Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America Attractions Return to Disneyland Park this Summer with New Magic

When the iconic Disneyland Railroad and the Rivers of America attractions return to Disneyland this summer, guests will discover new magic aboard these classic experiences. As we first shared last year, and seen in the artist’s rendering below (courtesy of Walt Disney Imagineering), the gorgeous new north bank of the Rivers of America will feature a beautiful new waterfront and an elevated trestle over which the iconic Disneyland Railroad will travel.

The Rivers of America will continue to celebrate the Mississippi, Columbia, Missouri and Rio Grande rivers, enhanced now with a new Columbia Gorge section, highlighted by thundering waterfalls – signaling the return of large waterfalls to the rivers. Longtime Disneyland park fans will remember Big Thunder River Waterfall and Twin Sisters Waterfall; five spectacular new waterfalls along the Rivers of America harken back to these favorites – all on display for guests aboard the Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia and Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes.

Guests will also experience these features from aboard the Disneyland Railroad, which will travel across the rocks on a trestle that will even extend onto the river, providing a breathtaking view of the new waterfalls. And, for the first time ever, the Disneyland Railroad will be making a left-hand turn as it circles the park.

The Indian Village Found Along the Rivers of America

In addition to the new waterfalls, Disneyland park fans will spot some familiar faces along the Rivers of America as well as throwbacks to Frontierland’s past. The Indian Village, now in a new location, will include a more prominently featured Shaman, seen telling the story of how the hummingbird taught the Indian chief to make a flute.

Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America Attractions to Reopen Summer 2017 at Disneyland

Over the past few weeks, The Disney Parks Blog has been sharing stories about the original Disneyland park attractions that guests have loved for more than 60 years. Today, Disney announced that the Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America will reopen summer 2017 at Disneyland park.

This includes all attractions along the Rivers of America:

  • “Fantasmic!”
  • Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia
  • Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
  • Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes

DL Mark Twain

The new northern bank of the Rivers of America is the latest in a 60-year evolution of this classic waterway. This Disneyland original has been taking guests on a journey along four iconic American rivers since it opened on July 17, 1955. On opening day, there was just one way to travel the rivers … on board the Mark Twain Riverboat.

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One year later, in 1956, traffic on the Rivers of America picked up significantly with the addition of Indian War Canoes (now known as Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes) and Tom Sawyer Island Rafts (which took guests to the newly opened Tom Sawyer Island).

DL Rivers of America Columbia

Then in 1958, another large watercraft joined Mark Twain Riverboat on trips around the Rivers of America. Sailing Ship Columbia is an exact replica of the 18th century merchant vessel, Columbia Rediviva, the first American ship to circumnavigate the globe, and the namesake of Oregon’s Columbia River.

The next significant change to the Rivers of America came in 1966 with the addition of New Orleans Square. Now guests could take a genteel stroll along the banks of the Mississippi River (one of four sections on the waterway), enjoying live music along with a lovely view.

DL Rivers of America Fantasmic

In 1992, the quiet New Orleans Square nights were replaced by a fantastical journey into Mickey Mouse’s imagination with the debut of “Fantasmic!” Quickly a guest favorite, the show went on to also delight guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort.

And next year, history will be made on the Rivers of America once again with a gorgeous new riverbank and an elevated trestle over which the iconic Disneyland Railroad will travel. For now, be sure to stop by the Main Street and New Orleans Square stations now to get an up-close look at the steam engines of the Disneyland Railroad, and we’ll be back with a look at how the railroad has changed through the years while remaining a Disneyland icon.

Get ready to hit the rails and the water again when Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America attractions reopen, summer 2017!

Disneyland Releases Concept Art for New Rivers of America

The Rivers of America and the Disneyland Railroad at Disneyland park in Southern California have closed temporarily as Disneyland prepares to bring an all-new Star Wars-themed land to the park.

To carve out space for the new land, the company is rerouting the Disneyland Railroad, shortening the Rivers of America and likely shrinking Tom Sawyer Island.

When these areas reopen, the north bank of the Rivers of America will have a beautiful new waterfront.

DL - New Rivers of America

As you can see from this artist’s rendering, courtesy of Walt Disney Imagineering, this gorgeous new riverbank will also feature an elevated trestle over which the iconic Disneyland Railroad will travel.

 

Disneyland Closing Attractions Temporarily to Make Room for ‘Star Wars’ Land

Star Wars Land Concept Art

To make room for construction of a 14-acre “Star Wars” themed land, Disneyland Resort officials announced today several popular attractions will close for a year at Disneyland, including the railroad, Fantasmic! and most everything along the Rivers of America.

And, the Big Thunder Ranch, which houses a barbecue restaurant, petting zoo and the Jamboree stage, will close permanently on Jan. 10, Disneyland officials said on their parks blog.

On the same day, all four train stations along the Disneyland Railroad, the nightly Fantasmic! show, the Mark Twain Riverboat, the Sailing Ship Columbia, the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes and the Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyer Island will close temporarily. Disneyland officials said work is expected to take a year, but did not set a date for when these attractions will return to action.

Cast members will be offered other roles during the temporary closures.

News of the closings comes on the heels of The Walt Disney Co. Chief Operating Officer Tom Staggs’s announcement last month that construction of the “Star Wars” land in both Disneyland and Walt Disney World will begin in 2016.

Disneyland’s expansion is part of a $1 billion investment agreement made with the city of Anaheim in July in exchange for a continued ban on collecting a gate tax. Disneyland officials said it will also build a 5,000-spot parking structure nearby.

As part of the deal, construction must begin no later than the end of 2017, and additions be completed by December 2024.

Disney officials previously said the new “Star Wars” land at Disneyland will be built in the northern part of Frontierland and will encompass the Big Thunder Ranch, some backstage areas and the Circle D Ranch, where the horses are stabled. Disneyland officials said the ranch and horses will be moved to a nearby off-property location.

The Big Thunder Ranch area is mostly a way station for people passing through Fantasyland and Frontierland. The Jamboree is typically closed except when it is used for special Disney events or is rented for corporate parties or by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, who recently used the space for a birthday party for their daughter. Disneyland officials did not say what would become of the goats, horses and cow that sometimes appear in the petting zoo.

The “Star Wars” area will be the largest single-themed land expansion at Disneyland, and will be the most “immersive,” Staggs said last month.

The land is described as a remote trading outpost on a never-before-seen “Star Wars” planet populated by humanoids, aliens and droids. It will feature two signature attractions: one will put riders at the controls of the Millennium Falcon spaceship, and the other will drop visitors into the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance.

Visitors will also be able to eat and drink at a cantina similar to the famed Mos Eisley Cantina from the films.

From the Orange County Register