Disney has announced that the classic attraction Splash Mountain is being totally rethemed to a Princess and the Frog theme in both Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park, and we have all the details.
A while back, Disney announced plans for a total re-theming of Splash Mountain that they have been working hard on over the past few years. The re-imgineering of this attraction will be based on the classic Disney animated film: “The Princess and the Frog.”
UPDATE – Disney has now announced that Splash Mountain in Disney’s Magic Kingdom will be permanently closing on January 23, 2023. Read more in the News section of this post.
Guests on the new attraction will join Princess Tiana and Louis on a musical adventure and pick up in the story after the final kiss. Music has been an important feature in Splash Mountain and it will continue to be in this Princess and the Frog attraction.
The most popular songs from the film will be in the ride, including when our characters prepare for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance.
This is the first Disney attraction featuring Princess Tiana and any of the characters from the Princess and the Frog, something that has been long desired for by fans of the franchise.
Princess Tiana is definitely one of the most popular characters in the parks so her getting a ride is something we imagine Disney has been working on for a long time.
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(NEWS) – Splash Mountain Permanently Closing on January 23, 2023
After more than 2 years of waiting, we finally know when we will ride Splash Mountain for the last time. Disney has just announced that the last day of operation of Splash Mountain at Disney’s Magic Kingdom will be on January 23, 2023.
Once it is closed, Disney Imagineers will start working on the transformation over to the new Tiana’s Bayou Adventure which will use the same space for this reimagined attraction.
They also reaffirmed the opening date of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure for late 2024, though no exact date or month has been given at this time.
Disney has not announced when Splash Mountain will close at Disneyland at this time, but we should be finding out that info soon. Seeing as the closing of the Magic Kingdom version has already been announced for January, we anticipate that the Disneyland version will remain open a bit longer, but we’ll let you know when we find out for sure.
As for the new ride, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, Disney just shared some new details and concept art to look at, including brand-new characters that Imagineers are creating specifically for this attraction.
“In Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, you’ll join Princess Tiana and jazz-loving alligator Louis during Mardi Gras season as they prepare to host a one-of-a-kind celebration for the people of New Orleans. This new scene is the thrilling moment you first drop into the bayou and encounter some friends both new and familiar.
As you can see here, fireflies will light up the night and invite you deeper into the bayou … almost like they’re waving you forward. What you can’t tell from this rendering – so you’ll just have to trust me on this one – is that beautiful zydeco music will fill the air. Zydeco is a special blend of rhythm and blues that was born in Louisiana, and when you hear it, you’ll feel like you’ve truly stepped into Tiana’s world.
Here you’ll find Louis, 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 raccoon, a beaver, a turtle and others. The band members sing and play instruments made of natural materials they found in the bayou. It feels like they may have a bigger role to play in this story … but we’ll just have to wait and see on that one.
Like so many musical genres, zydeco brings together the sounds and styles of many cultures. We wanted that spirit reflected in this scene (and throughout the attraction) so that all our guests feel welcome to join in the celebration. It’s emblematic of what we’re always striving for with our attractions – bringing people of different backgrounds together through timeless Disney stories. This new musical adventure provides us with a song sheet to write that concept into reality.”
We definitely are sad to see Splash Mountain go as it has been a Disney classic for so many years and one of our favorite rides from childhood. It definitely is the end of an era.
While we don’t mind changes to rides from time to time, we hope that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is given the complete attention from Disney Imagineering, as well as the proper budget from company executives to make this a quality ride, at least close to its predecessor.
We’ll be updating you with more info on the Splash Mountain closing and the opening of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure in the coming weeks and months so stay tuned!
(NEWS) – Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Opening in 2024 at the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park
It’s been almost a year since we’ve had an update on the “Princess and the Frog” Re-Imagineering of Splash Mountain in Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park, and we’ve been anxious to see when this attraction is going to be completed.
Finally we have both an opening date timeline and a name for the new attraction that is evolving from Splash Mountain.
First of all, the name for the reimagined version of Splash Mountain is Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.
Many people wanted them to keep the word “mountain” in the title, or even “Splash Mountain” and just add something about Tiana at the end. Obviously, that would not really work since the story for the ride is based in New Orleans, a place without any mountains.
We also found out that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is coming to Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park in late 2024. That means we still have to wait more than 2 years until the opening.
This timeline is consistent with recent rumors from Tony Award-winning actress Anika Noni Rose.
Recently, on “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” Anika Noni Rose briefly commented on the timeline for the new “Princess and the Frog” re-theme of Splash Mountain. She is the voice of Tiana in the animated film.
Anika was asked about the “Princess and the Frog” attraction and she said that it is coming in 2024. She didn’t specify whether that is the date for Walt Disney World or Disneyland, or perhaps both.
You can watch the clip of her talking about it here below:
These comments drew a lot of attention and Disney responded by saying they would be sharing more information about it in July, which they didn’t wait long to do.
Disney promises the all-new adventure will bring guests into the world of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ film “The Princess and the Frog” like never before.
Disney Imagineers have been making frequent trips to New Orleans, Lousiana to conduct extensive research about the area so that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure can preserve the heart and soul of the city that inspired Princess Tiana’s story.
Here is a video showing the Imagineers’ dedication to the region and how they are learning from local experts:
Months before this last update, new Magic Kingdom Vice President Melissa Valiquette, gave an update on the progress of the ride on a podcast with the Orlando Sentinel. Valiquette said: “When we are reimagining a new attraction or a new area of our parks, this can be a lengthy process; there is a lot of work that goes into it.”
“I’m in a lot of meetings right now around Splash mountain, and of course, our guests haven’t seen any changes yet. That’s going to take some time, but the sequence of these things is that sometimes decisions can be made many many months, even years before any of that will be seen on stage, so it’s going to take us a little bit of time to reimagine Splash mountain, but I can tell you behind the scenes that terrific work has been done including some selections around music around animatronics, and it is really an inspiring story.”
“They have created something that I believe will capitalize on what was already special about the ride Splash Mountain, but will turn it into something that our guests will really cherish for generations into the future. And I think this is one example of something where our guests are going to have to put a bit of trust into us, for a bit, because we promise not to let you down, we’re going to deliver a wonderful attraction that is inspiring and beautiful and worthy of this Princess, Princess Tiana.”
So for anyone worried that the project was put on hold, that is not happening. The Princess and the Frog overlay to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is full steam ahead, even if it is taking longer than they probably expected. We aren’t concerned with how much time it takes, just that they get it right and that it remains one of the best rides at the Magic Kingdom.
(NEWS) – New Princess and the Frog Ride Concept Art Released
As you know, Disney Imagineers are hard at work on the transformation of Splash Mountain into a Princess and the Frog ride and Disney has recently released some new concept art showing off some of the behind-the-scenes work.
The story behind the Princess and the Frog ride takes place after the final kiss in the movie and displays a brand new journey for Tiana, Naveen, Louis, as well as some new characters. New original music inspired by the film will fill the attraction.
Besides the usual character, we can also see an otter, pelican, and turtles in the water.
Recent rumors have pointed to Disney cutting the budget for the Princess and the Frog ride. Insiders say that the existing Splash Mountain audio-animatronics will simply be re-dressed for the new attraction. Is that Brer Bear and Brer Fox we see in the shadowy background?
Another thing you’ll notice is that Tiana is leading wearing pants. According to Imagineers, this is to connect “who Tiana was in the movie to who she will be in the future.”
According to Imagineers, guest will be active participants coming along with Tiana on this adventure.
The Disney Parks Blog said: “Tiana is an ambitious and resilient woman, who proves that success comes through a connection to her family and community and has learned to never lose sight of what’s really important – giving back to others through great food and inspiring them to achieve their full potential.”
Disney commissioned New Orleans-based artist Sharika Mahdi to create a series of 4 original paintings to help inspire Imagineers as they create this new attraction. The below painting is a take on Marti Gras party in the final scene of the attraction.
Disney also shared a photo from a trip to Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans, whose founder Leah Chase was the inspiration for Princess Tiana in the film.
The video below shows Disney Imagineers sit down with Leah Chase’s daughter, Stella Chase Reese, to talk more about Princess Tiana and the inspiration behind the character. It also shows what Disney Imagineers have been working on for the ride.
(NEWS) – Splash Mountain Re-Theme Sped Up and More “Inclusion Projects” Coming
It’s been well over 1 year since Disney announced the Splash Mountain re-theme to a Princess and the Frog attraction, and things have been quiet since then, until now.
Today, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, Josh D’Amaro, talked more about the project at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions expo, sharing that the Princess and the Frog refurbishment is getting fast-tracked.
Disney recently revealed a new 5th Key of Cast Member Training, “Inclusion.” Because of this addition, the company has made it a priority to speed up inclusion projects like this one.
Projects “like the reimagining of ‘Splash Mountain,’ have been expedited to ensure that all who visit the company’s parks do feel welcome as well,” D’Amaro said.
But that’s not all. D’Amaro also said will be “more to come,” meaning more attractions that are refurbished to fit with this new company principle.
In regards to the upcoming changes, D’Amaro said: “This represents transformative cultural change.”
No mention about how many current Disney World attractions are getting makeovers or what plans they have for new ones, but this definitely deserves keeping an eye on.
Keep reading for the Princess and the Frog/Splash Mountain refurbishment plans and project details…
If you aren’t familiar with the story, Tiana is a modern, courageous, and empowered woman, who pursues her dreams and never loses sight of what’s really important. It’s a great story with a strong lead character, set against the backdrop of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou.
The voice of Princess Tiana and Tony Award-winning actress, Anika Noni Rose, shared:
“It is really exciting to know that Princess Tiana’s presence in both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom will finally be fully realized! As passionate as I am about what we created, I know the fans are going to be over the moon. The Imagineers are giving us ‘The Princess and the Frog’ Mardi Gras celebration we’ve been waiting for, and I’m here for it!”
The name for the new attraction coming from the reimagining of Splash Mountain is Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.
In Disneyland, the Princess and the Frog attraction will be located in New Orleans Square, which seems to imply the current land could be expanding. This could be a good fit and a natural link to “The Princess and the Frog” film. In the Magic Kingdom, it will be located in Frontierland (more on that later).
In “plussing” Splash Mountain into this new ride, Disney is focusing on the concept of inclusion and a character and storyline guests can get behind and be inspired by. They also are targeting to appeal to the diversity of the guests who visit each year.
Charita Carter from Walt Dinsey Imagineering will be the senior creative producer leading the Princess and the Frog project and had big success recently with the newest ride in Hollywood Studios, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
Carter said: “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.”
The big news in my mind is that Disney Legend Tony Baxter is being brought in to have a creative role on the Princess and the Frog attraction. Baxter was the one who created the original Splash Mountain ride and is the perfect person to watch over this re-theming.
Baxter said about the project: “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…I look forward to being a part of a new adventure in Disney magic and fun!”
Disney is also bringing in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Lead Imagineer Scott Trowbridge for the project, which is a good sign Disney won’t be mailing this one in.
Disney Imagineers are used to change and it’s something that Walt Disney himself them and us as the guests for. The Disney parks are built on innovation, new ideas, creativity, and change, and that is what has kept guests coming back for generations.
When is the Project Starting? When is it Opening?
Right now Disney has not given any dates when the project is starting, though we are closer to finally getting some answers.
Disney recently announced that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is opening at Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park in late 2024. We don’t have a specific date, just late 2024 at this point.
The voice of Tiana, Anika Noni recently commented on the upcoming Princess and the Frog re-do of Splash Mountain and said the project will be open in 2024. She also didn’t give a specific date or mention which park that it will be ready in first.
Disney will likely reveal more details about the project in September at the D23 Expo, so we’ll stay tuned for that.
The timing of the whole thing is interesting. Disney says that the Splash Mountain re-theming has been in the works now for one year, but no doubt this project shot up towards the top of the board due to current social issues.
President of Walt Disney Imagineering, Bob Weiss, said that conceptual design work is well underway and Imagineers will soon be able to conduct preliminary reviews and develop a timeline for when the transformation can start to take shape.
While Disney is working hard on the design for the ride, Splash Mountain will not close right away and fans will still get another chance to ride it.
For now, Splash Mountain is still running in both Disneyland Park and Disney’s Magic Kingdom. There are no guarantees, however, so I wouldn’t delay if you want to get one last ride in.
Disney is carefully evaluating all the current construction projects going on in Walt Disney World and in Disneyland and so they will have to figure out where to fit in the Princess and the Frog ride according to budget and when Disney Imagineers have enough to get started with construction.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek has said that some projects have been cut or postponed for the time being, and so Disney has to figure out where to fit in this ride.
Since Disney has already cut hundreds of millions of dollars in the construction budget over the last couple of years, we don’t expect to see anything happen to Splash Mountain right now. However, if the 2024 date is correct, Disney will probably have to start working on the re-theme within the next year.
It would be wise to wait until the TRON Lightcycle Run roller coaster is finished seeing as the Magic Kingdom already has a shortage of E-Ticket attractions and shutting down Splash Mountain with nothing else to take its place would be tough to do.
Our best guess is that Splash Mountain will shut down in early 2023 after the holiday season. That will give it about a year and a half from closure to the end of 2024 when the opening is scheduled. Stay tuned for an exact closure date when Disney makes the announcement.
While we recognize the reason behind Disney’s decision to replace Splash Mountain with a Princess and the Frog ride, still, it will be extremely sad to say goodbye to one of our favorite all-time Disney attractions ever built.
We understand this is an extremely sensitive subject for many people and this decision will be debated for months to come.
We do not feel personally qualified to comment on how Splash Mountain might be viewed by others, many people have made it clear it is offensive and we respect Disney’s decision to move forward and re-theme an aging attraction in a way that makes more people comfortable riding it.
I think it’s ok to understand Disney’s point of view and at the same time be sad over the nostalgia of Splash Mountain, especially if you’ve grown up with it and remember when it first opened back in 1992.
You can be happy about a Princess and the Frog attraction coming to the Magic Kingdom and be sad one of your favorites is leaving. The two are not mutually exclusive.
Now that Disney is re-theming Splash Mountain to Princess and the Frog, we do have a few concerns with the way the plans are so far.
The two biggest problems I have with the news are the locations of the new ride and how it is being done.
Let’s start out in Disneyland. While it’s true that the Princess and the Frog fit in perfectly in New Orleans Square, technically Splash Mountain isn’t located in New Orleans Square, it’s in Critter Country. I realize that they border each other, but the theming is still quite different between the two.
What is Disney going to do to keep the theming accurate for the ride. To make it right they will have to essentially eliminate Critter Country and merge it together with New Orleans Square. That can be done, but as part of that land re-theming, the Hungry Bear restaurant will also need to be re-themed.
Might we get a Tiana-themed restaurant there in its place like Tiana’s Palace at the end of the film? Re-doing that and the whole area would be the only thing that makes.
Disneyland to me is the easier fix, it’s the Magic Kingdom I have the most problem with. Splash Mountain is located in Frontierland and a ride set in New Orleans is not even close to that. I realize that the Song of the South is not technically set in the Old West either, but the styling of the ride fits in much better there than New Orleans does.
Disney has continued to blur the lines between actual theme park theming, and this change is just the latest in a long line of all theme parks losing their uniqueness and standing out from each other.
Does anyone else have a problem with the fact this is a “mountain” ride, yet there are no mountains in New Orleans??
What makes me perhaps even more disappointed however it the fact that Princess Tiana deserves her own ride in the theme parks and not a refurbishment of an old ride. The characters from the film deserve something built from the ground-up and not something shoe-horned into any place they have an opening.
I know Disney struck gold with re-theming the Tower of Terror into Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT!, but can Imagineers hit that high note once again? In my opinion, it’s extremely hard to do when you don’t have the liberty to build the ride system from scratch and some of the ride’s potential will, therefore, be limited.
The only thing we are confident in is that Disney Legend Tony Baxter will be working on this personally, and if anyone can make the project work, it’s him.
It’s pretty clear from the artwork that the look and feel of the ride will be similar to the Na’vi River Journey over in Pandora. The dark tone of the scene, and the fireflies lighting up the flume all give off that same vibe. The question is whether they will use a lot of screen technology for the effects or if it will be more set-based.
I would imagine they will find a way to recycle the animatronics for the new ride, the same way they came over from America Sings. Brer Bear is destined to become Louis as they are a perfect size match.
Let’s hope that Disney gives this attraction the budget it deserves. If the recent park closings don’t affect the project too much, it has a very high potential to be one of the best attractions in the Magic Kingdom. It definitely is on our radar of the best new rides coming to Disney World in the near future.
After this news, it looks like the only Splash Mountain attraction left in the world is going to be in Tokyo Disneyland. The announcement didn’t mention this version of the ride and so if you are feeling nostalgic you might get the opportunity to still experience Splash Mountain there once the domestic versions go away.
If Disney Imagineering is given the proper time and budget, this ride has a ton of potential. We’re anxious to see how things develop and to see more of the plans Disney Imagineering has in store for this new Princess and the Frog attraction.
This is a developing story and we’ll have more for you soon…stay tuned.
In the meantime, read the Full List of Disney World Ride Closures and Refurbishments that is happening to other attractions around property.
I want to know what you think about the Splash Mountain re-theming to Princess and the Frog…
- Are you looking forward to this change?
- Did Disney make the right decision?
Let us know in the comments section below!
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My name is Ziggy and I love Disney, everything Disney! I grew up on Disney and it has and continues to be a huge part of my life. I started young when my parents took me to Disney World when I was 18 months old. Little did they know that would be the first of an uncountable number of trips we would take. I have so many amazing memories going to Disney with my family and friends and it has been interwoven into my DNA.