Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America Attractions to Reopen Summer 2017 at Disneyland Park

Erin Glover

by , Director, Publicity, Walt Disney Animation Studios

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been sharing stories about the original Disneyland park attractions that our guests have loved for more than 60 years. With all of the great memories we’ve been recalling, it seems the perfect time to reveal some exciting news about some of these classic attractions. Today, I’m pleased to tell you that the Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America will reopen summer 2017 at Disneyland park.

This includes all attractions along the Rivers of America:

Rivers of America at Disneyland Park

The new northern bank of the Rivers of America is the latest in a 60-year evolution of this classic waterway. This Disneyland original has been taking guests on a journey along four iconic American rivers since it opened on July 17, 1955. On opening day, there was just one way to travel the rivers … on board the Mark Twain Riverboat.

Rivers of America at Disneyland Park

One year later, in 1956, traffic on the Rivers of America picked up significantly with the addition of Indian War Canoes (now known as Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes) and Tom Sawyer Island Rafts (which took guests to the newly opened Tom Sawyer Island).

Sailing Ship Columbia at Disneyland Park

Then in 1958, another large watercraft joined Mark Twain Riverboat on trips around the Rivers of America. Sailing Ship Columbia is an exact replica of the 18th century merchant vessel, Columbia Rediviva, the first American ship to circumnavigate the globe, and the namesake of Oregon’s Columbia River.

The next significant change to the Rivers of America came in 1966 with the addition of New Orleans Square. Now guests could take a genteel stroll along the banks of the Mississippi River (one of four sections on the waterway), enjoying live music along with a lovely view.


In 1992, the quiet New Orleans Square nights were replaced by a fantastical journey into Mickey Mouse’s imagination with the debut of “Fantasmic!” Quickly a guest favorite, the show went on to also delight guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort.

Rivers of America and Disneyland Railroad at Disneyland Park

And next year, history will be made on the Rivers of America once again with a gorgeous new riverbank and an elevated trestle over which the iconic Disneyland Railroad will travel. For now, be sure to stop by the Main Street and New Orleans Square stations now to get an up-close look at the steam engines of the Disneyland Railroad, and we’ll be back with a look at how the railroad has changed through the years while remaining a Disneyland icon.

Get ready to hit the rails and the water again when Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America attractions reopen, summer 2017!


  • why not do soft re-openings before new years this year?

  • why can’t Fantasmic and the mark twain riverboat return this holiday season instead of next summer?

    Me and my family are heading to california this winter & my Disneyland trip is NEVER complete without Fantasmic

  • We are going the first week of May 2017, will the Disneyland Railroad be open? I’m not sure if that would be “summer”.

  • About time. I went this past June and hated seeing the river all dammed up. The only change that should happen to Fantasmic must be the return of a certain sea witch from the deep. Ursula should definitely float on the water again. Other than that, no “upgrades” if you please. And that goes for Primeval World too.

  • Thanks for the update, Erin!

  • I wonder if the have considered adding actual seating for Fantasmic! during this renovation!! I can’t wait to see how it turns out, super excited!

  • Hopefully they will add new features to the fantastic show!

  • Glad to hear it, especially about the canoes! Take your time on whatever it is you’re working on in the back lot. 😉

  • So stoked, Erin. Can’t wait to see this classic reopen. Count me in on opening day!

  • I worked the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes for a few years back in the early ’80’s. I am pleased to read they will be returning. And it was great to read the history of the Rivers of America. John.

  • I’ll be so glad to have the Disneyland Railroad back open! I recently had back surgery and was counting on the railroad to get around. I was there earlier this month and had to rent a scooter instead. I hate those scooters!

  • Will the walkway from Big Thunder to Fantasyland be open when these attractions return?

  • We’ve missed riding the Disneyland Railroad during our visits to the park, so looking forward to hopping onboard next summer (especially if the Lilly Belle is available)!

    Oh, and finally getting our steamboat captain certificates from the Mark Twain, too!

  • BEST NEWS OF THE DAY!!! A Fantasmic cast member told us at our last visit that it may not be returning and when the show died half way through I was heartbroken! I’m so glad my FAVORITE part of Disneyland will be returning!

  • I was holding out hope they would decide to bring Mike Fink Keel boats back. One of my most missed rides.

  • Finally some good news about the parks. Thank you

  • I hope it’s all open for the birthday trip I’m planning the first week in September. It will be a real thrill for my 70th birthday.

  • This is the best Disney news I’ve heard in a long time! Our last trip to Disneyland, while it was awesome, just wasn’t the same since we weren’t able to ride the Disneyland Railroad and the Mark Twain. I’m really looking forward to visiting again after these attractions are back up and running!

  • So Fantasmic! will be down for its 25th anniversary on May 13, 2017? 🙁

  • I sure hope Fantasmic! Is open during the D23 Expo next year!! That would be icing on my cake!

  • I heard the Rivers of America, and Railroad were going to reopen on April 2 2017. I have planned for this. I am making my first trip to Disneyland in 2017 (after 49 trips to Walt Disney World), and the wife and are planning for May 2017. We were going to go this year, but for me the Riverboat, and the Railroad are mandatory. Now I am hearing the SUMMER of 2017. What has happened to the April 02 date? If these two attractions will still be closed in May, I need to rethink my plans….

  • I’m really missing the railroad and the relaxing atmosphere around Hungry Bear and Big Thunder Ranch. I just let my annual pass expire. Maybe once the railroad is running again I might renew.

  • Can’t wait to see this. I miss riding the train so much!

  • I hope they don’t ruin Fantastic! When they retooled it for WDW, it just wasn’t the same

  • Oh I was so looking forward to watch Fantasmic this summer
    That means that we need to start saving for next year as well
    Thanks for the news

  • That’s fantastic! Can’t wait to visit next July! Going to Disneyland this summer…it will be weird without Fantasmic!

  • Hi Erin! Good news indeed. You are probably to young to remember that there were also Mike Fink keel boats that guests could ride on.

  • Mike Fink Keel Boats used to be around a while as well. It really was a busy waterway.

  • With the shorter river route, will the Mark Twain and Columbia “slow down” or “make stops” to make up for the loss time or will the attractions just indeed be shorter?

    Seems like 1/4 of the island/river has been truncated, yes?

  • I’m so excited for everything to return! I sure missed a nice relaxing ride around the rivers during my trip last week!

  • My BABY FANTASMIC! is coming back I sure hope on her 25th Birthday!!!!! Boy are we gonna CELEBRATE!!!!!!!!! Thank you Disneyland! BEST NEWS EVER!!!!!!!

  • Thanks so much for the update!

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