possible in the U.S. Magic Kingdoms but the connected waterways would prevent it.
 

NelsonRD

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
This does make a little sense now. The video was recorded in the early 80's, and there is too much reflection to determine if it is crystal clear or not, but looking at the edge, it seems to be much cleaner than it is now.
 

dizda

Well-Known Member
It is interesting to know that the water was clearer in the past, yet there were still "backstage" elements below the surface and some were discernible.
 

Timon

Well-Known Member
The water loop in the park has changed. Originally the 20K water (clear) overflowed into the Northeast Bridge waterfall in the moat, then over the barrier into the Jungle Cruise where dye was added to to hide the boat guide wheel slot. From there to ROA and over the locks to 7 Seas Lagoon. Today the Northeast water fall recycles water from the moat and is topped off with ROA water.

You could easily see the bottom in the 80's and a special vacuum boat made from a modified Swan Boat cleaned the leaf litter and trash. It's not the worst thing in the world to have dark water but it also might have been a contributing reason the Tomorrowland entrance water falls went away or not replaced.

Today there extra pipes and conduits running on the moat sides and bottom so the dark water hides that from view.

Jungle Cruise Barrier at Cast Bridge (Moat (L), Jungle Cruise (R))

Tomorrowland Tower Fountains (Used "clear" moat water) Notice shadow of "original Swan Boat dock on bottom"


What looks like tire tracks are the remains of the "radio frequency" guide wires once used by the Swan Boats. When the boats sensed the boundry limits from these wires they would correct their steering more to the center of the path. Good concept, not so good in water and humid weather.
The 2 smaller pipes on the right are typical of the "added" backstage pipes for entertainment and audio.
Swan Boat Dock being dismantled

 

Timon

Well-Known Member
The Swan Boats didn't use a traditional track like the Riverboat or slot/guide wheel system like Jungle Cruise. Two pairs of wire were attached to the bottom of the moat and represented the boundaries (left and right) of the Swan Boat path thru the moat. Unfortunately there were technology problems in a water environment for both the wires and electronics often sending the boats on unscheduled detours to strange corners of the moat. Overall the boats were a maintenance problem. Unfortunately a simple track system could have solved the problem and have had this unique attraction to this day or at least until the moat was filled in.
 

marni1971

WDW History nut
Premium Member
The swan boat tracking system failed very early on and was deactivated.

After that they were manually controlled by two wheels - plus two throttles - that controlled the direction and power of two water jets under the boat, handling much like azipods on today's cruise ships. However they were very tricky to control and thus also needed underwater guides to avoid hitting things of value like the dock, the castle, the treehouse etc.

They were removed due to low capacity, maintainence issues - especially with the natural gas engines - and being difficult to drive. The theming of a plastic swan in Adventureland was also a concern.

The spillway between the Jungle Cruise into the hub waterway is the method of maintaining the Jungle Cruise water at the correct level. If you look the Cruise water is always a few inches higher than the hub and will occasionally lap over the dam.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Tom
Top Bottom