New Orleans (Square) News

This will be the first of several New Orleans Square-focused articles over the next few weeks as we approach Mardi Gras time!

Today’s feature is an update on a few of the changes that have happened since the Rivers of America and the Disneyland Railroad closed earlier this month.

First – to the Rivers!

Unlike the last time the Rivers were closed for refurbishment, it looks like Disneyland Park is trying to avoid the depressing view of the dry riverbed with its exposed track. Rumor has it the Rivers will be dammed about halfway back with any changes to the course and to Tom Sawyer Island happening behind that area.

Walls and scrims have gone up on both sides of the Rivers – both around the Hungry Bear Restaurant and along Big Thunder Trail. But very happily, both the Sailing Ship Columbia and the Mark Twain are still on the Rivers – although not running as transportation. Two weeks ago, the Columbia was at the dock and the Mark Twain was at Fowler’s Harbor (next to the Harbour Galley snack location). But last weekend this was reversed and fortunately, although the Mark Twain was stationary at the dock, there was still exciting activity aboard!

Princess Tiana and Louis aboard the Mark Twain!

Princess Tiana and Louis aboard the Mark Twain!

Yes! Not only was Tiana continuing her Meet & Greets aboard the boat, but she was joined by two very special friends! Dr. Facilier and Louis the Alligator also came out for Meet & Greets!

The Shadow Man himself – Dr. Facilier!

The Shadow Man himself – Dr. Facilier!

It hasn’t been confirmed if this is going to be a regular character Meet & Greet opportunity or if perhaps they will use the Rivers downtime to bring back Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee show aboard the Mark Twain (which I’d be very happy to have back again!).

At any rate it was a thrill to see relatively rare characters out and about!

On the opposite side of New Orleans Square, the New Orleans Square railroad station is now a location one can visit to check out some of the train cars and talk to the engineers!

But even more exciting for me was the chance to walk across to the back of the station where guests usually do not have access!

I got to really take the time to appreciate some of the theming here – and appropriately enough for New Orleans, that included musical instruments!

As if a group of musicians had put down their instrument cases for a few minutes while waiting to catch their train in New Orleans Square…

As if a group of musicians had put down their instrument cases for a few minutes while waiting to catch their train in New Orleans Square…

It also provided a slightly different perspective than one can get from the trains.

Photo taken from the train on the last day of the railroad earlier this month:

View of the Haunted Mansion heading into the tunnel.

View of the Haunted Mansion heading into the tunnel.

Photo taken from the station of the now-closed railroad:

View of the Haunted Mansion from the other side of the railroad tracks.

View of the tunnel AND the Haunted Mansion from the other side of the railroad tracks.

So even if you don’t think you’d be interested in seeing the trains up close, I highly recommend stopping by this location for the very rare opportunity to wander around an area that only Cast Members have been able to walk for the past several decades! But I’d also suggest taking a moment to get a nice close-up view of the trains, especially the engine – it is a beautiful piece of transportation history and park history, too!

The backside of train!

The backside of train!

Have you stopped to visit the train station since the railroad stopped running – or met a character (or three!) aboard the Mark Twain? Which temporary experience appeals to you more while the boats and trains are out of commission?

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