The Liberty Square Riverboat (Liberty Belle) returned to the water of Magic Kingdom‘s Rivers of America on Friday for the first time since the fall. Want to take a virtual ride along with me? Last call! Secure all cargo! All passengers aboard!
When I arrived in the early afternoon, the Liberty Square Riverboat queue was hopping. The boat can be boarded on the hour and half hour, so the queue tends to fill up in between. With physical distancing in place throughout the queue, it can look like quite a lot of people, but don’t be afraid. The boat, even with distancing in mind, carries a large crowd.
As you may know, the riverboat undergoes maintenance every couple of years. The decision was made to extend this year’s downtime in order to completely remove and replace the riverboat’s track. Over the last few months, the water was drained and the entire track was replaced section by section.
The riverboat itself underwent boiler and engine maintenance during the attraction’s closure and also received a fresh coat of paint on the ceilings and stair banisters.
I personally love the celery green on the ceilings.
The Rivers of America look, as one would expect from having just been refilled, clean and clear. As part of the maintenance period, work was also done to remove mud and the gunk (that’s a technical term, right?) left behind by some of the wildlife that call the Magic Kingdom home. The end result of the process is what’s hoped to be a smoother ride along the river.
If you’ve never had the opportunity to travel aboard the Liberty Belle, the view of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad from the water just can’t be beat.
The vignettes along the waterside ensure that guests always have something engaging at which to look.
Keep in mind that guests are asked to choose a physical distancing marker and remain on it for the duration of the ride, so you and I can’t walk back and forth during the trip. Which means we need to take a ride on the Liberty Belle twice so that we can see the vignettes on both sides of the boat, right? There are worse things.
The view of Haunted Mansion from the riverboat is so unique.
The wink and nod that the Imagineers gave us via the name of the waterway closest to the attraction is so much fun.
The views of Tom Sawyer Island from the riverboat are fantastic. The island also partially reopened on Friday, and I’ll have pictures and thoughts to share regarding my visit to Tom Sawyer Island in the days to come.
If you’ve never noticed before, guests disembark the Liberty Belle from the lowest level and embark on the second level, making the process smoother for all involved.
It was great to be back aboard the Liberty Belle. Everything was shined up and ready for guests to enjoy. It’s always so good to get a classic Magic Kingdom attraction back from an extended refurbishment.
Disney Parks Blog shared a couple of videos documenting the Liberty Belle’s journey through the open waters of Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon as it returned to the Rivers of America. The riverboat’s adventure took quite a lot of planning, skill, and patience on the behalf of all involved. You can watch the videos below.