Zip-a-Dee-Buh-Bye: Disney to Retheme Splash Mountain

June 25, 2020, 11:00 AM · 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.

Concept art
Concept art courtesy Disney

“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.

Replies (50)

June 25, 2020 at 4:23 PM

Okay, hear me out.

Star Wars Launch Bay is well past its expiration date. And with a whole bunch of very relevant animatronics from Splash Mountain's finale about to become available... is it time for Disneyland to reboot America Sings?

June 25, 2020 at 4:43 PM

I'm usually the first to say "that attraction was stupid i'm happy they're changing it" (Malestrom, Backlot Tour, Great Movie Ride, etc etc) but i'm definitely going to miss Splash Mountain. I've always thought of it as one of those classic iconic Disney attractions that can never be taken out, like Haunted Mansion or Small World.
But it's not surprising to me as the new Splash Mountain, just like the movies Princess and the Frog and Black Panther, will drive a lot of sales and build loyalty amongst African Americans.

June 25, 2020 at 4:42 PM

I think that any attraction based on IP that can't hit all four quadrants for Disney - feature films, TV/Disney+, merchandise, and theme parks - is probably not long for this world in its current form.

Original IP attractions might get their chance to launch movies, etc., but if they can't deliver like Pirates did, they become candidates for a PatF/Pixar Pier/Pirates Lair makeover.

June 25, 2020 at 4:44 PM

I love the Princess and the Frog (it's the only one of the "modern" Disney cartoons that I've cared anything for since Lion King and Little Mermaid). It's got great characters and truly wonderful songs -- I just wish that it was getting a dedicated dark boat ride all of its own. I'll miss all the characters in Splash Mountain, not to mention the music. I think there was room in the parks for both attractions.

That said, I think Robert's idea for a reboot of America Sings is awesome! Could we get it in Orlando too, please??

June 25, 2020 at 4:50 PM

I would have thought the animatronics would just be recycled to the updated ride.

Lot of thoughts here. I will miss Splash Mountain, my kids loved it growing up, and still do. I hope the imagineers just stun us with something amazing. But, yeah, I think it was time to go.

Grew up in SoCal, enjoyed Disneyland as a child. Saw a lot of attractions come and go. Still think about the 20,000 Leagues movie exhibit, house of tomorrow, etc. At WDW I will always miss the Great Movie Ride, my father and I loved it, but I think he would have enjoyed Mickey and Minnie as well.

B.

June 25, 2020 at 4:51 PM

The return of America Sings? Yes, please.

June 25, 2020 at 5:13 PM

FYI, it's been ages since I've done this, since I try to defer on the side of letting people have their say. But I just banned a user, in case you noticed a missing comment. Allow me to post our rules: "Do not submit posts that threaten, demean, humiliate, attack, or harass other writers on the site, or that use offensive or bigoted language. We ask that all participants in the Theme Park Insider community treat one another with respect and a spirit of helpfulness."

Thank you to all who try to participate in this community in a positive manner.

June 25, 2020 at 5:22 PM

I don’t understand why they don’t just eliminate the entire ride and track. If you want to get rid of splash mountain and theming completely, at least build a new ride. This just seems like Disney was pushed against a wall to get rid of the theming and the result is this cheap option.

June 25, 2020 at 6:05 PM

I'm sorry Robert, but I don't buy the "we've been working on this for a while" PR speak. You don't announce a new ride in the middle of a pandemic that has caused an economic depression that furloughed the majority of your employees and slashed all your budgets unless you feel like this is something that has to be done right away.

And to have it be the exact same IP conversion that fans have only been asking for the past month would be too much of a coincidence to believe. Especially since nothing about Princess and the Frog screams "Frontierland" in Magic Kingdom, even if Splash Mountain just barely qualifies in that regard.

June 25, 2020 at 6:09 PM

James, I suspect the whole fan thing earlier this month was an orchestrated leak. It was a trial balloon. If fan feedback had been sharply negative, that might have killed the project. But it wasn't - in fact, there was much support - so WDI decided to go ahead.

And it was a trial balloon that just so happened to help green-light a new project at WDI while CapEx is getting slashed all over the place elsewhere in the industry. It's brilliant, really.

June 25, 2020 at 6:11 PM

Also in response to James, this adds further evidence as to how Disneyland-centric WDI can be. PatF fits *perfectly* in the DL Mansion's New Orleans Square home.

At WDW? Eh, they'll make it fit, I guess. ;^)

June 25, 2020 at 6:10 PM

Hey there Robert!
Splash Mountain was the first ride my wife rode with me on her first trip to WDW in 95. It quickly became our favorite. My all time favorite music in the parks!
But it is time for change. Song of the South has no place in today's WDW/Disneyland.
I LOVE Princess and the Frog, and look forward to seeing the changes! Some terrific music to work with!
With Disney, I feel there is always more to look forward to than to grouse about what once was.
(unless you are talking about Alien Encounter! lol!)

June 25, 2020 at 6:22 PM

I would love to see Disney return to the bravery of recognising that not every attraction needs an IP....

June 25, 2020 at 6:25 PM

Interesting timing for this. I think Robert hit the nail on the head with his assessment. Tying this in with a Princess makes sense, as Splash Mountain doesn't generate any income outside the parks. My opinion is that it is not a racially divisive ride as it is (although I understand the arguments that it is), due to its roots they can't expand the ride into a movie franchise or other IP.

Timing this announcement now whilst there is a pandemic on makes no sense as it implies investment in a cash poor era. However it makes a great marketing exercise during the Black Lives Matter movement. I don't believe Disney is that crass in their motivations, as generally they try (sometimes too hard) to be somewhat socially responsible. I think that the leak does then make sense to sound out reactions before the announcement.

As for the location, it is actually perfect. It is right next to New Orleans Square (the setting of Princess and the Frog) and could represent the Bayou area.

I agree that this has likely been on the back-burner for a while, just that the timing seems appropriate to make the announcement to generate publicity in a time that the parks remain dormant. Development may not start for a couple of years, by the time the economy has picked up a bit.

Edit - I'm not as familiar with the location in WDW, maybe it makes less sense there.

June 25, 2020 at 6:48 PM

I wasn’t originally on board for the retheme, but the more I think about it the more it makes sense.

Song of the South is controversial and irrelevant to most modern audiences. Princess and the Frog fits in Magic Kingdom and in that area of the park (even better at Disneyland) and allows for more diversity to be represented in the park.

I think hardcore Disney fans who love the classics (which, I probably am one) will get over it, especially if it is done well. And younger audiences will not even miss the old theme. So, all-in-all, seems like a good move, albeit painful for me.

June 25, 2020 at 7:27 PM

I love PatF. It is definitely worthy of a stand alone attraction, but there really is no need to replace Splash Mtn. I think what will determine if its a great new ride or a lazy retheme will be how they incorporate the final drop into the new story, because it was tailor made to the Brer rabbit story. Its a great classic attraction with one of the best soundtracks on any ride. Im sure Tokyo will keep its original version so its not too sad of a loss for me.

June 25, 2020 at 9:45 PM

Man, lots of thoughts.

I disagree with this, I think it's unnecessary, political, I'm going to bitter for a long time, I'm still going to call it Splash Mountain, I'm still not over the Great Movie Ride, they ripped out the heart of MGM when that ride went away. I've never seen Song of the South. I thought the characters were original ride IP characters for the longest time. Everything about Splash is iconic, it's my childhood, it's magic/story/music/engineering personified. The ride symbolizes imagination. It was my cure for the real world, ironically.

But it's for the best, it's the right move, both economically and socially. The re-theme better be good, it can't be lazy, it has to have heart. HEART is my only requirement. It's easy to win back Disney fanboys with something shiny, soulful, and new.

Even though I disagree, the decision is coming from a place of progress and love. I can totally get behind that.

Also, I'm really really excited for Shadow Man segment!

June 25, 2020 at 10:19 PM

First, Robert, kudos for the bravery opening up the comments.

Second, I agree, there's been rumors for years of Disney planning some change and that leak seemed to be a test. Indeed, seen scores of folks agreeing, not just on tone but the brutal fact that the ride has been the same for 30 years, it's long overdue for some change.

I love Splash Mountain and I'll miss it but I have faith that Disney pulls this off and is able to give a new life to a beloved attraction. Yes, we know the....sketchy...track record with such rehabs but if they care enough to make it work, it can.

June 26, 2020 at 12:23 AM

I wouldn't mind the change, but IMO Princess and the Frog is a mediocre movie with the lamest excuse for being a princess, Charlotte is the 'princess' of the Mardi Gras parade. Also, why is Dr. Facilier not problematic for being a villain who is a black man? And the songs aren't that great. Just my opinion, you can of course have your own.

June 26, 2020 at 12:35 AM

@disfan: Disagree on songs as I'll put "Friends on the Other Side" right up there with "Be Prepared" and "Hellfire" as the best villain songs.

And the "Princess" part is pretty clear less the title and more her coming into her own as a stronger woman who nabs a prince but he joins her in a "simpler" life rather than live in a castle.

June 26, 2020 at 1:14 AM

Robert,
With Disneyland real estate being scarce, how much longer could Critter Country possibly survive ? 5 years ? Before a new attraction is built, a lot a room for a show building there. All that is there is the The Winnie the Pooh ride, which doesn't draw a significant amount of riders consistently and the gift shop in the back. Seems like an opportunity for something big in the future.

June 26, 2020 at 2:35 AM

Of all the reskins Disney has done lately, this one hurts the most, and this one will probably get me to take a nice long break from visiting Disney parks after my AP is up this fall.

My issue with this is not so much that Splash Mountain is involved. No, the ride didn't need to be changed IMO. It is still among the most popular attractions at Disneyland (top ten if not top five) despite being over thirty years old, and among the general populace I have never heard any serious criticism of the ride's theme or the fact that it's tied to questionable source material. That said, it is an older ride and prone to maintenance issues, so some sort of upgrade may be nice. However, be careful what you wish for. As recent times at Disney have shown, an upgrade does not necessarily result in a superior attraction, and as we've seen plenty of recently, many of Disney's more recent efforts don't have the heart and soul of their older attractions.

My issue here is instead that in a post-COVID world where budgets are significantly cut, if reskinning an existing attraction to a random IP that may or may not fit is sufficient to bring in audiences, why do anything more? Encouraging rethemes and overlays is encouraging cheap and easy attractions over far superior and more innovative headliners, and the standard for what makes a top quality attraction is decreased as a result. It starts with an attraction change that might have some merit, but if the overlay is successful, how long until Hyperspace Mountain becomes permanent (as it has elsewhere), the Matterhorn becomes the North Mountain of Arendelle, or the Haunted Mansion hosts the dead from Coco? Is that really a park you want to visit? Because if a ride that routinely draws 75 minute waits is supposedly at the top of the list for an IP makeover, you can bet many other classic attractions not tied to a current IP are as well.

It saddens me that Disney has become more concerned with putting as many of their various IPs as possible into the parks than ensuring the standard of quality within their attractions is upheld. Progress is necessary, but it does not have to come at the expense of what is there. I look at parks like Knott's Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain, where they may have the latest and greatest thrill rides but still maintain the classics that built the park into what it is today. My worry is that Disney is becoming more and more like Universal, where it's rare for an attraction to survive 20+ years and those who visited the park as kids may find a completely different place than the one they fell in love with upon a return with their own children. "Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future." But if much that once was is lost, are there memories to relive?

There was a time where Disney was the leader in the theme park industry when it came to innovation and immersive experiences. That time, sadly, appears to have passed.

June 26, 2020 at 2:50 AM

Valid points AJ. Just wondering how many rides Disneyland has that aren't themed to other IPs. Those that come to mind are;
Haunted Mansion
Pirates
Thunder Mountain
Space Mountain
Matterhorn
Small World
Jungle Cruise
Autopia
Plus various smaller rides.

Interestingly, of these Splash Mountain is the closest to a preexisting IP. I'll be sad to see it go since it is always a favourite, but a well done Princess and the Frog ride could also be great.

Of those rides above, the only I'd be happy to see go would be Autopia (an outdated waste of space). Matterhorn could also go, or be thoroughly refurbished. It's a iconic ride, but to me its vastly underwhelming and missable. The difficulty in DLR is that due to a lack of space any upgrades to increase visitation or capacity almost inevitably have to be at the cost of something that someone describes as a classic.

June 26, 2020 at 3:38 AM

Not a fan of reskins from Disney. I can't name one ride that is redone that is better than it's original (unlike the rides they plus-ed).
But nothing should be forever and Princes and the Frog is the last classic animation movie that was fine imho. I'm also glad a real imagineer, Tony Baxter, is involved as the current slew of kids who worked there (they are all send home as far as I know) don't even take shade into consideration when building a new land or ride.
Last time I road the attraction at WDW (+15 years ago) it was in a sad state, faded paint and almost non of the AA's worked. I hope at least that improves in the future.

June 26, 2020 at 9:49 AM

I've taken some time to really consider what Disney is doing here. My initial reaction was a polite applause for Disney recognizing the troubled origins of the theming on Splash Mountain. However, the more I think about it, the more I see that it's just more of the same from a corporation looking to stay in the good graces of their customers and so they can avoid controversy during a period of unprecedented push for change to correct racial injustice and systemic bias.

I personally have not seen Song of the South since I was 5 or 6 years old, and while I know someone who has a copy of the film, I don't really have any desire any more to revisit it. However, while the characters and songs for Splash Mountain come directly from the controversial film, I've always viewed it as an original IP attraction, and Disney's decision to bury the film from ever re-entering the public consciousness further supported the notion that Splash Mountain was it's own IP instead of being derivative of a rarely-seen and nearly impossible to find relic from nearly 75 years ago.

My view of recent events to reshape our views of history and memorials to that history is of mixed mind. Drawing attention to different aspects of our history is an important aspect of what is going on in our country today, but the unilateral decisions to shift from glorifying contributors to slavery and Black oppression to striking them completely from history regardless of any positive contribution or artistic value of their memorials (most notably the Emancipation Statue in Capitol Hill, DC) is a perfect example of the polarization of our country right now that for some reason can only see one extreme or the other. The failure of our society to be able to re-frame or adjust our understanding of history is sad, and justifies why Disney really didn't have a choice in eventually doing a full re-theme of Splash Mountain, but being able to get Tony Baxter to directly bless this reskinning is an important step to justify this change from an artistic standpoint. Unfortunately, many of the artists and/or subjects of statues and memorials being torn down out of existence are not being given a voice.

However, I'm not willing to further applaud Disney for this move, because in the end, they're just adjusting their moral compass to which ever way the wind is blowing. They did the same on PotC as #MeToo was at its height, and these reactionary changes may seem to be progressive in the face of some of Disney's peers, but are no different than Starbuck's knee jerk reaction to reverse their policy to discourage the wearing of BLM shirts by their employees. In the end, Disney is in business to make money, and while they appear to uphold some level or moral high ground compared to other entertainment companies, they are by no means leaders or trail-blazers. We're all human, subject to biases and making mistakes, and Disney is a company made up of human beings that should understand and recognize past indiscretions and uncomfortable work, not try to strike those from the historical record and pretend that history never happened. In no way should Song of the South be held up as a piece of modern entertainment, but just because Splash Mountain utilized characters and songs from a work with troubled themes when viewed with the modern eye doesn't mean that Disney had to retheme it. Also, while using Princess and the Frog is a natural choice and long overdue to utilize the underappreciated movie on a park attraction, it seems a little like appeasement, concession, or reparation to the BLM movement and not a sincere attempt to make the theme park experience more inclusive (Disney has been leaning on Tiana as "the Black Princess" for over a decade now just like Mulan is "the Asian Princess" and Moana is the "Pacific Islander Princess" without any further integration of races within the parks).

Disney's attempt to argue that they were already working on this is a crock, because anyone with a peripheral knowledge of how theme park attractions are designed and maintained knows that companies are constantly floating "trial balloons" to see if new ideas and changes will improve popularity. I have no doubt that Disney probably had dozens of reskinning ideas for Splash Mountain developed over the past decade, but the fact that it took until now for Disney to actually make any change is reflective of their reactionary business practices and not some indication of the company being woke or ahead of the curve.

I do kind of like the idea of New Orleans Square expanding its footprint at Disneyland with this change, and there are tons of possibilities and ideas to better integrate Splash Mountain into the Disneyland landscape. The change to MK's Splash Mountain is not quite as natural, but I do hope that Imagineers give WDW's version it's own personality that uniquely brings New Orleans to the MK for the first time.

June 26, 2020 at 12:15 PM

As someone who has seen Song of the South, I understand this decision. Similar to Gone with the Wind, the film romanticized the pre-war south, ignoring the horrors of slavery. Even further, being based on the Uncle Remus novel, one of the film's main characters is most accurately characterized under the false stereotype of a "happy slave". While making this film was misguided, even back in 1946, Walt Disney consulted with several Afro-American leagues and organizations to ensure the film was not considered offensive to African-Americans. Unfortunately this does not in any way overcome the film's failures.

Even though I understand, respect and ultimately support the decision, a part of me is extremely saddened to see the ride go. It was an absolute masterpiece of a ride that I looked forward to sharing with my children in the future. The ride depicts only the best parts of the film, all of which are unrelated to the era and the accompanying racial injustice. These best moments are the cartoon stories told by Uncle Remus. I will miss Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear. I will miss the Happy Place and the Briar Patch. I will miss the uplifting and memorable soundtrack highlighted by the catchy "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" performed by the great James Baskett. I am very sad to see it go, but I understand and support the change.

This country is trying to heal from a problem that has ailed it for years. If this changes needs to happen in order to help it heal, we all need to be accepting of it. I credit the artists that worked on Splash Mountain for their great work, which remains as loved today as it was when it opened and I look forward to the continuing art to come from young and fresh imagineers.

EDIT: The film takes place post-Civil War. The workers on the plantation are not slaves but rather free people who choose to continue work on the plantation. I saw the film several years ago and do not recall the filmmakers addressing this point. Thank you AngryDuck for the fact-check.

June 26, 2020 at 11:17 AM

Russel Meyer, I agree. Ncb10d, the film was meant to take place in the antebellum South and doesn't depict slaves, but rather free men who continue to work on the plantation by choice. This is a common misconception, but regardless, that misconception is the fault of the filmmakers who didn't make it clear.

June 26, 2020 at 11:34 AM

Very well said, Russell! Especially your third paragraph...

June 26, 2020 at 11:45 AM

Well said, Russell! I also agree with your third paragraph. It seems like both sides have a zero-tolerance policy for any disagreement. If you are not 100% behind your group's position, you are some sort of terrible person. It makes having genuine dialogue almost impossible, at least online. I have found in-person discussions with people I disagree with tend to not be so hostile.

June 26, 2020 at 11:56 AM

@Jack H: Let's face it, trying debates on the Internet is often a losing proposition. This very site has seen examples of that. It can be good but as others say, it can fall too much into either extreme.

Again, I think this was inevitable not for the tone but simply the fact that it's hard to find a Disney attraction that's lasted 30 years almost exactly the same. Frankly, I'm amazed Disney didn't try some changes at least a decade ago, it's what they do.

June 26, 2020 at 12:03 PM

Very interesting and valid points in these comments. I was thinking about this change yesterday as Splash Mountain is a favorite of mine and my family's and we never miss it (Riding the Tokyo version for the first time last year was amazing. It looked and sounded brand new!).

Splash Mountain seemed like a real winner when it opened. I was a HUGE America Sings fan growing up aand between reusing all the animatronics and the happy songs that stick in your head all day I always loved riding it. However, I saw Song of the South when I was very young and I still remember it fairly well so past 20 years or so I've been getting off the ride thinking to myself, "Boy, if only this ride wasn't based on a racist IP".

Anyway, yesterday my wife and I are talking about this news and she has never seen any part of Song of the South. So I'm describing it to her and telling her the story and we get to the part where Brer Rabbit gets stuck in the "tar baby" (UGH UGH UGH) and she's like, "WHAAAAAAT?" and I explained how in the ride, they changed it to him getting stuck in honey so....yeah. We talked about it more and we started to wonder, even in the late 80's why Eisner, his teenage son, and Tony Baxter thought it was a good idea to base a ride on Song of the South in the first place. I mean, come on. I understand that because the film has basically been hidden by Disney, many don't or can't make those connections, but the sad fact is that it IS based on an extremely problematic IP. We are both looking forward to this re-theming.

Now if we could only get Pooh's Hunny Hunt to be re-themed as that Country Bears racing ride that was proposed at one point...


June 26, 2020 at 12:13 PM

AngryDuck, thank you for letting me know. I saw the movie over a decade ago and did not know that at the time. I definitely agree that the filmmakers could have made that more clear because I don't recall it being addressed in the film. I appreciate the clarification!

June 26, 2020 at 12:22 PM

Uh, "free men" were still working on plantations in reconstruction South because that's all they were allowed to do. I mean...choice? For all intents and purposes, they were still slaves/indentured servants. If you weren't able to join the northern migration it was either that, or starve to death.

June 26, 2020 at 12:27 PM

I've seen Song of the South, to me it's not a great movie, but the animated sections are great, the characters are great, and the song is a Disney classic. Trying to be sensitive here, but I don't really see the 'happy slave' part to be a problem. I think it's more of a problem in Gone with the Wind, where all the slaves except Mammy are simple minded. They may be kind of simple in Song of the South (except Uncle Remus), but they are worse in Gone with the Wind, at least to my recollection.

I think Princess and the Frog is an inferior IP, the best thing it's got going is Tiana, the rest is throw away, I'm disappointed because I think it could have been great with a better story. And to me, the Dr. Facilier black villain is not a great representation. Again, just my opinion.

So I wish they would keep the Splash Mountain theme. Yes, they would sell more Tiana dolls than Brer Rabbit, but it's still a near perfect experience.

June 26, 2020 at 1:16 PM

@chriswaffle: The "Disney MOuntains" book notes the SOTS controversy and that it was really the song that made it seen as a classic. But yes, even back then, some issues of a ride built on that and it's gotten odder over times to have a major attraction based on a movie Disney pretends never exited in the first place.

June 26, 2020 at 1:18 PM

@disfan: First, I agree totally on GWTW. I can appreciate it as a well-made film and Leigh and Gable's performances but showing the pre-Civil War south as this wonderful utopia was backward in 1939, let alone today.

And I think they're still keeping a bunch of the ride as the swamp themes do fit well with Princess and obviously the huge drop (which may tie in with Faciler's fate in the movie). It does fit that much better than any other Disney movie which is why it's been buzzed about for a few years.

June 26, 2020 at 1:19 PM

@chriswaffle yes, obviously it's still problematic, glossing over a lot of important aspects of that period, no argument there. Whether or not there were freed men working happily or begrudgingly was probably a case by case basis largely depending on how they were (and had been) treated, and the film doesn't depict the larger picture or even bother to address certain realities, instead painting everything in a romantic glow. I just wanted to clarify that they weren't meant to be slaves.

June 26, 2020 at 1:20 PM

@Robert you should start a petition to bring back America Sings, I'd sign it.

June 26, 2020 at 1:24 PM

The more I think about it, the more frustrated I get. Not with specifically the re theming of splash mountain, but with all the re theming Disney has done in the past few years. I’ve found that guardians and incredicoaster were both inferior attractions than the original. While I think both attractions are still fun, they’ve lost the heart that Russel talked about. I fear that since this decision is coming from a place of “we need to look good in the public eye”, it’ll just feel like the ride is being botched in. Maybe it’s my childhood coming out but I don’t feel the same when riding Guardians or incredicoaster like I did when riding Tower of terror or California screamin. I have a feeling the experience on the new splash mountain won’t be the same as it used to be, and if that’s true then I don’t see a point in riding it as often. I just really hope that I’ll be proven wrong by the imagineers.

June 26, 2020 at 1:49 PM

I'm really excited for Tiana to have a spot in the parks. I'm also really happy that the attractions is going to be a new adventure rather than an attempt to tell the story told in the movie.
My big question is how they are going to incorporate two of the major characters in the attraction who died in the movie. Both Dr. Facilier and Ray meet their demise in the film and they both sing two of the film's best songs.
I'm also very curious to know how they will work in the mountain into a story that is set in a bayou where there is no fast moving water or significant changes of elevation. Not to mention chickapin hill is designed with the red clay found in Georgia, but not to my knowledge Louisiana.
No matter what, it's still a great ride experienced and I love the Princess and the Frog story and I'm sure it will create a wonderful new attraction.

June 26, 2020 at 2:55 PM

@Rob McCullough: I'm thinking that the big ride up shows Facilier near the end of the movie and the drop is him being dragged down by his "Friends."

June 26, 2020 at 3:01 PM

All I keep thinking about is the parade of little princesses that visit Disney parks, and what this representation will mean to the African American ones.

June 26, 2020 at 4:09 PM

@Rob & @Mike,

I think that’s an important part that isn’t being be as focused on as maybe it should. The story is supposed to take place after the movie (as compared to something like The Little Mermaid where the ride is retelling the story).

Splash Mountain in its current form, doesn’t retell Song of The South, it just uses those characters.

I’m thinking this will be similar. Tiana & Naveen are supposedly on there way to their first Mardi Gras (So apparently they won’t even be frogs).

So this opens the story up to a host of possibilities apart from the movie.

They could take a wrong turn get lost in the bayou.. They aren’t from the bayou, Louis is...(and we can easily see where the “things go wrong” element could show up here.) Either way, they aren’t tired to the movie storyline.

Plus, love it or hate it....plenty of folks will STILL line up for it on a hot (or not so hot day). In fact, any sort of new retheming draws larger crowds because of the curiosity factor....it’s “new”. So it will be on all park maps, ads, etc. The ride system won’t be changing, so people still seeking that thrill will get it.

June 26, 2020 at 8:40 PM

Interesting comments. Apparently some, undoubtedly, live homogeneously. For those who do, just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it isn't there.
The movie in its self, never cared for it. Guess I'm not the type to fancy a depicted plantation paradise where blacks and whites rejoice while one race is inferior and servile to the other while being content to work the fields.
Elated to see how the WDI put their skills to the test with PatF. Be wise, nothing is permanent except change.

June 27, 2020 at 9:04 AM

Just another reason to enjoy the Japanese Disney parks over the American Disney parks.

June 28, 2020 at 10:26 AM

The Imagineer who was in charge of Micky and Minnie's Train has been put in charge of this retheme.

So say hello to screens and projection mapping everywhere.

June 28, 2020 at 2:50 PM

Love it. I've been on Splash Mountain dozens of times and know every nook and cranny. A re-theme will give me something new to experience.

June 28, 2020 at 4:49 PM

I just hope this won't mean a lot less AAs. The abundance of animatronics is the best thing about this E Ticket.

June 28, 2020 at 4:58 PM

@thecolonel: Or they decide like the Frozen ride to be more cutting edge AA as screens dont' work as well with a ride with so much water.

June 30, 2020 at 1:00 PM

I have nothing against change and I certainly have nothing against having an attraction based on "Princess & the Frog".
What concerns me is the loss of the original theming for Splash Mountain. It's something that fits the brief for Frontierland and I think most people don't see beyond the characters of Brer Rabbit , Brer Bear et al.
I don't believe it influences anyone politically and I don't think that they, in themselves, are offensive. Unless you go looking for that offence.
It's sad that such wonderful characters will be lost because Disney are unhappy with an uncomfortable truth and despite claims to the contrary appear to be reacting to recent events.
If this attraction had ever caused me to view the World negatively then I would wholeheartedly support the change. But it never had that affect and I will miss this iconic ride's current theme.
I hope that this isn't a mind set by Disney that will lead to more changes whenever there are outside pressures so to do. Disneyland and all the other Parks always sat above World politics. I could hang my hat & coat up as I entered and abandoned all the troubles from an otherwise problematic World. Now , it seems, that those troubles have followed us into the Magical Kingdoms.

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