Passengers enter the attraction through a chain queue that winds in front of the loading dock. A lighthouse at the queue's entrance was once a ticket booth from when Disneyland required tickets for riding individual attractions. Storybook Land canal boats originally required a "D" coupon.
The motor-driven boats are scaled-down replicas of Dutch, English, and French boats. All of the boats are named after female Disney characters except for Flower (retired), the male skunk from Bambi. Passengers are seated along the edges of the boat, facing inward, although children are sometimes permitted to ride on the front flat part of the boat. A costumed guide sits just above the passengers on the back of the boat, perched above the engine housing, and narrates the ride.
After departing from the dock, the boat passes through a short cave sculpted to look like Monstro, the whale that swallowed Pinocchio. Monstro is partially animated: his eye opens and closes, and periodically steam comes out of his blow hole.
The canals past the Monstro cave are landscaped with miniature trees and shrubs. Along the banks are small buildings representing the homes of characters from Disney animated films, although not all the locations were actually depicted in film. Many of these settings feature sound recordings of characters singing or working.
The miniature settings include:
- The pigs' homes from The Three Little Pigs
- An English village, with a church and the entrance to the White Rabbit's hole, from Alice in Wonderland
- London Park from Peter Pan
- The Sultan's palace from Aladdin
- The Cave of Wonders from Aladdin
- The dwarfs' cottage and mine from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
- The village from Cinderella, featuring a gold-spired castle
- Toad Hall from The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
- Village of Arendelle from Frozen, featuring Anna and Elsa's castle, Wandering *Oaken's Trading Post, and Elsa's ice palace
- Cobblestone village with Geppetto's wood shop from Pinocchio
- Prince Eric's seaside castle from The Little Mermaid
- King Triton's underwater castle, partially hidden behind a waterfall, from The Little Mermaid
The boat then returns the passengers to the loading dock from which they boarded.
Because its entrance is located along the parks' parade route, the attraction closes approximately sixty minutes before any parades and reopens after the parade has passed. Due to time scheduling with Disneyland's Paint The Night parade, the attraction does not open again once closed for the nights parades.
Names of the Canal Boats:
11. Snow White
Cast off on a colorful canal boat for a “mini” tour of fairytale destinations seen in classic Disney animated movies.