Her return may be a little later than expected (original refurbishment schedules stated she would be finished by the end of April), but… here she is!

A sight many people worried would never be seen again, the park’s unique side-wheeler riverboat – like none at any other Disney park – has begun cruising the Rivers of the Far West once more! And, with gleaming new paintwork and a full refurbishment and refit inside and out across the entire ship, she’s now looking more unsinkable than ever before.

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With her return to the waters, the Molly Brown’s partner at Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing – the Mark Twain – has now rested into the service dock for a well-earned rest and another full refurbishment, cleaning up and repainting the ship which has taken over service on his own for more than a year.

The full refurbishment comes after a serious incident on-board the ship during March 2005 in which her engine overheated, causing considerable smoke damage to much of the ship’s funnel area and rendering her immobile at the far end of the Rivers of the Far West. Guests had to be ferried ashore using the Raccoon and Coyote River Rogue Keelboats, with the “unsinkable” ship then laying dormant in the river until September of that year, when the Mark Twain’s dry dock refurbishment was completed and the ships could exchange places.

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The Mark Twain didn’t resume even a limited service until early 2006, and the Molly Brown’s own refurbishment was not begun until as late as September 2006. We wrote an article at the time dicussing the appeal from a work union at the resort to fix the ship – and how they appeared to be unaware that the ship was already pencilled in for its epic refurbishment to begin on 4th September and last until 27th April 2007!

Now, the Molly Brown has returned brighter than ever, the Mark Twain is about to be given another well-earned refurbishment and – thanks to their heroic “rescue” of guests during the incident itself, the River Rogue Keelboats are even due to return in under two weeks from now. In her own way, the unsinkable Molly Brown has absolutely guaranteed that the river traffic of Frontierland will never be sunk.

All photos by Photos Magiques. You can see more at their latest update here.

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