Leave it to Disney.
Concept art for the new Rivers of America waterfront just released today paints a majestic, surreal, and spectacular picture.
On the other side of the elevated railroad track, with giant cascading waterfalls and an epic landscape of lush vegetation and incredible rock formations, will of course, be the new Star Wars-themed land.
Those details are safely on the other side of this new mountainscape.
The release of the artwork today has nothing to do with Star Wars and everything to do with the integrity, creativity, and care in which Disney plans to transform this section of the park that has gone largely unaltered since Disneyland opened in 1955.
It’s delicate ground they are stepping on. Over the last few days, fans paid their respects to some of Walt Disney‘s original attractions. They took their last rides on the Mark Twain Riverboat and the canoes, explored Tom Sawyer’s Island, rode the Disneyland Railroad, ate some Big Thunder Ranch barbecue, and enjoyed a last performance of Fantasmic! before seeing these attractions shut down for at least a year as construction begins.
When they re-open, save for the barbecue area, this section of the park will be completely transformed forever.
I think Disney just put everyone’s minds at ease.
While the river itself is going to be shortened, this area is going to be completely opened up, with awe-inspiring new vantage points, views, and vistas never before seen.
Where the Disneyland Railroad once passed by mostly through tunnels and unseen, now we get to see it riding out in the open on trestles above the water. There will be a new sense of life, of kinetic motion.
Disney isn’t neglecting this older area of the park in favor of their newer Star Wars Land.
Instead, they are restoring it, improving it and adding to it – all qualities Walt himself expected of his park, which he always wanted to be in a state of transformation, not stagnation.
What we’re seeing in just one piece of concept art:
Disney is honoring its founder, the park itself, and the fans.
We couldn’t ask for anything more.