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  1. #1

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    What's at the bottom of Rivers of America?

    I just found this Orange County Register article from 2003 about what they find when they drained the ROA for the first time in 10 years, and thought it might be interesting enough to share:

    Orange County Register Michelle Gabriel 1/22/2003

    Many guests are disappointed to find access to Tom Sawyer Island temporarily cut off.

    Hard to say what the toaster was doing at the bottom of Disneyland's Rivers of America.

    Sure, the cameras, beepers and video recorders make sense. But not the toaster. Or the full bottle of rum. The Rivers of America, which wrap around Tom Sawyer Island and hide underwater tracks for the Sailing Ship Columbia and Mark Twain Riverboat, is currently nothing more than a muddy, pipe-littered trough that won't be a river again until it is refilled in March.

    The river was last drained in 1993 to repair the boats' underwater tracks and special-effects mechanisms that bring to life the Fantasmic show, which draws walls of water and leaping flames from the river, said Jack McClintock, a Disneyland spokesman.

    Park officials drained it again Jan. 6, putting a stop to the boat cruises and cutting off access to Tom Sawyer Island. The island, a park staple since it opened to the public in June 1956, usually is swarming with children exploring caves and peeking around trees.

    "The caves are closed!" 10-year-old Justin Sawhill said, crossing his arms and pouting. "That's the best part!"

    Although Disney officials hid the bare riverbed with a 2,000-foot long, 8-foot tall blue fence, park guests still peeked through cracks. People stopped on an overpass above the Pirates of the Caribbean ride for a better look and peered from atop Tarzan's Treehouse, which soars 70 feet in the air, looking at grimy puddles and the ships, suspended on their tracks, masts peeping over the fence.

    Some were surprised to see what was behind - or underneath - the rides.

    "It's interesting to see the magic," said Brian Lopez.

    McClintock said it took almost four days to drain the 6 million-gallon river. The water, which is dyed dark green - obscuring any toasters or toddies - is tested periodically for toxins, according to both park officials and the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board. The water is then emptied through the park's storm- drain system to the ocean.

    To entertain guests until the Rivers of America are refilled, Disney employees dressed as Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher re-enact the fence-painting scene from "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," inviting children to help them "whitewash" the fence with water-soaked brushes.

    The riverboats and Tom Sawyer Island were among a handful of rides closed Tuesday.

    The Haunted Mansion and the "It's a Small World" rides were closed, which limited what guest Jennifer Bronson could do with her 8-month- old daughter. The closed rides were slower paced than some of the rides left open - the jostling Indiana Jones adventure ride and Splash Mountain, which features a drenching five-story drop.

    Jack Spiewak said he wished he could see more of the construction. As he squinted through cracks in the wall - his son, perched on his dad's stomach, got a peek as well - he said he wished there were a window in the fence.

    His friend, Teri Vore, explained the voyeurism.

    "We like the behind-the- scenes action," she said.

  2. #2

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    Re: What's at the bottom of Rivers of America?

    So the most interesting thing they've found was a toaster?

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    Talking Re: What's at the bottom of Rivers of America?

    I saw a boot out there in an empty "Riverbed of America".

    But get this! They drained the water where the Subs are in early 1979 for one reason or another. So, with my Dad, I peeked in and we saw a toilet in there! I kid you not. It was a toilet! White and porcelain! Lid was UP! You can imagine how funny an 7 or 8 year old kid found THAT!

    Ok, now back to Rivers of America.

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    Re: What's at the bottom of Rivers of America?

    I remember seeing (and photographing) a work truck parked in there while it was drained. Also took a pic of the Columbia sitting on "dry land".

    It made for an extra little bit of entertainment while visiting the Park.

    Oh yeah, there was a cool Tom Sawyer hanging out there as well. The kids got his pic and autograph while he was "hanging out" in the spot set up for him.

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    Re: What's at the bottom of Rivers of America?

    Quote Originally Posted by Disneyland Daddy View Post
    But get this! They drained the water where the Subs are in early 1979 for one reason or another. So, with my Dad, I peeked in and we saw a toilet in there! I kid you not. It was a toilet! White and porcelain! Lid was UP! You can imagine how funny an 7 or 8 year old kid found THAT!

    Ok, now back to Rivers of America.
    Maybe the workers were using it!

  6. #6

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    Re: What's at the bottom of Rivers of America?

    I always take my toaster to DLR - doesn't everyone?

    Will trade husband for Disneyland and DCA Pins!

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    Re: What's at the bottom of Rivers of America?

    Quote Originally Posted by Disneyland Daddy View Post
    I saw a boot out there in an empty "Riverbed of America".

    But get this! They drained the water where the Subs are in early 1979 for one reason or another. So, with my Dad, I peeked in and we saw a toilet in there! I kid you not. It was a toilet! White and porcelain! Lid was UP! You can imagine how funny an 7 or 8 year old kid found THAT!

    Ok, now back to Rivers of America.
    Well if the lid was up, it had to be left there by a man, right?

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    Talking Re: What's at the bottom of Rivers of America?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frogberto View Post
    Well if the lid was up, it had to be left there by a man, right?
    Probably so! Good call............but this whole "he leaves the seat up' jazz...women, I ask you, why in the world would you sit on ANYTHING before looking at it? Hello?

    And now, back to Rivers of America....

  9. #9

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    Re: What's at the bottom of Rivers of America?

    Quote Originally Posted by Disneyland Daddy View Post
    But get this! They drained the water where the Subs are in early 1979 for one reason or another. So, with my Dad, I peeked in and we saw a toilet in there! I kid you not. It was a toilet! White and porcelain! Lid was UP! You can imagine how funny an 7 or 8 year old kid found THAT!

    Ok, now back to Rivers of America.
    Well, maybe that's how they drained it - one big flush. Sometimes ya gotta hold the handle down.





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    Re: What's at the bottom of Rivers of America?

    Yes, and also.. is it easier to use gravity to allow the seat to fall back down, or to ask us to put the seat both up and then down when men use the toilet. Why are we always doing all the heavy lifting?

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    Re: What's at the bottom of Rivers of America?

    I would say, do not drain the River's of America so guests would see. Then it would lose the magic and not look deeper and know that the Mark Twain is on a track (Some people don't know this)

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    Re: What's at the bottom of Rivers of America?

    Quote Originally Posted by barfownz View Post
    Then it would lose the magic and not look deeper and know that the Mark Twain is on a track (Some people don't know this)

    *raises hand*

    I did not know it was on tracks. Learn something everyday.

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    Re: What's at the bottom of Rivers of America?

    I saw chairs that had come from the Hungry Bear Restaurant ... but while that's an odd item to be found at the river bottom, it doesn't beat that other kind of seating found beneath the waves of the Submarine Lagoon.

    And at least it was obvious where the chairs came from, if not why. How on earth that item got in the Sub Lagoon will likely remain a permanent mystery.

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    Re: What's at the bottom of Rivers of America?

    Quote Originally Posted by claribella View Post
    *raises hand*

    I did not know it was on tracks. Learn something everyday.
    The Columbia is too.

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    Re: What's at the bottom of Rivers of America?

    Quote Originally Posted by barfownz View Post
    The Columbia is too.
    Well dash-it-all!

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