When These Two WDW Attractions Reopen, What Will Change?

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liberty square

Both the Liberty Square Riverboat and Tom Sawyer Island began a lengthy refurbishment in 2020, and many were wondering if this was just for general maintenance or if we would see major changes in this area of Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort. Within a few weeks, the Rivers of America in Liberty Square was completely drained and Guests immediately started wondering what Disney Imagineers were doing.

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Disney World has not made any immediate statements regarding the refurbishments of these attractions. In fact, right now the Disney World website states the following:

Tom Sawyer Island is currently closed for refurbishment. Please check back here for updates.

Liberty Square Riverboat is currently closed for refurbishment. Please check back here for updates.

liberty square
Credit: Disney

As of the time of publication, both the  Liberty Square Riverboat (also known as the Liberty Belle) and Tom Sawyer Island are not listed on the Disney Parks calendar come March 1, 2021, so we anticipate both of these attractions to reopen come springtime. However, refurbishments are always subject to change and Inside the Magic will continue to update you once we get information regarding these Magic Kingdom attractions.

But, when these attractions reopen to Guests, will we see major changes?

liberty square
Credit: Disney

Honestly, I would say most likely not. Disney Imagineers probably drained the river in order to work on the track of Liberty Square Riverboat to help make it run smoother and to ensure everything is working properly — minor but necessary routine maintenance.

The Liberty Belle itself is also having work done off-site. The steam-powered paddleboat was lifted out of the water with movable rails and is stored in the Magic Kingdom area service marina, which allows Imagineers to make improvements on the boat itself if needed.

Additionally, we are unsure if any work has actually been done on Tom Sawyer Island. The main reason this attraction closed with Liberty Square Riverboat is that Disney Imagineers drained Rivers of America and there is currently no way to get to the island without using watercraft transportation.

Recently, though, Disney filed a permit for this area of Magic Kingdom. This could be for anything from a new paint job, new flooring, or anything else minor that could help enhance Guests’ experiences once the attraction reopens, but at this time, we are unsure what work has been done. More than likely, the changes that will occur in this area of the park will be minor, and Guests should expect to have the same magical experience on Tom Sawyer Island once it reopens, if this happens to be an area of the theme park that you often visit during your Disney vacation.

tom sawyer island fort langhorn
Credit: Disney

Inside the Magic will continue to update you as we get information regarding Liberty Belle Riverboat and Tom Sawyer Island.

More on Liberty Belle Riverboat

Disney World’s official website describes this attraction as:

Steam into American history aboard the majestic, Colonial-era Liberty Belle riverboat and enjoy a relaxing half-mile tour around Tom Sawyer Island.

Along the way, listen to a recorded narrator—in the voice of iconic American author and humorist Mark Twain—sharing memories of Twain’s time on the Mississippi.

It’s full steam ahead on this historic, nostalgic trip back to the past!

liberty belle
Credit: Disney

During this charming, 17-minute trip, you’ll encounter a rarely seen side of Magic Kingdom park. Behold a bevy of sights from the early days of the American frontier, including:

  • An early American settlement
  • An idyllic Native American village
  • Harper’s Mill
  • Fort Langhorn
  • Wilson’s Cave Inn
  • Woodland animals

You’ll also be treated to unique views of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain and Haunted Mansion.

Featuring meticulously detailed wood craftsmanship, the 47-foot tall Liberty Belle is a working reproduction of the historic vessels that ferried people up and down the mighty Mississippi.

An actual steam engine converts water from the river into steam that powers the large paddle that in turn propels the boat.

There are 4 decks with limited seating available on each.

liberty belle
Credit: Disney

More on Tom Sawyer Island

Disney World’s official website describes this attraction as:

Wander dusty dirt roads lined with tall trees, explore whirling mills and amble across creaky suspension bridges. Navigate narrow passages amid secret mined caves and uncover a frontier fort.

Along the way, follow in the pioneering footsteps of early settlers, during an era when Mark Twain and Tom Sawyer reflected a new nation coming into its own.

Journey by Log Raft

To reach the Island, head over to Tom’s Landing and cross the Rivers of America aboard a piloted log raft.

It’s an unforgettable expedition into the heart of the American frontier!

disney legends
Credit: D23

Are you excited for when these two Magic Kingdom attractions reopen? Let us know in the comments below.

If you want to book a trip to Disney World for 2021, get in touch with our friends at Academy Travel, who will be with you every step of the way. Get your free quote today.

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