It's happening. For real. Disney announced this morning that it will retheme its Splash Mountain attractions to its animated film The Princess and the Frog.
This isn't a knee-jerk reaction to recent news and fan requests. Imagineers say that they've actually been working on a Splash retheme for some time, with a specific focus on The Princess and the Frog for the past year.
“We continually evaluate opportunities to enhance and elevate experiences for our guests,” Carmen Smith, creative development and inclusive strategies executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, said. “It is important that our guests be able to see themselves in the experiences we create. Because we consider ourselves constant learners, we go to great lengths to research and engage cultural advisors and other experts to help guide us along the way. I am incredibly proud to see this work continue to move forward with great support from leadership across Disney.”
Charita Carter, the 22-year WDI veteran who recently helped lead the development of Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway at Disney's Hollywood Studios, is overseeing the Splash Mountain project.
“Like Princess Tiana, I believe that courage and love are the key ingredients for wonderful adventures. I am delighted to be a part of bringing this fun-filled experience to our guests,” she said.
WDI also issued a statement from the designer of the original Splash Mountain, Disney Legend Tony Baxter.
"When Splash Mountain came to life over 30 years ago, the wave of Disney Animation that started with The Little Mermaid had not yet begun. New stories would give us characters, music and wonderful places that now reside in the hearts of audiences everywhere. Following conversations with Imagineering’s leaders about the new attraction's scope and resources, I had a great sense of reassurance -- the attraction will be one to be proud of... bringing to life places, characters and music from the animated classic The Princess and the Frog. Being able to participate as a creative advisor on the planning and design with the Imagineering team, I look forward to being a part of a new adventure in Disney magic and fun!"
Earlier this month, I wrote about Splash Mountain and its source material, Song of the South, which represents so much troubled history for the nation at large as well as The Walt Disney Company. There's no set timeline yet for when the new version of Splash Mountain - or whatever its new name might be - will open to guests, as Imagineers are still in the design phase.
Disney's announcement mentioned changes at the Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom and Disneyland versions of Splash Mountain, but did not mention the Tokyo Disneyland installation. For what it's worth, all versions of Splash Mountain currently are closed, as Tokyo Disney, Walt Disney World, and Disneyland have yet to reopen. Tokyo is set to open July 1, followed by the Magic Kingdom on July 11. As announced yesterday, there is no reopening date for Disneyland at this time.Tweet
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