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How Well Do You Know Disney's Rivers of America?

October 25, 2015, 9:03 PM · Disneyland's Rivers of America is closing for more than a year in January. And when it returns in 2017, it will have a different course than the one it has followed for the many decades since its opening, due to the construction of Star Wars Land. So this is the last opportunity for Disney fans to enjoy the Rivers in its current form.

Rivers of America at Disneyland

How much do you know about the Rivers of America? In my Orange County Register column this week, I look at some fun things to know about this Frontierland icon and the attractions that call it home: Neat facts about Disneyland's Rivers of America


Let's take a look back at the attraction's history, its design and recent improvements, and bring it all together with a personal story or two. Whether you enjoy the Rivers of America in Anaheim, Orlando, or Tokyo, please tell us in the comments your favorite thing about this collection of classic Disney theme park attractions.

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Replies (9)

October 25, 2015 at 10:49 PM · I hate that so many things will be closed, changed or eliminated just to build Star Wars. It should have been put in Tomorrowland or a new park.
Rance Allyn
October 25, 2015 at 10:59 PM · Living in the Southwest I see the Rio Grande every day. It's pretty awesome to know that a little part of home is recreated in Disneyland!
October 26, 2015 at 6:53 AM · The one time I visited Disneyland was during the major refurb in 2010, so I was never able to visit. Since I live all the way on the other side of the country (in Florida) and we're saving up for a trip to Europe, so I will never unfortunately never see Disneyland's Rivers Of America in it's current form. :/

But, Robert, all your recent postings about the Rivers have made me appreciate them more and want to visit ours more often. My two favorite parts have always been the caves and fort on Tom Sawyer Island. Caves to me have always been appealing as they always have a feel of mystery and exploration. The fort itself was always fun to explore, and I like the guns on the second story which I would use to pretend to shoot the riders on BTMR.........which sounds kinda screwed up now that I think about it. Speaking of which, I think the 2 Mountains are a wonderful addition to Frontierland and do not ruin the theming and immersion (maybe it does for some certain people, but I think that's getting a little nitpicky.)

October 26, 2015 at 9:45 AM · I did not know some of those facts. Thanks Robert
October 26, 2015 at 11:16 AM · As a kid, I loved the "fake" villages and animals.

As an adult I love how it presents what a river and the fauna & flora are like to those that can't or don't want to experience the real thing.

It's also a much slower and calmer side of the parks... sure you fall in line for some of the attractions on the Rivers, but you just see things while you're there as you want to see them. No conflict, no thrills, no fear of falling etc.

October 26, 2015 at 12:20 PM · I've ridden the Mark Twain recently, and to tell the truth, the river can afford to be shortened. It's long stretches of nothing much to see. I think it will be good tightened up a bit. Sure you're losing a peaceful, tranquil part of the park, but with the rest of the park so crowded, it makes sense to utilize this space.
October 26, 2015 at 12:58 PM · My favorite experience is the canoes. Although some people seem to not like the canoes for this reason, the chance to grab an oar and help paddle the canoe around the river feels so different from any other experience at the park. As the guide usually says, if no one paddles, we're not going to make it all the way around the river back to the dock.

It's like a Legoland experience for adults and older kids, and the complete opposite experience from passively sitting and watching something happening in front of you (and a lot less frenetic than a shooting ride like Buzz Lightyear or Voyage to the Iron Reef, which are essentially glorified video games).

October 29, 2015 at 8:42 AM · Such a shame that so much is going to be lost to house attractions that belong no where near Disneyland.

I couldn't care less about Star Wars, but have no problem with it being built.

It just shouldn't be in the Disneyland/Magic Kingdom, its an absolute thematic mess.

It should either have been a third gate (preferably) or even in DCA (not that it fits the theme there either).

Though Disney seems to have stopped caring a penny about matching a theme, Star Wars, Frozen in Epcot, Avatar in AK. Each one is a complete departure from the established theme and each is a travesty.

October 29, 2015 at 10:21 AM · Disney's Imagineers are destroying Walt's Disneyland. As they plan and scheme how to make more money, they're destroying the landscape of the park. They're destroying the magic. Star Wars does not belong in Disneyland. It certainly does not deserve its own land. Even worse, they're taking away from something that has been part of the park's design from its inception. The story has always been that Disneyland is land locked. Now, they expand by using land they've had all along for offices (which they should have done a long time ago)only to build Star Wars crap! If they were going to build another land, it should have been the Land of Oz. It would have been amazing, but it wouldn't be as popular as let's say Harry Potter. Nor would it help Disney promote its new Star Wars franchise. If they had to put Star Wars garbage in Disneyland, they should have put it in Tomorrowland. What they really should have done was build another park to include a Star Wars Land and a Marvel Land. They need to start asking themselves, "What would Walt have done?" and stop being so full of themselves.

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