We’ve had quite a fun-filled past few days at Disneyland with the return of some of the most beloved classics at the park! The Disneyland Railroad, Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia and Davey Crockett Explorer Canoes officially re-opened after being closed for 18 months due to refurbishments! We have some details to share about what we saw over the weekend as well as some tips for enjoying the classics!
The Disneyland Railroad
The Disneyland Railroad has been one of our favorites since we were kids. Our parents LOVE the train, so we always took the trip around Disneyland on every visit! The last time we took our boys on the train over a year and a half ago (before they closed for refurbishments), they were all just little babes, so it has been really fun to see their little faces light up with excitement because you know, trains are life! Lucie is also a huge fan of the train – we rode it twice in a row yesterday because that’s all she wanted to do, haha – totally fine by us because Disney nostalgia and a break for our feet!
After months of construction and refurbishments to add a new path and trestle along the Rivers of America, we are happy to report that everything looks absolutely amazing. The main changes were made after you make your way through Critter Country and start your journey along the Rivers of America – the view is just breathtaking. We really love how fresh all the new trees and plants smell along the river and Big Thunder Trail!
Since the train has returned, the four stations have been a little more crowded than usual. If you’re wanting to pick-up a train at Main Street, New Orleans Square, the Toon Town Depot or Tomorrowland, just prepare to wait! Riding at park opening or in the evening (except during fireworks – the train closes intermittently for the show) is best for shorter lines. Once the hype of the train returning dies down, we think the lines will also, but for now, just expect higher wait times at each station.
We’ve noticed that the New Orleans Square Station seems to attract the most people because a lot of guests spend time in that area of the park and choose to pick up the train at the station there. Another reason we think the New Orleans Square Station’s line doesn’t move as quickly as other stations is that it’s just one stop past the Main Street Train Station, where a lot of people get on for the first time. Most guests want to take the full trip around the park, or at least see the new trestle along the Rivers of America, which is located between the New Orleans Square Station and the Toontown Depot, so not a lot of guests get off in New Orleans Square.
The entire ride around Disneyland takes about 18 minutes, so it’s a really great spot to relax while your kids are still having fun – it’s basically like a ride to the littles! You can park your stroller or fold to ride. What we do sometimes is park at one station (you can lock your stroller with a stroller lock if you’d like, but we usually feel comfortable to leave it without locking), then ride the train to another location, get off to eat lunch or ride an attraction, then get back on and head back to where we parked our stroller – it’s a great way to get from land to land if you need to take a break from all the walking!
Happy crew on re-opening day of the Disneyland Railroad! Conductor Mickey hats from Los Feliz Five and Dime on Buena Vista Street in California Adventure – youth and adult hats available!
The train on the brand new trestle!
The train pulling into the New Orleans Square Station.
The Mark Twain from the train!
Beautiful view of it’s a small world and the Matterhorn from the train!
The Rivers of America
Ah, the Rivers of America. We always feel instantly relaxed when we step onto the Mark Twain. This is also a very nostalgic part of Disneyland for us (and many others), so it’s been great to see the Mark Twain, Sailing Ship Columbia and Davey Crockett Explorer Canoes make their way around the river again.
Mark Twain and Sailing Ship Columbia Details
The Mark Twain starts running when Disneyland opens and typically closes at 5:45 PM, but be sure to check the daily schedule during your visit so you don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy this attraction!
The Sailing Ship Columbia starts running at 11:00 AM and ends its trips around the river at 4:00 PM. Be sure to check out the lower deck of the ship to see how 18th center sailors lived – so neat!
The Mark Twain and Sailing Ship Columbia alternate picking guests up at the dock in Frontierland, so if you don’t see the boat you’d like to ride at the dock, just wait a few minutes because chances are, the other boat will be comin’ around the corner to the dock soon.
For any parents out there, the Mark Twain is an especially great place to relax (there is seating on the boat) and take in the views! We also think it’s a great spot to feed/nurse your babe, or get your baby in a wrap or carrier down for a nap (the entire trip takes about 14 minutes).
We mentioned the Mark Twain wheelhouse or pilothouse in a recent blog post about Disney freebies, but if you missed that post, we’re here to fill you in again! If you would like a chance to ride up in the wheelhouse with the pilot of the Mark Twain, head to the Frontierland dock in the morning and simply ask if you can! The 360 degree view from the top is breathtaking and at the end of your journey, you’ll receive a souvenir “Pilot’s License!” So fun!
Three Disneyland classics in one photo! Can you spot them all? We were on the Mark Twain when we snapped the photo, the Davey Crockett Explorer Canoes are down below and the train is making its way along the new trestle in the background – so amazing!
Davey Crockett Explorer Canoe Details
The Davey Crockett Explorer Canoes are actually something we had never experienced until a couple days ago – it wasn’t on our priority list when we were kids, and over a year and a half ago when the canoes were up and running, we didn’t want to canoe with tiny babies in tow. There is NO height requirement for this attraction, but we don’t recommend taking a baby on (unless in a wrap/carrier) because they’ll have to sit next to you in the canoe (no lap sitting) and for us, that just seems like more work unless your little one will sit totally still the whole time! The canoes are NOT on a track, so you gotta use those muscles to paddle!
The canoes start taking guests around the Rivers of America when the park opens and typically stop at 5:00 PM. You can find the loading dock by the Hungry Bear Restaurant. All little ones are required to wear a life vest.
The train heading over the new trestle while we took a break from paddling our canoe!
Fantasmic! returned on July 17, Disneyland’s 62nd Anniversary! We always recommend families make time to see this amazing show in the evening! We have tons of information about the show on our site, so click here to read if you’re interested!
Hungry Bear Restaurant Deck
The Hungry Bear Restaurant has always been a favorite place for us to go with our kids – there is plenty of seating, an incredible view of the Rivers of America from the deck (entertainment for kids) along with the Disneyland Railroad on the other side of the restaurant, the food is good and no reservation is required. We almost forgot just how amazing the view really is until the covers on the outer edge of the patio were removed a few days ago! We like to sit along the edge of the main deck because it offers a little more shade with a big patio cover overhead, but when it’s not super hot out, we like to walk a little further down to the tables with umbrellas (right between the Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America – so entertaining for kids) – usually not as many guests sit down that way. There is also seating below the upper deck by the restrooms, but there are not as many tables down there.
The Hungry Bear Restaurant is open daily at 11:00 AM. You can check out the menu here – be sure to try their seasonal funnel cakes – they never disappoint!
The Mark Twain floating by as we get ready to dive into lunch at the Hungry Bear Restaurant!
New Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Entry Points
We get overly excited about new walkways at the parks for two reasons – one, it means some fun, new adventures are that much closer (2019 is a ways away, but still!), and two, we’re moms, so any new space to let our kids run around and get their wiggles out is exciting for us!
Over the past couple weeks, three new walkways have opened up on the west side of the park. All three walkways will eventually lead to “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” (Star Wars Land), but for now, they’re just great places to escape the crowds, relax and let our kids get some out of stroller time!
See a few photos of each walkway below.
This is a walkway/Star Wars Land entry point off of Big Thunder Trail, closer to the Fantasyland side.
Love this old wagon along the path!
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge entry point #2 is also located off of Big Thunder Trail, but closer to the Frontierland side. The train passes overhead about every 15 minutes and it’s so fun for the kids! There are also a couple of benches if you need to sit down and relax or feed your babe. It’s almost like a cave, so the shade is pretty great all day long!
The final entry point is located between the Rivers of America and the Hungry Bear Restaurant. You can find the start of this pathway just before the Hungry Bear Restaurant entrance. The train also passes overhead at this spot about every 15 minutes, and the shade from the train track is great for warm days. Also, be sure to check out the landscaping – it’s all so beautiful and perfect!