Being reported by Theme Park Insider…..
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.
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