Monday, January 11, 2016

The Final Spin

Yesterday was the last day that guests could take a spin around the original Rivers of America before its closure and "editing" to make room for the new Star Wars Land. Although I am a big fan of "less is more," this is definitely the exception to the rule. My niece visited me in December and I took her to Disneyland for her very first visit. I am so grateful that she was able to experience a journey on the Mark Twain before the changes occurred. Today's post is a photo journal of that trip.

This shot shows my very first trip aboard the Twain back in 1970, posing with my brother, the father of my niece.

Are you ready? Here we go!

It is so impressive to hear the whistle and see the steam from the Twain as it begins to travel around Tom Sawyer Island.

Many of the photos in today's post are large-sized panoramas; make sure you click them and zoom in on all of the details!

The Columbia was docked at the time; although I enjoy riding on it as well, I was glad that my last trip could be aboard the Twain.

From what I have read, this is approximately where the journey will change. The Rivers will end here and cut through Tom Sawyer Island, which has caused the new route to be called "The Donut." No idea whether the cabin will be moved or removed.

These figures seem to be saying, "Where did our River go?"

This one is waving away to Walt's original classic. Bye-bye…

This tableau is supposedly going to be moved.

The remnants of Nature's Wonderland are also supposedly going to disappear.

My niece thoroughly enjoyed her leisurely trip around the Rivers of America.

I am saddened by the shortening of the River, but not very surprised. After the loss of the Carnation Gardens and the slaughter of tasteful design in New Orleans Square to make way for a larger (and more profitable) Club 33, I can't say that anything really shocks me about what the Disney Corporation does any more.

See more vintage and current Rivers of America photos at my main website.

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DrGoat said...

Can't agree with your last statement more. Losing that
wonderful little space in the courtyard with the curving
stairs sucked big time. It's all about the $$ now.

Irene said...

I also agree. Have to say I really love the photo of you and your brother on the Twain - camera around the neck and all :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the beautiful photos, Dave.

I still visualize the River back as it was in the early 1960's, with the settler's cabin ablaze, with the canoes looking out for the rapids foaming up the water, with the keel boats floating by, and with the war party in war paint that was hidden among the trees as the River started to curl around the north end (you could actually see them better from the railroad since they were close to the tracks - they were the ones that apparently set the cabin on fire). Point being, the River has been gradually compressing for a quite awhile in terms of river traffic and tableau on the shore, but this shortening of the route is something else entirely. I really don't even know what to say. But thanks for documenting one of the last, full trips around the island.

-Edard Allen

K. Martinez said...

I was just looking at artwork for the Rivers of America (post-Star Wars Land) and it looks like they've kept most if not all the characters and animals from the back area. It'll be interesting to see what the final results will be. I wonder if they will stop two ship operation of Mark Twain and Columbia and have only one or the other running due to the shortened route. And the Explore Canoes? I hope they make it back. Thanks for the farewell coverage, Dave.

Fifthrider said...

After all these years of collecting vintage Disneyland pics and showing us a glimpse of the yesteryear we all loved, how does it feel to actually be there in person snapping shots knowing what comes next? Maybe 50 years from now someone will have a similar site showing what used to be back in 2016 "before it all changed"?

I grabbed a million pics of Toontown on my last trip based on the rumors of that closing down, even though it doesn't seem slated for reality.

My Disney didn't die with Michael Eisner or Paul Pressler ( though it should have ), it died with Bob Iger. Everything was fine until the highly forced changes of the last few years. That was the turning point where I didn't want to look back anymore. No more authentic wooden railing with brass fixtures, just fiberglass with wood-painted textures.

Syndorme: "And when everyone's super, no one will be."

Bob Iger: "And when everyday is Disney Magic, no day will be."

Major Pepperidge said...

Beautiful post, Dave. Thanks.

stu29573 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stu29573 said...

I just saw the rendering of the new shoreline, with its elevated train track and I personally think it looks cramped and fake. Its hard to imagine a railroad that would build that kind of track right next to a river. At least I've never seen it... 

Anonymous said...

A great tribute to what soon will be 'once was'. Those of us who worked "The River" have wonderful memories of times well spent and are sad to see this beautiful area of tranquility and peace slipping away. KS