Splash Mountain to be rethemed to ‘The Princess and the Frog’ at Disney World, Disneyland
Disney has announced that Splash Mountain at both Disneyland park in California and Magic Kingdom in Florida will soon be rethemed to “The Princess and the Frog.”
The story of this attraction picks up after the final kiss in the film, as riders join Princess Tiana and Louis on a musical adventure (featuring music from the film) as they gear up for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance.
“It is really exciting to know that Princess Tiana’s presence in both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom will finally be fully realized!” said Anika Noni Rose, the voice of Princess Tiana and Tony Award-winning actress. “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!”
“Like Princess Tiana, I believe that courage and love are they key ingredients for wonderful adventures,” said Charita Carter, the senior creative producer leading the project at Walt Disney Imagineering. “I am delighted to be a part of bringing this fun-filled experience to our guests.”
Conceptual design work is well underway on the retheme, and Imagineers will soon be able to conduct preliminary reviews and develop a timeline for when the transformation will begin to take shape. According to Disney, this project has been in the works since last year.
D23 shared an interview with Bob Weis, president of Walt Disney Imagineering, in which he discussed the attraction’s retheme. When asked about why Disney would retheme a classic attraction versus building a new one, he had this to say:
“We have a longstanding history of enhancing attractions with ‘new magic,’ like Pirates of the Caribbean, and completely retheming others, like Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!,” said Weis. “We completely understand that these decisions aren’t always popular, but I think our biggest fans know that we care as much as they do.”
As far as a timeline for when these rides could go down for the retheming and how it will affect other projects in the works, Weis said, “We have separate project teams working on these efforts, but we are still evaluating projects based on the extended closures we’ve experienced due to COVID-19 […] We are working with our operations partners now to determine timing for this project to get underway.”
According to The Orange County Register, Disney Legend and Imagineer Tony Baxter will serve as a creative adviser on the planning and design for the project. Baxter was the brain behind the original attraction, which first opened at Disneyland park in 1989.
For now, both Magic Kingdom and Disneyland parks will reopen with the existing versions of Splash Mountain. It appears that Tokyo Disneyland’s version of the attraction will stay the same.
This announcement comes not too long after a petition began making the rounds to retheme the attraction to “The Princess and the Frog,” which we discussed in a recent DePaoli on DeParks.
Check out our ride-through POV of the original version of Splash Mountain below:
It fun that Disney can find money to redo this ride but can not fix the other rides like the monorail or Stitch Great Escape.
It’s sad to see a classic go. I know the park needs to switch things up, but now is not the time. We are dealing with too much change now. Let’s leave some things the same.
Everybody should remember that Disney WAS working on this re-theming of Splash Mountain, way before the events of today started happening. More than a year ago, I remember reading, elsewhere.
Nonetheless, this is a great idea, and I look forward to re-riding SM in the future. (o:
Of course they’re going to say this has been in the works for over a year, as it covers their butts against those who want splash mountain to stay the way it is.
But there’s 2 glaring issues with this change, 1 in general, and 1 in connection to Magic Kingdom. The general one is, Tiana never wanted to be a singer, she wanted to run her own restaurant. If they were going to represent Princess and the Frog in the Disney parks, all they need to do is have Tiana’s Place, with an animatronic Louis playing in the band. Setting this after the kiss, they absolutely should have Naveen, because he was the one who loved entertaining, not Tiana. If anything, they should do it pre-kiss and do it as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, where she and Naveen are on the water in search of Mama Odie to break the spell. Now that would make more sense.
The 2nd issue that relates to Magic Kingdom is that it doesn’t fit Frontierland. So, that means Magic kingdom will either get a mini New Orleans Square just for this ride, or Big Thunder and Tom Sawyer island will have to be re-themed as well to the New Orleans theme. The name of the game in theme parks today is continuity and constant theming. We know Disney still has a long way to go to find an overarching theme for the Studios, so I can’t believe they’re actually going to ruin the theming of Frontierland, all for this ride. Shaking my head, they should have “thought this over” a lot more before revealing their plans. Oh, wait, Disney doesn’t think anymore, they just act based on pressure from the outside world 🙁
And the cry babies win another round. This is getting ridiculous. What does Tiana have to do in Frontierland. Nothing at all! Stop forcing stupid theming down our throats. Stop listening to the few people that have nothing else to do besides stir stuff up on the internet. She opened her own restaurant!!! Disney needs more good restaurants and this would be perfect. Retheming s classic attraction because of today’s cry babies is very sad. Grow up people. I’m going to get my feelings hurt now because they left her husband out of the ride. Now we are prejudice against men?! Yeah, that’s how dumb the whole thing is. Leave Splash alone!