Disney’s Splash Mountain to be Rethemed to “Princess and the Frog” at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom
On Thursday morning, June 25th, Walt Disney Imagineering revealed via the Disney Parks Blog that the Splash Mountain attraction at both Disneyland in California and the Magic Kingdom in Florida. The subject of Splash Mountain resurfaced in the public conversation a few weeks ago, as many in the nation questioned the ride being based on characters from Disney’s Song of the South film from 1946.
However, Disney made clear that this change was not solely in response to the recent protests for equality, specifying that they have been working on the re-imagining “since last year.” The story of the ride will take place after the events of the Princess and the Frog animated film, released in 2009.
Walt Disney Imagineering will be working directly with Walt Disney Animation to tell the story of Tiana and Louis, as guests accompany them on a “musical adventure” featuring music from the film as they prepare for a Mardi Gras Performance. That description makes it sound like the final riverboat scene could become a Mardi Gras party? In Disneyland, the new theme also fits nicely with the attraction’s location next to New Orleans Square.
The ride’s makeover will be led by Disney Imagineer Charita Carter, who you may know from her Imagineering work on the new Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction at Hollywood Studios, and set to debut at Disneyland in 2022. Also important to note is that Splash Mountain’s original Imagineer, Tony Baxter, will be returning to work on the reimagining. Of the new attraction, Baxter said, “The attraction will be one to be proud of, I look forward to being a part of a new adventure in Disney magic and fun.”
Baxter designing the original Splash Mountain
Another Imagineering cast member, and inclusive strategies executive, Carmen Smith, elaborated on the importance of the changes: “It is important that our guests be able to see themselves in the experiences we create,” Smith stated. “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.”
There is no opening date currently set for the ride, and Bob Weiss, current president of Walt Disney Imagineering, says that the current version of the ride will open with the parks when they reopen to guests. Weiss also said that the Avengers Campus land opening in California and Paris would not be affected by the COVID-19 delays, but that the TRON lightcycle coaster at Magic Kingdom would resume construction “in stages.”
Tony Award-winning actress and voice of Princess Tiana, Anika Noni Rose, also made a statement, saying, “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!”
Interestingly, the post did not mention anything about the Splash Mountain attraction at Disney’s Tokyo park.
What do you think of the re-imagining of Splash Mountain? Let us know in the comments below!
I liked Splash Mountain a lot. Princess and the frog? Well, I’m not ready to leap yet.