The last day to ride Splash Mountain at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom will be January 22, 2023. Disney announced the date today as it revealed another piece of concept art for the popular flume ride's transformation into Tiana's Bayou Adventure.
The new concept art depicts the first show scene after you drop into the interior of the mountain, which is now the "How Do You Do" scene after the Slippin' Falls. The new scene will feature zydeco music. As Disney describes it...
"Here you'll find Louis, [an alligator] who explains where this amazing music is coming from. Tiana made some new friends out here – a band full of adorable critters, including an otter, a rabbit, a racoon, a beaver, a turtle and others. The band members sing and play instruments made of natural materials they found in the bayou."
There's no official word yet on the last date for Splash Mountain at Disneyland, as Disneyland's published refurbishment calendar only goes through January 13. But it is not expected that the original installation of Splash Mountain will remain open for much longer after the start of the new year.
Disney is retheming Splash Mountain to "The Princess and the Frog," in the company's latest effort to obliterate all references to "Song of the South" and its connections to minstrelsy. The Princess and the Frog's New Orleans setting makes the conversion especially appropriate at Disneyland, as Splash Mountain is located next to the park's New Orleans Square land. For more on the why behind the switch, please see our previous posts, Zip-a-Dee-Buh-Bye: Disney to Retheme Splash Mountain and Can Theme Parks Get on the Right Side of History?.
Tiana's Bayou Adventure will open in 2024 at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Disney has announced no plans to convert Splash Mountain at Tokyo Disneyland to a new theme.
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I hoping to see some much needed improved animatronics in the ride. Hopefully some of the facial projections we see on 7 Drawfs and Frozen Ever After.
I'm still hesitant about this reskinning. I don't know of another Disney-owned IP that would fit better here, but I'm just not sold on Princess and the Frog providing a compelling story to fit the arc of the attraction. I felt similarly about the retheming of Maelstrom to Frozen, which I feel was a masterstroke by WDI, so maybe they'll surprise me again.
Coco or Up would have been a perfect fit to retheme Splash...
Manny said..."Get some of that small world water or something", lol.
I'm pretty jazzed (pun intended) about the new theme, just for the fact that we'll get some updated animatronics, new bells & whistles, etc.
Disney's concept art always looks good, so hoping it actually wows in person.
Well, 30 years a pretty long time for a Disney attraction without some sort of remodel. It was a great long run for the original ride and be nice if Disneyland extends it a bit longer for when family is going in March. Either way, my mom and her grandkids happy they got to ride it one final time and another great attraction to remember but hopeful the new version is just as good. After all, it's always the big plunge pulling folks in and that shouldn't change.
What they should do in the other parks that have Splash Mountain is update it to Frozen! Cover the mountain in snow and make the story longer. That would be pretty neat.
As long as the Imagineers can retain the splash mountain aesthetic, provide newer, more updated animatronics, and some much-needed TLC to the ride then I’ll be happy
As I read "TLC" in your comment, Postcott, "Waterfalls" popped into my mind, and I envisioned a completely different retheme concept for the ride. LOL.
@Francis 24, I like your idea about Frozen. They should have done that at Disneyland, and the Princess And The Frog at Disney World. Especially since Disneyland doesn’t have a Frozen ride, and Disney World already does.
@timbo - But at least at Disneyland, Splash Mountain is close enough to New Orleans Square to extend that theming to a Princess and the Frog ride.
@Rusesell - that's true the land wouldn't really fit together anymore and the Disney hardcore fans would have a literal meltdown over it but it would still be neat to have a longer Frozen ride :)
I wonder if they did toy with a Frozen idea then realized wouldn't fit the Fronteirland/New Orleans Square vibe of the parks. Sometimes, it's tricky figuring placing of these.
@russell, I get that about Princess And the Frog, near New Orleans Square…it makes sense. I was just saying a Frozen retheme would have been nice too. Especially since Disneyland doesn’t have an actual Frozen ride. Also the fact that Frozen is much more popular than Princess and the Frog is.
I just can't get behind this retheme because it doesn't make any sense to me...
-If the goal is to remove Song of the South references from Splash Mountain, there would be much cleaner and cheaper ways to do that
-If the goal is to put Princess and the Frog in the park, a custom made ride would achieve a much better result
-If the goal is making everything a current IP, there are much better choices for what could be put in here
-If the goal is to simply give Disneyland a new attraction, it makes no sense to do so by replacing an audience favorite
-If the goal is to remove something problematic, there are other attractions and aspects of the park more problematic than this one
-If the goal is to draw in a new audience, they better hope more people come for it than stop coming because of it
I hope that what I've heard from those who know something is inaccurate, because it sounds like instead of having what could be two great attractions if Splash was updated and PATF was given it's own ride, we're getting one mediocre attraction that represents the cheapest, quickest possible way to achieve all of the above at once without regard to the drawbacks.
AJ, I agree with everything you said. The real reason for the retheme is because Disney felt the “cancel culture” pressure. To me, there’s no other logical reason. As you said, if Disney wanted a new attraction, it makes no sense to replace a fan favorite. A favorite of mine as well.
Nothing against The Princess And The Frog, but I don’t think it’s popular enough to replace Splash Mountain. If Disney wanted to replace Splash Mountain that bad…Frozen would have been a much better option. It’s much more popular than Princess and the Frog.
To this day, Splash Mountain is still a park favorite, and always has a long line. I usually have to fast pass it…especially during the summer. The only reason I can think of is because Disney felt pressure to replace it, because of the Song of the South. In my eyes, it’s only being replaced due to “cancel culture.”
What was the over / under on how many posts before “cancel culture” was thrown out there? I admit I had it at 10 or less so I would’ve been Brer Broke had I made a wager
What a disappointment. I love Princess and the frog. Its Disney's last true Animated film and the music is great. It deserves its own attraction and Im amazed that Disney hasn't made Tiana's restaurant anywhere in their parks yet either. Maybe next we can look forward to rethemeing Pirates of the Caribbean or Jungle Cruise to Frozen.
Call it whatever you want but at some point in the last decade corporate America realized there were underserved markets in the black/latin/LBGT groups, and now it's part of their core business fundamentals that they hire, make products, and market to them. Some companies were early adopters to this (Nike for blacks and Subaru for LBGT, as examples) and other companies are trying to catch up now. And make no mistake about it this is being done to make black people more loyal to Disney (this ride, a whole Marvel franchise with entirely black cast/crew, a Pixar movie about an amateur musician from Harlem). The people above who are saying they should have kept Splash Mountain and given Tiana her own new ride are missing the point, by doing this Disney made a statement, the statement is "WE have changed
...now please give us your money."
At face value ultimately it doesn't matter who you are, everyone likes to be represented, and by having protagonists and movies that represent people from all walks of life its a pretty damn good business strategy. TBH having worked in corporate America as long as I have and having to go to all those meetings about "how are our numbers with black people? How are we doing with latino's?" etc etc i'm burned out on the whole thing and view it with a cynical eye. But that's just me, I suppose someone who is a divorce lawyer has a cynical eye on marriage as well lol.
The problem with a Frozen redo is that it would absolutely clash at either location. In California, you've already got the Matterhorn as a centerpiece, so putting another icy mountain across the park would be akin to building a second castle. Additionally, the ride borders New Orleans Square, and a snowy backdrop to a southern Mansion would be quite bizarre. In Florida, the ride is directly adjacent to Big Thunder Mountain and centrally located in Frontierland, so it'd be quite strange to have a snow-covered mountain surrounded by old west and desert-y. Plus, most of those who will be thrilled to hear "Let It Go" for the millionth time won't be thrilled by the following 50 ft. plunge.
The best answer would be to leave the ride alone, or only make the modifications necessary to remove the Song of the South connections. The next best option would be to completely gut the attraction and create a new IP-based experience without being bound to what's already there, similar to the conversion of Maelstrom into Frozen Ever After. Instead, I suspect the result is going to be more like the conversion of Rio del Tiempo to Gran Fiesta Tour, where the IP takes center stage but many of the background elements are adjusted only as much as needed. That is majorly disappointing for an E-ticket level project, especially when there's such a high bar it will be judged against.
The issue always the fact this is a ride based on a movie that Disney would rather pretend never existed. The "Disney Mountains" book notes that even back when it was being created in 1985, there were concerns over it but let's face it, a LOT of stuff in 1980s entertainment wouldn't fly today. Frankly, I'm amazed it's lasted as long as it has, especially in the 2000s. Disney has been wanting an excuse to shift it up for a long time, they finally got a property that could fit it and while I'll miss the old attraction as much as anyone, this isn't "bowing to cancel culture" but trying to handle what's long been a very problematic movie still brought up today thanks in part to this ride.
As a student of history, from minute one I’ve found the whole argument for replacing the Song of the South characters rather curious.
When Joel Chandler Harris first published these stories they were retellings of African-American folklore passed down generation after generation. These stories about the little guy (Brer Rabbit) outwitting much more powerful foes was an allegory for a people who were lowest in the social strata. I encourage everyone reading this to seek out the original stories published in the 19th century and read them.
These are stories from the first generation of African-Americans and they should be preserved.
The last I looked, there are no animatronic Uncle Remus or “Mammy” characters on this ride. What is there, however, is a celebration of some of the oldest folk tales brought to these shores. By ripping it out to appease those without an understanding of history, arguably is a greater sin.
This ride, by featuring these characters, helps keep alive the old stories brought to the world by our African American community. I fear that without Splash Mountain ( and the scrubbed from history Song of the South) that these stories will fade away forever and be another example of forgotten history, known really only to literary scholars, it will amount to more scrubbing away of a culture.
What they should do is follow their creative and fabrication assessments, analyse costs against ROI, utilize the best available design project management and construction management talent and resources and follow the processes that have made Disney the most successful themed entertainment model in the history of the planet.
Those who owned the “cancel culture” stick for many years sure are stingy about giving it up ?
It will be another 2 years before this is completed - yawn! By then epic universe will be open.
Tiptop22: "It will be another 2 years before this is completed - yawn! By then epic universe will be open.
Me: Epic Universe opens in 2025. 'Tiana’s Bayou Adventure' opens in 2024. Oops.
At the end of the day it’s still going to center around being pushed over a waterfall in a hollowed-out log, right? Then I’m sure the ride will continue to be just as enjoyable (if not more) and Magic Kingdom will continue to be packed for years to come.
I’m with Pete.
I'm with Jacob.
Like Pete said, the reason people ride Splash Mountain is because of the drop. Even If it had no IP connection, people would still run to it because of the ride experience.
The cool thing is it's getting updated. Yes, there's a variety of IP's they could've gone with, they chose PATF, politics aside...I actually don't think IP popularity ultimately affects Splash Mountain.
It could be changed to Brother Bear or Treasure Planet & people would still line up to ride it, as long as the drop is there.
@joseph Very well said, and agreed. From one perspective, removing Splash Mountain deletes one of the very few (if not the only) elements of the park that is the product of American Black culture. Certainly, Disney's movie about the Uncle Remus tales was racist, but the tales themselves are not, and are a celebration of Black oral history and storytelling.
If Disney were smart they'd reclaim the Uncle Remus characters in a new movie written and directed by current Black filmmakers. Keep the character design of B'rer Rabbit; etc., from the original but lose the racist live-action pieces. Would allow them to keep the ride as is and atone for the original movie in the same instance.
The real question is why Disney ever based a ride on one of their worst, least popular films in the first place. I did not even know it was based on IP for most of my life. It makes sense to connect it to something at least remotely recognizable.
@ michigankevin, I think a large percentage of park goers didn't know it was based on an IP...(Disney really doesn't acknowledge Song of The South)
There were questions raised abut the questionable aspects of it before construction even started, but at the time, Disney said they didn't expect too much controversy because it was just the animated characters being used in the attraction.
I know they were thinking of a theme for a while, and at the time, the assumption was probably focused on what would fit in Bear / Critter country. The were somered flags were there, but for the era, it certainly wasn't enough to derail or stop the ride from becoming extremely popular.
I don't think the IP used for a log flume type ride matters to most people when deciding whether or not to ride it. Most people who have ridden the attraction will probably only be aware of Brer Rabbit, and not much else.
Disney could theme it to pretty much anything(or nothing) and I doubt the needle would move much on the number of people who choose to ride it.
TH: The retheme is SCHEDULED to be open in 2024...but we are talking about Disney scheduling here (insert Tron comment here).
@TwoBits: Are you expecting another pandemic that shuts down construction (insert COVID reference here)?
@TH Creative: I think more that we know Disney can be off sometimes on when stuff is actually ready to open.
I remember how for three straight years, Test Track was supposed to be opening before it finally did in 1999.
*Standing and Applauding Mr. Catlett*
Well what do you know someone that actually knows what they're taking about.
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I rode Splash Mountain on a few trips thinking it was "the last time." But now that there's a definite date, well it seems kind of sudden. Only a month and a half left, although yeah we've had a heads up for over two years now. Anyway this retheme seems like it's going to be a winner by updating a classic attraction. I hope there's a fair amount of animatronics and that the lighting is on point for the indoor scenes. I also hope they change out the water. Even by theme park water standards, Splash Mountain water was always a bit on the stinky side. Get some of that "small world" water or something.