We’ve previously shared that there was a want for Splash Mountain to be rethemed as Princess and the Frog. Well, it looks like it will be happening in the future. Splash Mountain at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom will be officially rethemed!
Keep in mind that when Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Reopen, Splash Mountain will still be available to ride as it is currently themed. Disney has not yet revealed when the attraction will close at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom to be rethemed to Princess and the Frog.
Below is the official announcement from Disney:
Today we are thrilled to share a first glimpse of a project Imagineers have been working on since last year. Splash Mountain – at both Disneyland park in California and Magic Kingdom park in Florida – will soon be completely reimagined. The theme is inspired by an all-time favorite animated Disney film, “The Princess and the Frog.” We pick up this story after the final kiss, and join Princess Tiana and Louis on a musical adventure – featuring some of the powerful music from the film – as they prepare for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance.
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. In 1966, Walt himself opened New Orleans Square when it became the first new “land” added to Disneyland park, so it feels natural to link the story and the incredible music of “The Princess and the Frog” to our parks.
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 approach to retheming or “plussing” attractions (as Walt Disney referred to it) begins with Imagineers asking the question, how can we build upon or elevate the experience and tell a fresh, relevant story? It’s a continuous process that Imagineers are deeply passionate about. And with this longstanding history of updating attractions and adding new magic, the retheming of Splash Mountain is of particular importance today. The new concept is inclusive – one that all of our guests can connect with and be inspired by, and it speaks to the diversity of the millions of people who visit our parks each year.
Charita Carter, the senior creative producer leading the project at Walt Disney Imagineering shared, “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.”
For Imagineers, change is rooted in a tradition set by Walt Disney who encouraged new innovations, new ideas, new scenes and current storytelling. And the experiences they create can be enjoyed by guests who visit our parks from all over the world.
As part of the creative development process, 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.
Stay tuned for more!
Fan Petitions for Splash Mountain
We know that some fans will be super excited for this change to happen but others not so much. There’s recently been a petition with many signees asking for Splash Mountain to be rethemed to Princess and the Frog especially in light of those speaking out against racial injustice. On the other hand, there has been a counter petition for Splash Mountain to remain the same for the nostalgia of the attraction, who will still be able to ride it in its original form when the Parks reopen.
Until now, Disney had remained quiet about the Splash Mountain attraction which had Disney fans wondering, but there was even a Cast Member who weighed in on how he thought Splash Mountain should be rethemed.
Splash Mountain Retheming FAQ
In an interview between D23 and Walt Disney Imagineering President, Bob Weis, many questions that has Disney fans curious are answered. To read the full interview, click here.
D23: What can guests expect when they head into the bayou?
BW: Working closely with our partners at Walt Disney Animation Studios, we are expanding on what guests know and love from the film today. From a timing perspective, guests will see Princess Tiana throughout the experience (hint—after “the kiss”). She and Louis are bringing friends together for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance, alongside many of our other favorite characters from this instant classic.
D23: When can we expect to be “goin’ down the bayou”?
BW: We have separate project teams working on these efforts, but we are still evaluating project timelines 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 under way. For now, we know that both Magic Kingdom and Disneyland parks will re-open with the existing Splash Mountain attraction.
D23: Why retheme an attraction instead of building a new one?
BW: 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! 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.
D23: Why The Princess and the Frog?
BW: Tiana is a modern, courageous, and empowered woman who pursues her dreams while never losing sight of what’s really important. So it’s a great story with a strong lead character, set against the backdrop of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou. In 1966, Walt himself opened New Orleans Square when it became the first new “land” added to Disneyland, so it feels natural to link the story of The Princess and the Frog to the park. And as you know, music is a big part of the story and our attractions, and the incredible songs and score from The Princess and the Frog are often among fan favorites.