February 2001 – September 2010
Paradise Pier – Guests looking to explore the SS Rustworthy could find the abandoned ship on the shore of Paradise Bay, across from the patio seating on the Boardwalk. Today, the walkway extends further into the bay, so the SS Rustworthy’s location between Jumpin’ Jellyfish and the patio is now completely covered by the main path to Mickey’s Fun Wheel.
California Adventure was originally designed for a largely adult audience. The SS Rustworthy was one of the only attractions designed specifically for children, and its location next to Paradise Pier’s largest dining area made it the perfect place for parents and children to relax and unwind after a busy day hopping parks. For nine years, the SS Rustworthy was the largest play area in California Adventure, and its closure in 2010 marked one of the first steps in the park’s major renovation and expansion.
As an open play area, the SS Rustworthy had a number of interactive activities and structures to explore. The stern of the ship was a detached lookout tower, with telescopes and water cannons set up along the edge. The main ship structure was a mix of a tree house and jungle gym, with several levels to climb and explore. Each level had a different interactive feature, from radar to bells to horns. At the base of the ship, guests could stand behind firefighter sculptures and fire stationary water hoses at each other, ride spring-mounted surfboards, or play with water guns. No matter what activities guests participated in, a trip aboard the SS Rustworthy was pretty much a guaranteed wet and wild adventure.
Source: Static Flickr
Though the SS Rustworthy was a large and centrally located attraction, the play area was never very popular with guests. By 2010, Disney announced the specific plans to transform Paradise Pier as part of the park’s expansion and renovation, and the entire boardwalk was to take on a Victorian style. The SS Rustworthy no longer fit into Paradise Pier, and Imagineers removed the ship in order to enlarge the main walkway and provide more open views of Paradise Bay.
McDonald’s was the official sponsor of the SS Rustworthy from 2001-2008.
The SS Rustworthy had a plaque explaining the story of the ship’s name: Paradise Pier’s fire boat, the SS Trustworthy, ran aground awhile back and has since been rechristened the SS Rustworthy and transformed into a hands-on play zone. Here firefighters of all ages can do all the bell-ringing, level-pulling, and wheel-turning they want – and even activate the water cannons!
A piece of the SS Rustworthy was dismantled in 2009, thus making the ship the first change in California Adventure’s transformation.