The Riverboat Returns to Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

February 5, 2021, 1:22 PM · The Rivers of America are back at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Disney refilled the Rivers and returned the Liberty Belle riverboat to its rebuilt track under the waterway this morning.

The Rivers have been drained since October, during which time the riverboat was in dry dock at Disney's maintenance facility on the northern shore of Bay Lake, getting a refurbishment. But that meant that the Liberty Belle had to sail across Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon and then up the canal that runs behind Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain and Bug Thunder Mountain and connects to the Rivers of America.

You can zoom in on this Google Map to see what I'm talking about. And Disney has put out a video showing highlights of that trip.

Once back in Liberty Square, the riverboat has to be connected to the track on the riverbed, which requires divers. Just so you know, the riverboat is the only watercraft on the Rivers of America that runs on a rail. The rafts to Tom Sawyer Island float freely and are driven by their cast members, as were the keelboats and canoes that used to run on Walt Disney World's Rivers of America, too.

I tell plenty of stories about working on the Rivers of America in Stories from a Theme Park Insider. And I worked there during a previous draining of the Rivers, which led to a, uh, messy situation. Don't throw turkey legs into the water!

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Replies (2)

February 5, 2021 at 6:12 PM

A question for you Insiders who know: Could the Riverboat have theoretically traveled across the Seven Seas Lagoon under its own power instead of being towed?

February 5, 2021 at 8:56 PM

I think it's more a question of navigation than propulsion. But I wasn't trained on Riverboat, so I defer to anyone who was.

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