Disneyland confirms Rivers of America will be re-routed for Star Wars Land

Edited: September 30, 2015, 7:23 AM

This afternoon, another Disney/theme park website ran an article claiming that, among other things, both the Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America will be re-routed and heavily modified as part of the construction of the new Star Wars Land: http://micechat.com/111703-miceage-star-wars-disneyland/

Tonight, on its Twitter feed, @DisneylandToday confirmed that the Rivers of America would be re-routed when it re-opens after the closure related to Star Wars Land construction starting next year: http://micechat.com/111703-miceage-star-wars-disneyland/

In case the post disappears, here is the exchange:

Zach Breashears (?@ZachTWB):
@DisneylandToday Will the Rivers of America be rerouted for Star Wars Land?

Disneyland Today ?(@DisneylandToday):
@ZachTWB Hi, Zach. The Rivers of America will have a new route when it reopens.

Replies (11)

September 30, 2015, 12:34 AM

So I guess it's likely to be down for a significant period. We're aiming to get to DLR next September/October and I was hoping Tom Sawyer's playground would be open

September 30, 2015, 3:21 AM

There will be growing pains, to be sure, but if I had to, I would give up all of Rivers of America for Star Wars Land. #ProgressAsPromised

September 30, 2015, 4:10 AM

James, I have to disagree with you. Change the route, reconfigure Tom Sawyer Island if necessary, that's ok, but lose the entire thing? I think that it is too iconic to totally throw away. I think that places like that, where guests can "decompress" from the go-go-go atmosphere and can slow down a bit, and where kids can go, run, play and explore on their own without a carefully designed plan and can create their own storyline is important in a place like Disneyland. Star Wars Land will be fun, but in its own way Rivers of America and Tom Sawyer Island are much more important. Sacrificing one for the other would be a disservice to the guests and the entire vision of Disneyland that Mr. Disney had. He said that Disneyland will never be finished, but just like an author writing a book, when he writes a new chapter he doesn't throw away Chapter 1 unless it doesn't work for some reason, and Rivers of America and Tom Sawyer Island do work and have for sixty years.

Edited: October 1, 2015, 4:57 PM

I did write, "...if I had to, I would give up all of Rivers of America for Star Wars..." and I would. But thankfully, I don't have to do so. Disney is making a lot of really good decisions right now, and instead of just getting rid of classic attractions they are adjusting as best as possible to support both the old and the new in the parks. Kudos to them.

On the other hand, I would give up just about any attraction (except DL's Pirates, Orlando's Tower of Terror, DL's Indy, Haunted Mansion, RSR, and Splash Mountain) for Star Wars - if necessary.

September 30, 2015, 8:35 AM

I would like to know how the railroad is impacted as this will be affected from the rivers reroute.

September 30, 2015, 10:57 AM

I am the biggest Tom Sawyer Island/Rivers of America fan there is online, but I'm okay with this.

First, the necessary caveats. Changing the ROA route addresses the problem getting to 14 acres without removing some backstage facilities that really couldn't be moved. Disneyland has confirmed that the ROA route will change, but we haven't yet seen a definitive plan for how the route will change, and no, I'm not accepting Micechat's map as gospel here. Let's remember that they were insisting that Star Wars Land was going into Toontown up until the moment Disneyland confirmed that it wasn't.

That said, given what we knew about the SWL site, either the railroad was going to go through Star Wars Land (as it goes through Splash Mountain) or the railroad route was going to have to change. Changing the route to infringe upon the ROA is fine with me provided that the public areas of Tom Sawyer Island remain intact and that all current river traffic can continue to navigate the rerouted river. In other words - no loss of attractions on the ROA.

A shorter ROA could allow for more cycles per hour on the river attractions, but that would mean more instances when the rafts have to hold for that traffic to clear, which would hurt TSI's capacity. Ultimately, I don't think that the shorter ROA will lead Disney to run more cycles on the river attractions. Either the rides run slower, or spend more time in dock loading/unloading.

My dream would be that Disney would take this opportunity to redesign the scenes on the "back" of the ROA to create a more dynamic and less hokey experience. And that it might provide some TLC to repair and improve the play areas on TSI. I am not holding my breath on those happening, but I am holding some hope.

There's plenty of opportunity here to improve the guest experience while maintaining the spirit and atmosphere of the Rivers of America. I can't understand why some people are getting indignant over just the idea that the ROA might change. If this is such a dreadful affront to Walt's vision for the park, what were building Big Thunder, Splash Mountain or Space Mountain, then? All of those fundamentally reshaped the park. And all of them are beloved today.

September 30, 2015, 10:58 AM

So this explains why a 15-18 month closure is necessary. While some purists will disagree, I personally think this is a good move for the park. All theme parks need to add new attractions, and once space becomes tight it is necessary to remove the old to build the new. Fortunately, Disneyland is only altering the Rivers of America and Disneyland Railroad, not removing them, and to be honest I doubt many non-AP guests will notice that half of Tom Sawyer's Island is gone (the section being removed is inaccessible) or that the river is 25% shorter. Plus, at least in the case of the Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia, this change will actually result in an increased capacity for those attractions.

September 30, 2015, 11:28 AM

Disney always find the path of least resistance. Changing the ROA route might provide more space without worse decisions. I guess they are spared from having to demolish Toontown. What about other rumors shared in Miceage? The Fantasyland Theater is might disappear. Fantasyland will have another expansion. Tomorrowland might get an upgrade. Not discussed... will there be a path from Critter Country to SWL? With a smaller ROA, the path will obviously be shorter walk and more feasible.

October 5, 2015, 11:30 PM

It's simply amazing how fast construction was announced at Disneyland. I think Anaheim will get theirs first. You think Florida would, but they haven't made any construction announcements except the closing of the Osbourne Light Festival.

October 6, 2015, 8:32 AM

I think all the decisions are happening behind the scenes. They are on the tail end of finishing Disney Springs, Frozen, and Avatar. There's nothing to stop them from beginning construction of Toy Story Land and it is expected to finish before Star Wars Land. Toy Story construction can happen out of public view since it is in the former backlot area. There's just so much that needs to happen at DHS like new road to the parking lot and the closure of many more attractions like Muppets, The Little Mermaid, One Man's Dream. New infrastructure. A new park name (?) Things will fall into place eventually as it always does.

October 6, 2015, 1:51 PM

I really hope they invest in life like animatronics on the river. The current static sun faded animals just look ridiculous. And perhaps removing the burning cabin since that is no longer running.

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