Disneyland targets summer 2017 for Rivers of America return
When Disneyland closed its Rivers of America to reroute its northern section to accommodate the construction of Star Wars Land, the park said that the rivers and its attractions would reopen sometime next year.
Now, Disneyland's narrowed that window — to the summer of 2017. Disneyland announced today that the Mark Twain riverboat, the Sailing Ship Columbia, the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes, Tom Sawyer Island, and Fantasmic! will return next summer. The Disneyland Railroad will resume its Grand Circle Tour around the park then, too.
The 14-acre Star Wars Land construction site occupies several acres of previously back-of-house land north of the park's boundary, as well as the old Big Thunder Ranch area and part of what was the Rivers of America. Disney is digging a new channel for the rivers on the north side of Tom Sawyer Island, cutting off some of the previously unoccupied section of the island north of the fort. Along the far side of the river, the Disneyland Railroad will travel along a new section of track, perched upon an elevated trestle, as it steams past the rivers on its tour around the park.
Tom Sawyer Island was my former attraction at the Walt Disney World Resort, and I've long felt it underrated by fans as the first truly immersive, self-contained, multi-attraction themed area within a theme park. (I mentioned it last week in our list of unique Disney attractions and I have included gobs of stories about my time working on the island and driving its rafts in Stories from a Theme Park Insider.) The entire Rivers of America creates what might be the most visually engaging and delightfully kinetic scene in any theme park land, with multiple types of watercraft and the secluded wooden play area on the island. Its presence has been missed at Disneyland this year, and I am looking forward to its return next summer.
I guess it's too much to ask for Star Wars Land to open in 2018...although they've already started vertical construction. Maybe Harry Potter will make them hurry it along.
Still don't see SWL opening until the summer of 2020 at the earliest, with a soft opening in early 2020. Also, from what I hear, USH isn't really all that crowded now that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has opened.Several times now, USH has lowered the price of their annual passes and increased its benefits in the hopes of bringing in higher attendance. I also hear that on a lot of days, USH doesn't even open the new ET parking structure. Furthermore, I'm glad to hear that the ROA are finally reopening soon. Also glad to hear that Fantasmic will be getting major upgrades. I just hope that they didn't shorten the ROA by too much. Rumors from earlier this year indicated that the ROA was going to be at least 35% shorter. I'm hoping that number is closer to 20% or less.
In order to increase annual passes, Universal needs a reason for people to come on weekdays after work. I think the Disneyland APers like to come after work to have dinner, ride a few rides, and see Paint the Night and/or fireworks.
"from what I hear, USH isn't really all that crowded now that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has opened."
I was hopeful with all the construction for an early opening to SW Land, but it's pretty clear that most everything vertical so far is RR and RoA related.
Robert - I've yet to visit WWOHP at USH yet. The projection show during grand opening was amazing, but is there enough space for viewing to make it worth turning it into a nightly event?
I think its a zoning issue as for why there's no nighttime show. The city just won't allow it. The neighbors are pretty close by, just down the hill. The best way to resolve the issue is an enclosed amphitheater with no fireworks. They should turn Water World into an evening venue. Perhaps instead of using it as Diagon Alley, the arena becomes a Hogswart School show with the man who no one should speak his name.
FACT: USH thought that upon opening WWOHP they would experience the SAME attendance and merchandising bump as UO. They have not. As such, they have rapidly begun reversing course NOT on park admission pricing, but on AP Black Out days. A significant number of Black Out days have been dropped. It's a clear sign their attendance goals are not being met. Doubt it?
Actually, Comcast reported that attendance and spending were up in Hollywood. It's Orlando that's lagging. And this is for the previous quarter, anyway -not the current month, in which attendance is the busiest I've ever seen it at USH.
Let's be clear...
I want Universal to succeed for two reasons, (1) So less APers will crowd Disneyland, and (2) So Disney will finally create attractions and lands to equal or exceed Harry Potter.
(Possibly related...) The latest shock that Tower of Terror is made into Guardians of the Galaxy. Disney's latest proposal means the destruction of a cohesive Hollywood Backlot in California Adventure that they worked so hard to correct. They are still getting over the shock of Frozen Ever After replacing the beloved and neglected Maelstrom ride in Epcot. The awful destruction of classics. Look at what they did with Living Seas by adding Nemo. The sacrilege.
From everything I've heard, Star Wars Land at Disneyland is on target for a May 2019 opening to coincide with the release of Star Wars Episode IX. The land may start previews and soft openings well in advance of this date to prevent a million or more guests descending on the resort at once, as this land is predicted to be more popular than the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter. They are spending as much money as needed to make sure the land opens on time, because if they aren't ready it would be an enormous missed opportunity.
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.