Video Shows Changes to Rivers of America

Heather Hust Rivera

by , Vice President, Consumer Products

In case you missed it, we revealed several changes to the recently-renovated Rivers of America in May, and today, we’re sharing some video that shows some of these enhancements.

Here’s a recap of some of the major changes:

  • The area was themed in a brand-new way and divided into four regions to resemble the areas around four U.S. rivers: the Mississippi, the Columbia, the Potomac and the Rio Grande.
  • A new, 2,500-foot track for the Mark Twain Riverboat and the Sailing Ship Columbia was installed for the first time since the park opened in 1955.
  • For the first time, live animals have been introduced to the banks of the river, and a corral was built just for them. Don’t miss the real, live horse in the video. It’s real – it’s not an Audio Animatronic!
  • The burning cabin was re-themed. The new resident of the cabin is none other than Mike Fink, Davy Crockett’s rival and later his friend. Mike Fink’s Keel Boat can now be found in front of the cabin.

There are several new scenes in the attraction, including:

  • Deer drinking from a creek
  • Native American braves on Tom Sawyer Island
  • Raccoons spied by a skunk
  • Mountain lions hiding in the grass

How many new scenes did you see in the video? Do you have a favorite addition that I haven’t mentioned here?


  • We went the day after it opened on the Davy Crockett canoes. A totally different view from the Mark Twain or Columbia.

    I was sad to see the old Mine train Trough Nature’s Wonderland car is gone. I thought park Imagineers lived by “gone but not forgotten “?

  • Glad to have it back open, last time I went it was drained and instead of boats there were trucks working on all the machinery. It looks amazing now, all the Indian braves, and the horses, deer, racoons- really makes it look good. Great improvement Disney! and thanks for the video.

  • As long as they got the river running in time for the cast member canoe races (priorities)

  • love the info, thanx greg!!

  • Glad I wasn’t the only one who’s first concern was for the horse. I do know that Disney horses are only allowed to work very small hours and very few days so I assume the horse would be treated well. Though the continuous noise and that gun can’t be to great on the horses nerves.

  • There is the same horse shown twice. Not two different horses of differing color. But I agree with everyone else that Disney takes great care of their animals and that they have a GREAT job! I for one am JEALOUS!:) The new stuff looks great and I can’t wait to go back!

  • The green color is the result of pouring in a special non-toxic powder mixture into the water which hides the tracks and creates a unique look. The “green system” as it’s called runs through the jungle cruise, the moat around the castle, storybook land, and all the way to fantasia gardens… former site of the Motor Boat Cruise. The “green system” is duplicated at all the Magic Kingdom style parks, with a new “blue system” designed for Tokyo DisneySea in Japan that makes the water of that park have a rich, almost otherworldly blue look!

  • I wonder how do they treat the water…is green again, but it doesnt stink.

  • I am so glad that there was an interest in the river! One of my favorite things to do to relax. Cant wait to see that water again next spring…because it was bone dry last April!

  • No, of course Disney takes good care of their animals! (and us peeps) I think the horse catches the eye because it’s the only non-audio-animatronic creature there! 😀

  • Why the worry about the poor horse? Disney takes excellent care of their animals. Do not worry about the horse. He has it made compared to most horses in the world. He has a job at Disneyland.

  • Those are the happiest horses on earth! Can’t wait to visit and ride the Rivers of America. It looks beautiful!

  • The horses don’t work for more than 4 or 5 hours a day. They posted that before. Don’t feel too bad for them. They live better than we do! :o)

  • I’m going on Aug. 7th….I’ll have to check this out! It’s been a long time since I’ve done the river! Wish I could ride the horsies….

  • the cabin has not been on fire for a long time but I’m glad to hear the Mike Fink reference too,my mom loved the Davy Crockett series and always loved to ride the Mike Fink keel boats until they were retired,glad to hear you can see one over there.P.s. it’s awesome to ride the Mark Twain at night and get a seat right at the front of the boat,New Orleans square is beautiful!

  • I’ll take the job as the horse. That’s one lucky horse to live at Disneyland. I would not be concerned about any animal at Disney.

  • Visited Disneyland in April and we peered into the empty river. It was strange to see it all under construction but I didn’t realize it had remained unchanged since 1955! Wow. I believe my first visit to the park was as a five year old in 1965. So much has changed and yet so much remains the same at my favorite Disney Park. I lived in So. California for 8 years as a child and try to return from time to time. Never miss Disneyland when I visit – LOVE IT!

  • To all those worried about the horse, you did not watch the video close enough. There are two different horses in the corral, a light colored the first time its shown and a black the second, these are clearly two of the horses used to pull the street car and other things in the park meaning they work in shifts and get some good exercise time alone in the corral…no mistreatment.

  • So, is the cabin still on fire? It is a very cool and dramatic scene, but I wouldn’t want Mike Fink to go up in flames.

  • I’m very happy about this, it’s been a long time since I felt the need to go on Mark Twain or the Columbia, now I have a reason again.

  • I agree… Disneyland would never mistreat an animal nor a guest.

  • Awesome video – some very nice changes. Makes me want to go sailing down the river today.

    And no concerns about that horse. I know Disney is very good to its animals, and I’m guessing he takes regular turns with the other horses in that pen. I know they all take turns pulling the streetcar on Main Street with very reasonable shifts and lots of good care in between.

  • Have always loved the Rivers of America! Probably the place in the park where one feels furthest away from Anaheim. Easy to dream of being far away in another time.

    But I was wondering about the horse, too! 🙂 I hope there’s a human being there for him/her.

  • I don’t think that the live horse is out there all the time.

  • Are the areas of the river labelled as to what they are representing? It all looks the same to me, so I would like to know which part was the Mississippi or Rio Grande, etc? I do notice some changes but the River of America all looks the same to me.

  • Great to hear about what they were doing! One of my recent trips to the park, took the train 2x around to see the empty river. I knew something new was coming.

  • It’s at Disneyland, not Disney World, so it’s not taking shifts. I also was concerned about the horse. Does it have any guest interaction, or is it just out there for decoration?

  • I love the new changes to the river.

    I especially love that the cabin is now occupied by Mike Fink. Its pretty cool to have another Davy Crockett reference since it was one of the inspirations for Frontierland to being with.

  • I really hope that horse gets to do something other than wander around a corral all day. Are they perhaps borrowed from Fort Wilderness and taking “shifts” down by the river?

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