Today we have a special Throwback Thursday as we take a final look at the Rivers of America at Disneyland which will be closing to make way for Star Wars Land.
Because apparently it doesn't matter that it's only closing for 18 months, that all of the attractions are actually coming back and it will give the park a chance to do some much needed work on the backside of the river.
Written by Gregg Condon
We're also apparently supposed to tell you all this is the worst thing ever, that Star Wars should be it's own park and that Big Thunder BBQ was the best place to eat and play with goats ever (well, the goats part is actually true). That's how this whole blogger thing works right?
Wait, is that the river the Falcon is flying over?
That bit of fun aside, here's what we know as of right now. The River IS indeed closing. It IS going to be closed for approximately 18 months as both the river and the railroad are rerouted to make room for Star Wars Land (no, Star Wars Land won't be open in 18 months). There have been no official blueprints, concept art or anything released for this part of the project.
So obviously according to most Disney online sites, this is the worst thing ever.
Never mind that this is Disneyland, the park people profess to love so much and has 60+ years of history of doing pretty awesome things in their back pocket. Because now, suddenly, they are going to forget all that and completely ruin the west side of the park.
The re-routing of attractions at Disneyland to make room for something is nothing new for this park. Both the Jungle Cruise and Monorail were re-routed to make room for Indiana Jones and we think that turned out pretty well.
Danger, they are moving stuff again and there's absolutely no history of them ever doing that before. =)
So today, even though it's still open for another few days, we take a look back at the way the river was, and soon we'll see the way the river will be and it will still be awesome.
We'll hopefully inject a bit of sanity into a subject that has gotten WAY too much coverage for something it's not.
Let's start off on the front side of the river, you know, the part that everybody see's unless they ride one of the boats or Railroad. Also, the part that will pretty much look exactly the same in 18 months.
(note: Due to no longer having Disneyland AP's these pictures are actually a few years old, so it technically is still a Throwback Thursday ... ;) )
The front side of the island. Still going to have Fantasmic and boats and canoes.
Will it look EXACTLY like this? Who knows. Nobody knows. Some changes aren't out of the question and wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.
Anybody remember what they did to the river when they put in the crowd favorite Fantasmic?
You can actually find some great pics of Fantasmic Construction on Bear-ytales.
So again, this is not an unprecedented thing for Disneyland.
Lafitte's Anchor ... probably won't be moved at all.
Ok, the ducks and cats will have to find a new home for awhile. They'll figure it out. They always do.
18 months of dry dock for the Columbia and Mark Twain is definitely going to be a good thing. Remember, these ships are 60 (Mark Twain) and 57 (Columbia) years old now and have had millions upon millions of riders.
So now let's take a look at what is changing. And see what all the hubbub is about.
But of course, this is only pure speculation because again, nobody knows exactly what is staying and going.
Moving towards the back-side of the island, which is reportedly going to be smaller when it reopens and no fort.
Not going anywhere
Prime opportunity for some upgrades to the Hungry Bear.
Based on rumors, the changes will begin on the other side of Hungry Bear and this portion of the river will go away.
Remember when this used to be on fire? Or when it almost ACTUALLY caught on fire?
How ... How are people so upset over this?
While sure, this is one of the most peaceful and tranquil parts of the park, in a park as stacked as Disneyland, this area has been ripe for change for a LONG time.
Something also tells me that this will somehow still be around, but obviously not in this spot. It's not like they are just going to build a wall on the backside of the riverbank.
Would people be as upset if this was being removed for Discovery Bay?
The fort has been closed for years (from the public) and is unlikely to return.
Anybody remember when this was actually an attraction? Sure, it's missed, but we've moved on.
It will be interesting to see what stays and what goes. But again, we have faith that Disney will do an amazing update to the river. This IS Disney we're talking about here.
Let's be serious for a moment ...
Are we all a bit sad that this part of the park is going away? Of course we are. We aren't completely heartless. And we do feel bad that so many people are sad about this, including some very close friends of ours.
Sure Star Wars could be it's own park (which wouldn't work). There ARE people out there who don't like Star Wars. What then?
It could be a part of DCA or a 3rd park along with Marvel and a few other things, but we aren't the ones who get to make those decisions. Despite all the $$ fans give Disney, it's just a drop in the proverbial bucket. At the end of the day, the people who are paying for it get to decide where it's going to go.
In our opinion, no IP, whether it be Star Wars, Indy, Cars, Avatar, Marvel, whatever, should have a bigger footprint than what is currently happening with Star Wars Land. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
After 60+ years of making themed attractions I hope it's safe to say that Disney has earned our trust and we can step back and let them do their thing. If we're wrong and the naysayers are right, we'll be the first to admit we were wrong. But we aren't going to sit here and bash something we haven't seen yet in order to drive website revenue. That's not anything we've ever done and we're not going start now.
So instead of mourning what's still there, how about let's just go and enjoy the last weekend of the existing river, and then in 18 months we'll reconvene and enjoy the first weekend of the new river. And I bet we have a great time.
Update: As we all know, this entire project turned out amazing, and is no longer talked about, just like all of the other "worst thing ever" to happen at Disneyland.