The Rivers of America is an artificial river found in the Frontierland district of the Magic Kingdom-classed Disney theme parks around the world. The first river was built in Disneyland when the park opened in 1955. It surrounds Tom Sawyer Island, which can be reached by rafts traveling from the Frontierland mainland. Additionally, there are other water-based vehicles which are found on the river. The sights along the Rivers include a Native American tribe, a burning cabin (though the cabin at Disneyland hasn't been burning for years), and various animatronic wildlife.
As other Magic Kingdom parks were built, they included their own similar version.
At Hong Kong Disneyland, there is no Frontierland, so the Imagineers merged the Rivers of America with the classic Adventureland Jungle Cruise attraction. Jungle river rafts now travel around the Rivers of Adventure, encountering similar situations as in the Jungle Cruise attraction, but on a much more open river and exposed to the elements of Adventureland. In the middle of the Rivers sits Tarzan's Treehouse, which can be reached by River Rafts.
Several steamboat and ship replicas sail the many Rivers.
The island that is surrounded by the Rivers of America in Frontierland was left almost completely bare when Disneyland first opened in 1955. Time and money had both run out, forcing Walt Disney to leave it unfinished; but on the shores of this once barren isle, the following summer Disney would unveil what is perhaps the most distinctive outdoor playground ever conceived, the Tom Sawyer's Island. To gain access to the island, explorers board a log raft to carry them across the river. Here they will find a network of caves, rocks, bridges, and secret hideouts, including Tom and Huck’s treehouse, Injun Joe’s Cave, Harper’s Mill, and Castle Rock, so named because of its natural resemblance to a fortress tower. For more hearty adventurers, there is a hanging suspension bridge, a pontoon barrel bridge, and a seesaw and spinning merry-go-round fashioned from rocks.
At one time, there was also a fishing pier on the island called Catfish Cove, where fishing poles and live bait were provided for avid and amateur fisherman alike. Guests were invited to cast their lines and take home all the live fish they could catch. At the northern end of the Island once stood Fort Wilderness, an authentic recreation of the log forts used by the US Cavalry in the 1800s. From the lookout towers, young guests could enjoy firing popguns at make-believe targets. Fort Wilderness recently closed and was removed after years of decay made its natural wood construction unstable. Recently, the island has undergone a major renovation, incorporating an all-new pirate motif into its already existing elements as Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island. This was inspired by the enormous popularity of Disney’s new Pirates of the Caribbean film trilogy. There are similar attractions at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, and Tokyo Disneyland. The Disneyland Paris version is known as Big Thunder Isle and is unique in that it is the only Disney theme park to have Big Thunder Mountain Railroad on the island. The Hong Kong Disneyland version is known as Adventure Isle and is located not in Frontierland, but Adventureland and has the Jungle Cruise circling it.