By Laurel Slater, Manager of Communications, Walt Disney World Public Affairs
For nearly 50 years, guests visiting Magic Kingdom Park have embarked on a relaxing half-mile journey around the picturesque waters of the Rivers of America, sailing aboard an iconic grand streamer riverboat with stunning views of both Frontierland and Liberty Square. But after many years of helping guests make memories, the Liberty Belle riverboat recently took her own very unique journey, sailing through open water.
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.
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.
A project of this scale truly took a Kingdom to ensure its success, and today guests and cast members can once again sail the waters of the Rivers of America aboard this historic 47-foot authentic steam-powered paddle wheeler.
If you are visiting Magic Kingdom Park this year, be sure to head on over to Liberty Square to enjoy this classic attraction.