Disneyland has just debuted the new look for its iconic Rivers of America after an 18-month rehab that included hacking off a chunk of the area and giving it to Star Wars Land (sorry, I mean “Galaxy’s Razr’s Edge” or whatever). I was not a fan of the idea, but I gotta say, I love the attention they’ve lavished on this area after years of neglect. They’ve also added some nifty new effects to the Grand Canyon Diorama (no, it’s OK! Don’t panic! You’ll see…) that were a treat to discover.
Quite unfortunately, only two of the Disneyland Railroad’s four trains were running on opening weekend (one conductor grimaced, “They had 18 months and one job!”), so Patrick and I waited an hour at New Orleans Square Station to get you these photos. Worth it! When we realized all the stations had been closed, we stayed on the train as long as they’d let us, eventually completing three Grand Circle Tours. I even got a video of the new Grand Canyon and Primeval Dioramas that gives you a feel for the new show effects—I’ll put that at the end of the post.
OK, first up is my perspective in the front row, looking off to the right of the train…
After we finally got off the train, we took the Mark Twain around the river once to get shots from a different perspective—and discovered some surprises!
I thought this nod to one of Marc Davis’ original concept pieces was new, but apparently it’s been there since 2010… and it used to have the skunk too!
Here’s a little bonus video of the new enhancements to the Grand Canyon + Primeval Dioramas… half of which you can’t really see in the video (like the tree that catches fire!) so get thee to Disneyland and check them out! (Also, the video starts off LOUD—thanks a heap, Ferde Grofé…)
Overall, the Rivers of America rehab looks pretty spiffy! I miss the extra section just because it made the train and boat rides longer and prettier, and I miss the larger, mature trees—this new look is very arid. Hopefully they planted new trees that will start to fill in over the years. And maybe they will bring back Marc Davis’ skunk! Other than that, though, I’m happy to see they really lavished attention on this area before reopening it.