Disney Parks officially announced that they will be removing Splash Mountain from both Disneyland and Disney World and replacing it with a new story based on The Princess and the Frog.
Disney Parks made the announcement on Twitter and shared some concept art for the reimagined ride.
They wrote, “We’re thrilled to share Splash Mountain at Disneyland and Walt Disney World will be completely reimagined with a new story inspired by an all-time favorite Disney Animation film, The Princess and the Frog.”
We’re thrilled to share Splash Mountain at @Disneyland & @WaltDisneyWorld will be completely reimagined with a new story inspired by an all-time favorite @DisneyAnimation film, “The Princess and the Frog.” Learn about what Imagineers have in development: https://t.co/HyKfdDSH3j pic.twitter.com/DV6476KAVX
— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) June 25, 2020
Splash Mountain currently has a Song of the South theme.
Disney Parks provided further details on their Disney Parks Blog in a post by Disneyland Resorts Public Relations Director Michael Ramirez.
In the blog post, Ramirez detailed why they decided to retheme Splash Mountain, “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?”
He continued, “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.”
Ramirez then details the reason behind the change is inclusion and diversity. He explained, “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.”
Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Development and Inclusive Strategies Executive Carmen Smith would echo Ramirez’s comments. She stated, “We continually evaluate opportunities to enhance and elevate experiences for our guests. It’s important that our guests be able to see themselves in the experiences we create.”
Smith added, “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, Smith concluded.
As for The Princess and the Frog theme, Ramirez explains that the ride will “pick up the 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.”
Ramirez writes, “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.”
He adds, “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 new themed attraction will feature the voice of Princess Tiana, Anika Noni Rose. Rose shared her opinion about the change to Splash Mountain, “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!”
Other actors who are part of the cast also shared their thoughts on the announcement.
Michael-Leon Wooley, who voices Louis, stated, “I think this is great news, or as Louis would say – HALLELUJAH!!”
The voice of Mama Odie, Jenifer Lewis, also stated, “Voicing Mama Odie was a joyful creative experience. Recording Mama Odie’s song, “Dig a Little Deeper,” by Randy Newman must have taken a hundred takes, because I wanted it to be perfect.”
She added, “The image of Mama Odie, in the fairy godmother role, truly reflected the New Orleans Black bayou tradition of the revered wise woman. I am thrilled that the Princess and The Frog is being honored the joy it has brought to millions of Disney fans.”
What do you make of this change to Splash Mountain in Disneyland and Walt Disney World?