Disneyland’s Splash Mountain Officially Closes for Renovations
Written by on May 31, 2023
Disney confirms the closure of its popular yet polarizing Splash Mountain ride as it renovates the long-time Disney attraction.
Per Deadline, Disneyland officials said the upcoming renovation project will take over a year to complete once the closure takes place on May 30. The rebranded ride will be called Tiana’s Bayou Adventure and is scheduled to open late in 2024. The reimagined attraction is named after the 2009 film, The Princess and the Frog, which was set in New Orleans and introduced Tiana, Disney’s first Black princess.
This announcement from Disneyland comes after Florida’s Disney World made similar changes to its own Splash Mountain ride, which was permanently closed in January ahead of renovations. Plans to change Splash Mountain were originally announced in 2020 after park patrons voiced complaints about the ride’s ties to the controversial 1946 film, Song of the South. Splash Mountain is based on Song of the South‘s animated sequences, containing characters, scenery and songs from the infamous movie, which has long been criticized for its portrayal of post-Civil War life in Georgia and its racist characterizations of Black people.
“I’ve felt as long as I’ve been CEO that Song of the South — even with a disclaimer — was just not appropriate in today’s world…,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger in March 2020. “It’s just hard, given the depictions in some of those films, to bring them out today without in some form or another offending people, so we’ve decided not to do that.”
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Is in the Works
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure has reportedly been in the works since 2019 and will pick up The Princess and the Frog story from the animated musical fantasy’s final kiss. Riders will have the chance to join Princess Tiana and the alligator Louis as they ready themselves for a Mardi Gras performance. Featuring music from The Princess and the Frog, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will also feature the voice of Anika Noni Rose, who voiced Tiana in the film. Additionally, Jenifer Lewis (Mama Odie), Bruno Campos (Prince Naveen) and Michael Leon Wooley (Louis) will reprise their voice roles for the attraction.
Splash Mountain opened in Disneyland in 1989, just three years before the ride opened in Florida’s Magic Kingdom in 1992, with the attraction having long been a popular aspect of Disney theme parks. A version of Splash Mountain also can be found at Tokyo Disneyland in Japan.
Splash Mountain isn’t the only Disney ride in recent years that’s made changes to remove its controversial aspects. The park’s Pirates of the Caribbean attraction was updated to remove sexist aspects, including a bride auction. Since the reinstallment of Iger as CEO, he has announced the company’s commitment to making the parks a more customer-friendly experience.