After Lengthy Closure, Two Magic Kingdom Attractions Reopen Today

in Walt Disney World

liberty belle riverboat

Credit: Disney

Two Magic Kingdom attractions — the Liberty Square Riverboat and Tom Sawyer Island — began a lengthy refurbishment back in 2020. Within a few weeks of both attractions closing, the Rivers of America in Liberty Square was completely drained and Guests immediately started wondering what Disney Imagineers were doing.

Disney World did not make any immediate statements regarding the refurbishments of these attractions, but the Disney World website did state 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.

tom sawyer island fort langhorn
Credit: Disney

The Liberty Belle itself was also having work done off-site. The steam-powered paddleboat was lifted out of the water with movable rails and was stored in the Magic Kingdom area service marina for a lengthy period of time. This allowed Imagineers to make improvements on the boat if needed.

And now, after months of being closed, these attractions are officially removed from the refurbishment calendar and are open for Guests once again!

The My Disney Experience app currently shows both the Liberty Square Riverboat and Tom Sawyer Island are no longer listed on the refurbishment calendar, which you can see reflected in the screenshots below.

my disney experience
Credit: Screenshot My Disney Experience
my disney experience
Credit: Screenshot My Disney Experience

Disney Parks Blog shared this video showing the Liberty Belle being removed for its maintenance and the process behind it:

Last October, cast members drained the waters of the Rivers of America, sending the Liberty Belle to dry dock behind Magic Kingdom Park in order to replace her underwater track.  In preparing for her return, teams worked together overnight to sail her through Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon, around Disney’s Contemporary Resort and crossing in front of Magic Kingdom Park.  They then towed her by hand through a narrow water channel before underwater divers reconnected her to the newly refurbished track and brought her home. Once docked back in Liberty Square, cast members put on the finishing touches before opening to guests this morning.

They also shared this amazing Time-Lapse video showcasing the work that has been done on Rivers of America and the Liberty Belle Riverboat returning to the water! They write:

In the Liberty Belle’s absence, more than 100 cast members contributed their specialized crafts and skill during the four-month scheduled refurbishment. Anchored by the planned track replacement for the vessel, cast members took advantage of the Rivers of America being drained to also make some enhancements including updated rockwork, landscaping and adding fresh paint to the surrounding areas.

We are excited to see the beautiful Liberty Belle return to Rivers of America and are happy for Guests to once again be able to visit 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 RailroadSplash 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

Related: Why a Princess Tiana Retheme Makes Sense For Tom Sawyer Island

Are you excited to see 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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