The Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America reopened after being closed for 19 months while a new stretch of track and riverbanks were constructed for the addition of Star Wars Land. This marks the first time the river has had any track changes and this was the fourth major change to the railroad's right of way, it's first in 50 years.
The new section of track on the railroad begins right after your cross the trestle in Critter Country. You cross one of four new bridges, this one will be a guest entry into the Star Wars land. This bridge is a Howe style bridge, frequently found in Missouri and Illinois in the mid-1800's.
You soon cross a waterfall and another bridge.
Many of the figures and animals seen in the new river, are repurposed from the original layout.
Lots of the rockwork along the river is based off the Columbia River Gorge in the Pacific Northwest. Lots of columnar basalt rocks are featured.
On the north end of Tom Sawyer's Island, a new cabin has been built, but this one isn't burning.
The largest bridge is a massive trestle that the barges for Fantasmic cross under every night. A marina for the barges was built into the new berm that separates Star Wars and the rest of the park. A large waterfall will be flowing and covering this entry. Talk about the ultimate secret lair!
Notice how the bents in the center are angled to give more clearance for the barges.
I love this little gag so much, very clever!
You now pass a Native American Shaman on top of a small cliff. Nice figure, but who is he preaching to- the watercraft passing by?
A new Native American village is located next to him, this is about the same spot the former bald eagle's nest was at, now it located on the cliff next to the Shaman. I have to say, they did their research, they relocated the Indians! Three times now!
The railroad now passes over one last bridge, a Parker style bridge with steel construction. This one passes over another entry to Star Wars. Many balancing rocks, fantastic tribute to the Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland.
A mail catch is included! How rad?!
This is where the railroad makes a left hand turn. Some scenic elements on the backside you might not notice, including some animals.
You can also catch a slight glimpse into the Star Wars site and see the framing for rockwork going vertical.
You cross the third entry for Star Wars, but this one is a tunnel the guests will travel under the railroad.
A large retaining wall is on the left side of the train and a small landscaped field is on the right. A small fox is sitting next to a log. I personally think this would have been a perfect spot for some gags with bears similar to the ones in Nature's Wonderland.
You enter a 'tunnel', but it really is a shed to hid the backstage road that travels under the railroad. Some attraction posters for the railroad are located in this tunnel, really unique design choice. The back tunnel portal, again, unique design chose. This marks the end of the new right of way for the railroad.
When you travel down the new Big Thunder Trail, a large retaining wall holds back the space that was once the Skyway Chalet.
A stagecoach is located next to one of the Star Wars entries, notice the stagecoach companies initials, WED….
Very cool rockwork that hangs over the pathway, the train travels right above here. I like the styling based of off Antelope Canyon.
Here is a small Postal Office, right below the mail catch on the railroad.
The second entry to Star Wars is located on this path. Notice the railroad spikes to hold up the lighting,
The new section of the Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America was done beautifully. However, it feels like a lot of vignettes and figures are crammed in to a small space. You no longer get the feel of being lost in the back woods of the frontier, but the tree growth in the coming years might help with that. My personal dislike is the new narration of the railroad, very wordy script and not to fond of the monotone voice. It's great to have these two attractions back open, slow moving boat and train rides add so much to a park's atmosphere and experience, something we need to see more of in this industry.