Grizzly River Run is a river rapids ride situated at Disney California Adventure in Anaheim, California, in the Disneyland Resort. It’s comparable to Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Kali River Rapids, but the rafts are designed to spin as they descend chutes. The name of the attraction is derived from Grizzly Peak, the bear-shaped peak around which the rapids flow. Walt Disney Imagineering created it.
Disney announced on October 14, 1998, that they would be building a fresh new theme park next to Disneyland named Disney California Adventure. It would be designed after California’s history and culture, and would include attractions such as California Screamin’, Soarin’, and Maliboomer. The park would also have a Grizzly River Run river rapids attraction. This proposed attraction would be built around Grizzly Peak, the growling bear-shaped mountain that serves as the centerpiece of Disney California Adventure. The ride’s construction began in early 1999, when the mountain began to rise.
Grizzly River Run was finished in time for the formal opening of Disney California Adventure on February 8, 2001.
Warming shelters were added outside the attraction in November 2018.
The queue is held at the fictitious Grizzly River Rafting Company. The long line winds past an office with a radio, a map of the river, a canoe, and a list of the river’s rapids. As they make their way to the loading station, they pass by several water buckets.
The original line, which had been themed on extreme sports, was replaced as part of the park’s massive 2007-2012 refurbishment with an homage to California state parks, specifically after Redwood Creek and the Sacramento River. Elements reminiscent of the “golden age” of national parks are placed around the entrance, allude to the turn-of-the-century wave of wildlife conservation.
The raft ride over Grizzly Peak starts with the raft being lifted up a wooden conveyor that travels beneath leaking pipes that sprinkle water on the riders. When the rafts reach the top of the conveyor, they are lowered into the river and fell down the peak, passing through a cave and hitting a log jam. The rafts are dropped into a geyser field at the ride’s climax. The rafts are rotated as they begin their descent on the last drop, which adds a unique element.
When the pumps are turned off, like with all flume-type rides, there must be a place to store or drain the water in the top sections of the flumes. The first aim was to build a massive underground basin beneath Grizzly Peak to store water. This would have necessitated expensive excavation and building. When the final layout of California Adventure was revealed, it was discovered that the Pacific Wharf part of the park featured a water element supposed to replicate a tidal basin. The tidal basin is located across a footbridge from Grizzly River Run and serves as a catch basin for the raft ride’s water. The rise and fall of water in the tidal basin has two functions: it stores water and it serves as an aesthetic element that replicates a rising and falling tide.
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