More Star Wars at Disney Parks Stories

First Look at New Rivers of America Waterfront and Disneyland Railroad at Disneyland Park in California

Erin Glover

by , Director, Publicity, Walt Disney Animation Studios

The Rivers of America and the Disneyland Railroad at Disneyland park in Southern California have closed temporarily as we prepare to bring an all-new Star Wars-themed land to the park. When these areas reopen, the north bank of the Rivers of America will have a beautiful new waterfront, which I’m excited to give you a sneak peek at today.

Rivers of America and Disneyland Railroad at Disneyland Park

As you can see from this artist’s rendering, courtesy of Walt Disney Imagineering, this gorgeous new riverbank will also feature an elevated trestle over which the iconic Disneyland Railroad will travel.

Keep an eye on Disney Parks Blog, as we continue to bring you updates from the ongoing expansion of Disneyland park in California.


  • Looks beautiful – thanks for sharing, I am especially happy to see the Indian village will still be there along the river bank, as I was afraid that would be lost.

  • I have to ask, is it possible to get a higher resolution of that image? it’s so gorgeous I want to use is at a desktop background!

  • Do you have this in a bigger image? This is an amazing picture I am so excited about the new train route!

  • How much of Disneyland will be closed in September?

  • So despite all the rumors, it looks like the Mark Twain will return in full form?? Can you confirm the same for Sailing Ship Colombia?

    • That is correct, Isaac. When the Rivers of America reopen, the river craft will also return. In the meantime, we’ll be sharing information on special limited-time experiences that are planned for the boats throughout the closure.

  • That doesn’t look so bad!

  • This looks insanely gorgeous. I can’t wait to ride on that elevated trestle on the railroad!

    Will the canoes be returning as well?

    • Ryan – At this time, all river craft are planned to return when the Rivers of America reopens.

  • Any plans to show an overview of the whole Rivers of America, post Star Wars construction?

  • Very nice. I want to ride the train and the boat (and check out Star Wars land behind it all) tomorrow!

  • This looks spectacular! Will this entire project impact Fantasmic seating capacity on the other side of Rivers of America in the future?

  • Does the closure of the Railroad affect the Rope Drop ceremony? We’re bringing our kids in June and after seeing the rope drop at Disney World, we would love to see the same at Disneyland.

  • @Michael – Disneyland has never had a rope drop ceremony like there is at WDW. So you will not be missing anything for your June visit.

  • This is a beautiful render, but I feel it is over-dramaticized and not very realistic. Unless the water will be changing from the murky green to the Submarine Lagoon Blue shown here, I would not expect the final result to appear this way. I am certainly looking forward to seeing the end result.

  • Looks beautiful. Is Star Wars Land going to have an impact on the size of Rivers of America or will the path of the river remain unchanged?

  • Looks really nice! Will there be a path from Critter Country to the new Star Wars land so foot-traffic can view the awesome waterfalls?

  • Maybe i missed it but when will the expansion be done?

    • Jessica – We do not have a completion date confirmed at this time.

  • I must admit–this looks pretty cool!

  • Any idea how the layout of the river will change? Is there a rendering of the whole area?

  • This looks breath taking, best of luck to all those involved in making this project become a reality

  • That is a fantastic picture! Looks like there are going to be some island reworking as well.

  • George, The north end of the ROA will be moved in to accommodate SWL. The train trestle we see in this illustration will be going across approximately where the north end of the island is now and the shortened island is what we see here.

  • This rendering does bring hope that the rivers will still have their charm. very excited about the working train trestle! will make the train look like a real frontier.

  • yay. That looks fun.

  • Looks nice. It’s a shame that Star Wars land has to be put in Frontierland and that the River rides have to be cut in half, but at least we get some nice scenery.

  • When will it be done?

  • I have heard rumors that the northern end of the island will be truncated.
    I sincerely hope that is not true.

    Is it?

    Thanks for any and all info.

  • Is the river going to be shortened? This looks really great.

  • Could we please get a high res link to the photo? It looks great and I’d love to inspect it in more detail and use it for my backdrop. Thanks!

  • I’d also like to know if the river is going to be shortened to accommodate Star Wars.

  • I’d be almost certain that it will be shortened somewhat to accommodate for Star Wars Land.

  • Will the Hungry Bear restaurant remain? Will it be shut down? If so, permanently or just temporarily during construction? Please advise. Thank you.

    • Hi Robert – At this time, Hungry Bear Restaurant remains open.

  • Is there a high resolution version of this image available? It’s beautiful!

  • Planning a trip in July so I would like to now how much is going to be closed so I can plan accordingly.

  • WOW! Walt would LOVE this!! I’m excited! Sad it will be down when I come in March, but can’t WAIT To see it when it’s finished!!

  • It looks very nice. I like the fact that the trains will be able to pass by some waterfalls.

    In late September, one of the official Disneyland Twitter accounts stated that the Rivers of America will have a new route when it reopens.

    Also, it looks like the Indian Village and settler’s cabin will still be part of the landscape, just relocated. Is this correct, Erin?

  • The painting looks nice, but the Rivers of America has NEVER been clear blue water.

  • …Also, this is just wishful thinking, but I don’t suppose the river might get dyed blue when it reopens?

  • To everyone asking if the river is being shortened and the railroad route adjusted, Disneyland confirmed that months ago, and the also confirmed that the Fantasyland theater and Toontown are sticking around.

  • Looks very impressive! Much better than I imagined….can’t wait to paddle and sail around the island again.

  • I think this is great art work. I too would Love a hi-res version of it. The one question I have? after Star Wars Land open does that mean for the first time in Disneyland history guest will be able to walk all away around the backside of the park. without having to double back from Cirtter Country, or Fantasyland? Hoping so.

  • Walt would have loved the open trestle for the railroad

  • To those wanting to know what will be closed this summer for Star Wars Construction, it will be everything to do with Rivers of America, that means Tom Sawyer Island, Fantasmic, and all the River Boats, as well as the Disneyland Railroad all of which will reopen around the time of Star Wars Land’s opening. What has closed forever is the Big Thunder Ranch area that includes, Big Thunder Ranch, Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue, Big Thunder Ranch petting zoo and Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree. Big Thunder Mountain will remain open. The LA Times has a very good article from Dec 26 that covers all of it, including maps of the affected areas.

  • Looks great. Can’t wait to see when I visit later this year

  • Will the Indian village remain??

  • As good as that Artists Rendering looks , now I guarantee this will open Summer 2017 ! And Star Wars Land with a May 2018 opening!

  • @George from CA. I read that the river will be shortened by 25% and part of the island that was not being used will be removed.

  • As alluded to in other comments, these renderings are very stylized. I have pictures of the New Fantasyland renderings at WDW from years back, and they are in the same style. (Gotta love the Florida mountain range in the background.) One other feature I notice is that the sunlight is always streaming down from the heavens through breaks in the clouds. That is the over-analytical part of me; they are all beautiful artwork.
    Of course, having just finished the Disneyland 1000-piece puzzle over the holidays, I am used to seeing stylized renderings of the park 🙂

  • I am so happy that all of the rides/boats are said to be staying. I was very worried about keeping the magic in the rivers of america. Excited to see future news and videos from the construction.

  • We know this isn’t the river of america, This water looks too clean 😛

  • Looks absolutely beautiful!

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