I don't know if this is news to anyone else, but Disney via the OC Register released the first concept image of the refreshed Rivers of America in the article below.
Disneyland’s Rivers of America will have a new look when it reopensin more than a year.
Disneyland officials today releasedconcept art for Rivers of America that includes a new waterfront and waterfalls along the north bank of the river and an elevated railroad track route over the water where the Disneyland Railroad will travel.
The unveiling comes a day after Disneyland closed the artificial river and all the attractions on it – “Fantasmic!” light and water fireworks show, Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes, the Mark Twain Riverboat, the Sailing Ship Columbia and Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island – for more than a year as part of the construction of a 14-acre “Star Wars”-themed land in the northern part of Frontierland.
The construction also will affect the Disneyland Railroad; it will be derailed for more than a year.
Park officials did not say when the attractions would reopen.
Several other attractions – The Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue restaurant, petting farm and Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree – will close permanently.
Walt Disney Imagineering’s concept shows the Disneyland Railroad riding on trestles across the north part of the rivers, passing several waterfalls as it makes its way around that part of the park. The Mark Twain can be seen around the river bend, as well as someone on a raft heading to Pirate’s Lair.
Previously, after visitors boarded the train at New Orleans Square, they saw part of the river before entering a tunnel through Splash Mountain and Critter Country. They then emerged with a view of the Rivers of America and Tom Sawyer Island through heavy foliage.
As part of the construction, the river will be partially drained. The water will be diverted to the Orange County Water District’s Groundwater Replenishment System, where it will be treated, stored and recycled. When the time comes to refill the rivers, Disney will replenish from the same system.
Though several attractions will close temporarily during construction, Disneyland officials said they plan to offer visitors an alternative experience for the railroad, the Mark Twain Riverboat and the Sailing Ship Columbia.
Railroad fans should still be able to experience the Disneyland Railroad, as park officials are developing an alternative way to see it.
“We’re working on a way to put two of the trains on display so our guests can get up close to them,” said John Scott, an operating engineer on the railroad.
One engine would be displayed at Main Street Station and the other at the Frontierland/New Orleans Square Station.
Visitors would have the chance to get close to the engines and touch them or have their photo taken. Steam engineers would explain how the steam-powered locomotives work, Scott said.
The Rivers of America was one of Walt Disney’s original attractions when the park opened in 1955. The rivers represent the Mississippi, the Columbia, the Potomac and the Rio Grande.