Exactly one month ago, 17th June 2007, we reported a very different story indeed – the first sighting of the two keelboats circling Big Thunder Mountain! Their long-awaited return! Life returns to the rivers, Frontierland is the “fabulous” Far West once again!

Today, 17th July 2007, as the Summer season rumbles on, hope is fading for the grand return we’ve been awaiting. Cast Members at the newly-refurbished entrance, completed recently with a wait time indicator, tell guests that the River Rogue Keelboats will not be re-opening this week.

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So, what’s the problem? As always, Disney Central Plaza forum is the place for a bit of “inside info”…

Member Jollyroger gives the reason as an unscheduled set of maintenance for at least one of the boats, damaged in some form during the extensive weeks of Cast Member training. Kinoo backs this up, whilst member Piel again adds that problems have been caused as boats brush past the Western scenery, and even suggests that a couple of the keelboat pilots have left the team, causing further delays. An attraction with such low capacity and through-put will need to be firing on all cylinders at all times, with both boats constantly operational and a large Cast available.

The perseverance and effort of the people overseeing this re-opening should be admired, even if they’re becoming unlucky again. They’re certainly using a lot of time and a lot of money to get a relatively minor attraction back up and running. If this was happening in the Jay Rasulo days, they’d have probably been left to rot without question. (Oh wait, they were!)

The date for re-opening now stands at next weekend, the 21st July 2007, but even this has been mentioned with hesitation. Don’t be surprised to see this saga turn into a trilogy then, maybe with the 28th July 2007 as its ending? Or the 4th August 2007? Or, at this rate, 2008…

Photos by Photos Magiques, taken during training several weeks ago.

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