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.
Check out our ride-through POV of the original version of Splash Mountain below: