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This Month in Disney Parks History: February

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Ah, February. The month of roses and romance, the Princess Half Marathon, and Disney ticket price increases. This year, it was also the month of the D23 Japan event featuring updates on the new Star Wars Hotel, Guardians of the Galaxy Epcot attraction, and Pixar Pier’s opening date to name a few. Historically though, February seems to be a pretty quiet month for the Disney Parks. Let’s see what we found!

1992: Dixie Landings, now known as Port Orleans Resort Riverside, opened in February 1992. The resort featured a rural Louisiana theme and was renamed and grouped with its sister resort under the Port Orleans heading in the early 2000s. If you (no one’s judging) or your child love the Disney Princesses, you may want to check out the Royal Guest Rooms. These renovated rooms include special artifacts from a few of Disney’s leading ladies. 


1995: Disney World introduced the current version of Astro Orbiter in Magic Kingdom after renovating Tomorrowland. It’s perched on top of the PeopleMover platform, giving guests the opportunity to cling for dear life soar high above Tomorrowland in their own little space ship.

1999: In case Florida’s afternoon rain storms weren’t drenching enough, Kali River Rapids opened in February 1999 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Guests are treated to a rafting expedition down the Chakranadi River, where it’s all fun and games until you’re the one who lands in the path of every single water feature. Anyone else feel like it’s always them? I find it to be especially unforgiving if you only went on it because everyone else wanted to do it.

2001: Disney’s California Adventure opened, joining Disneyland Park as the second park in Disneyland Resort. It initially underwhelmed guests, so after just 6 years, Disney announced a redesign and expansion of the park. The billion dollar effort paid off, and Disney’s California Adventure is no  longer considered the problem child it first appeared to be.

2010: Following the death of Michael Jackson, Captain EO returned to Disneyland resort for a limited engagement in February 2010. The show originally played at Disneyland from 1986-1997, and nostalgic guests were excited to see the return of one of the first 4D films. The other Disney Parks followed suit, but by the end of 2015, the show was no longer playing in any of the parks.

2011: Disney World visitors said goodbye to Mickey’s Toon Town Fair, which closed to make way for New Fantasyland.

2015: As part of the continuing overhaul of Hollywood Studios, the iconic Sorcerer’s Hat was removed after more than a decade on display at the end of Hollywood Boulevard. Originally installed to commemorate Disney’s 100 Years of Magic Celebration, the hat, which had become the icon of the park, overstayed its welcome to many guests who disapproved of the obstructed view of the Chinese Theater.

2017: After almost an entire year of delays, Rivers of Light finally debuted at Animal Kingdom. The show was originally set to open in April of 2016, but technical difficulties led to months and months of delays. When the show did finally open, it was a toned-down, shorter version of the original plan, skipping some of the effects which had led to the lengthy delay.

That’s it for this month. See you in March for our next update!

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Liz Mangan

Liz Mangan got her start in the trip planning business at the spry young age of five by color coding her mom’s Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with highlighters and post-it notes based on what she wanted to see and do on their upcoming trips. Over the last two decades since then, she’s enjoyed spending her spare time helping others plan their Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando Resort vacations.

6 thoughts on “This Month in Disney Parks History: February

  • Kali River Rapids is meant to represent the Kali Gandaki river. Chakranadi is the talented band with Stephan Mikes on sitar that plays regularly across from the Anandapur Tea Company. 😉

    • And (possibly?) Riad Abdulsalam on tabla. 🙂

    • Hi Gillian, thanks for checking out the post! I think Disney actually named their version of the river Chakranadi, as that’s what’s listed on the Disney website for Kali River Rapids. I don’t doubt you that it represents the Kali Gandaki River though! They even mention Kali Gandaki River as part of their inspiration for the Rivers of Light theming.

      • Oops, my bad! Interesting that they would have the river and the band with the same name! 🙂

  • You are way off on the year that Toon Town closed at WDW — I didn’t make my first trip until fall 2003, and Toon Town was still there at least a few trips after that.

    • Good catch, Jay-Jay! That was supposed to be 2011 instead of 2001. Updated now. Thanks for reading!


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