Disney Reveals More Details for Splash Mountain Replacement

February 3, 2023, 9:10 PM · We are learning more about the story that will drive the replacement for Disney's popular Splash Mountain flume rides when it opens at Disneyland and Walt Disney World next year.

Tiana's Bayou Adventure will be the replace the "Song of the South" characters from Splash Mountain with a new storyline that picks up after Disney's "The Princess and the Frog." In this new attraction, the familiar mountain has become a salt mine that Tiana has purchased to help supply her Tiana's Foods business. (Which, in Disney's backstory, is "an employee-owned cooperative.")

"With the help of her mother Eudora, Naveen, Louis, and fellow owners of the cooperative, Tiana revived the old salt mine and the surrounding land, growing a wide array of vegetables, herbs and spices for her recipes," Disney said.

Tiana's company photo
Image courtesy Disney

The new story has riders meeting Tiana at Tiana's Foods to "help with the missing ingredient" for the Mardi Gras party she is throwing. (I am guess that ingredient is us - but in a welcoming, accommodating way and not in a creepy, Soylent Green way.)

"When we arrive, we may see that Tiana spruced up the company's facilities with vibrant art from local artists. Food for the party is being prepared and beignets are being loaded into crates for the celebration. All kinds of preparations are underway for the journey into the bayou with Tiana, along with new and familiar friends from the animated film," Disney's backstory continues.

If there's a conflict driving this story, Disney's new details don't really reveal it. But, as we've seen with Radiator Springs Racers, Disney is perfectly capable of delivering an E-ticket attraction where nothing goes terribly wrong and everyone gets along. Given that Disney is trying hard to distance itself from the divisive history behind "Song of the South," I would not be surprised to see Disney's Imagineers write a less conflict-driven narrative for Tiana's Bayou Adventure.

Splash Mountain remains open at Disneyland but is now closed at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Tiana's Bayou Adventure is scheduled to open at both parks sometime in 2024.

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Replies (20)

February 3, 2023 at 11:06 PM

An interesting approach, do wonder how they work in the drop but shows it's not just a quick overlay.

February 4, 2023 at 8:45 AM

For Disney World, will they add a beignet food kiosk nearby? Because that would be awesome.

February 4, 2023 at 3:13 PM

No conflict!? No Dr. Facilier!? I suppose if this happens "after" the events of the film, he's long gone by his "friends from the other side". He's gotta be in this story somewhere.

February 4, 2023 at 3:24 PM

Maybe at some point during the ride something indeed does go wrong, we are all “turned into frogs” and thusly have to leap our way to safety? Trying to imagine how the drop might play into the prospective story of the ride…
I know that the preview said we would be in a salt mine, so I guess the chance for downhill mischief is inherently apparent even before a would-be shrinking

February 4, 2023 at 5:10 PM

I want to stay cautiously optimistic about this, but it sounds like a very bizarre concept for a reasonably thrilling attraction that contains several drops. I've seen suspicion elsewhere that it was originally meant for a slow moving dark ride and then drafted onto Splash when they decided to go that route, and I have to agree that theory kind of makes sense. Hopefully there's a bit more to this than "search for the missing ingredient," because it's going to be hard to keep that interesting in a twelve minute attraction.

February 4, 2023 at 7:29 PM

If you had to take a guess; when do you think it opens at Disneyland, and Disney World in 2024?

February 5, 2023 at 12:56 AM

Timbo, based on the scale of changes expected for the ride, I'd say December 2024 is the absolute best that Disney World can hope for. It wouldn't surprise me if it gets pushed back to 2025, which is when I'd expect it to open at Disneyland due to the current status.

February 5, 2023 at 1:36 PM

Early 2026 or late 2025 opening is what I expect - but honestly a boat ride and a few scenes and then the drop is hardly revolutionary or worth any kind of excitement over

February 5, 2023 at 1:52 PM

From what I've heard, the conversion is expected to be an 18-24 month project, and they did get to work immediately after Splash Mountain closed. Therefore, I'm going to guess October/November 2024 for Florida's version (with the goal having it ready for the holiday crowds), and first half of 2025 for California's, assuming the attraction closes in May as is currently rumored (to target spring break and especially the summer seasons).

February 5, 2023 at 4:31 PM

AJ, why did Splash Mountain already close in Disney World, and not until May in Disneyland? Why didn’t they do it simultaneously?

February 5, 2023 at 4:59 PM

From what I understand, Splash Mountain typically goes down in January on both coasts for annual refurbishment, as it is both low season and cold season at the parks. In Florida, it was always planned to close at that time, as they want to make sure the new version of the ride is ready for guests before the end of 2024. California's was originally supposed to close at the same time, but due to having several other E-tickets down (as well as the entirety of Toontown) they opted to keep Splash running through the spring break period for added capacity at the park. The latest I've heard is it's planned to close sometime between Easter and Memorial Day, but there is apparently talk of extending operation through the summer due to anticipated increased visitation for the Disney 100 celebration. Unlike Florida, where the ride is popular year-round, California's version has very low ridership in the cooler months, so it's being looked at less as a 2024 project and more as a 70th anniversary project for that park.

February 5, 2023 at 7:35 PM

AJ, why is Disney saying that both versions will debut in 2024 though? If it’s more likely to open in Disneyland in 2025.

February 5, 2023 at 11:38 PM

Timbo, I would guess some combination of A. It is easiest to just say the attraction is coming to both parks in 2024, especially given that the openings will be pretty close to each other; B. The timeline for California hasn't been locked down and they're still anticipating having it ready before the end of 2024 or using the old timeline until a new one is set; C. The conversion will be faster in California since the interior is about 20% smaller, so they'll be able to open both at the same time; or D. What I've heard isn't 100% accurate. All I know is that the 2024 holiday season is seen as a goal in Anaheim and a deadline in Lake Buena Vista.

February 6, 2023 at 11:05 AM

Well, am glad it'll be open when I visit Disneyland next month so can ride it one more time.

February 6, 2023 at 12:43 PM

Let me get this straight: the woman is growing food in a SALT MINE? She's growing food in an underground mine. That's also filled with critters like raccoons and rats. Call me crazy, but not even New Orlean's food safety division is going to giving that a passing grade.

Also, the goal of the ride is to find a missing ingredient? What happens when you come down the drop, you get sprinkled with paprika? On Splash Mountain you were escaping bloodthirsty murderers; on Mr. Toad's you die and go to HELL; even Star Tours has you escaping the Empire. Meanwhile, Tianna can't find her pepper mill. Thrilling. I cannot believe that's actually what it is.

February 6, 2023 at 2:44 PM

I just don't understand how a ride system with multiple thrilling drops can have a storyline with ZERO conflict. Frozen Ever After got away with it by using dynamic musical changes to match the pacing of the original Maelstrom attraction, but it will take some serious inventiveness to find ways of generating excitement, anticipation, and thrill into what has been described by WDI for this overlay.

I just don't understand the hesitancy from Disney in not utilizing the best character from the movie, Dr. Facilier. Maybe they're playing his role in the attraction close to the vest so as to make any appearance by the character in the new attraction surprising, but it certainly doesn't sound like they're going in that direction. Aside from Frozen, Imagineers were able to create a relatively conflict-free attraction out of the Little Mermaid - Ursula appears and is menacing, but there's very little conflict, which is resolved in 2 quick scenes. I don't think Little Mermaid is as bad as some fans make it out to be, but it certainly could have been better, and driven by conflict that is not resolved quite so easily and matter-of-factly.

Given what they did with the more recent Frozen Ever After, I'm willing to give WDI some leeway here to see what they come up with. However, the early rumors surrounding this renovation are not trending in the right direction. Splash Mountain needed to change, and it's certainly a hard change for fans to accept, but Disney really needs to hit this out of the park not only to erase the legacy of Splash Mountain from the public consciousness, but to keep the attraction's e-ticket status on both coasts. If this retheme isn't up to par, it's just going to embolden those who feel Splash should have never been chopped.

February 6, 2023 at 3:42 PM

It's an interesting concept...although I'll agree with Russell in that Disney might not be revealing EVERYTHING. Clearly something has to go wrong at some point...but the pitch seems to focus on (i.e. just reveal) WHY we're there & the objective.

I think the "conflict" hasn't been revealed yet. The ride is most likely 20 months away, so it could just be a case of revealing just the set up...and not the payoff.

The Tiana Disney+ series is released this year (as the new crowned princess of Maldonia who returns to New Orleans). So there's opportunities & more than enough time to as it gets closer to the opening for more tidbits to drop.

I could be wrong, but I think this is just the backstory & setup...not necessarily the entire beginning, middle & ending narrative.

February 6, 2023 at 10:41 PM

Prediction: Lots of aromas on this ride! You'll see vegetables, herbs and spices - and you'll be enveloped by their aromas (like the orange aroma on Soarin' Over California).

February 7, 2023 at 8:32 AM

Maybe WDI has figured out a way to dust off the old AA’s from Kitchen Kabaret and Food Rocks!? Anyone?

(Claps loudly and looks around to see who is with him, hearing only a smattering of coughs and a lone baby crying)

February 7, 2023 at 11:21 AM

I suspect this ride will look good with new visual effects. The changeover from Maelstrom to Frozen Ever After was successful due to the major upgrade in visuals along with having one of Disney's top IPs. While Princess and Frog is far from being as popular as Frozen, sprucing up the special effects should go a long way in making this a successful retheming.

The story does seem a bit weird, though. Maybe Disney didn't think everything through in their haste to get the ride rethemed. No matter, though, as no one will care (except Colonel) as they go over that final drop!

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