Walt Disney World’s Splash Mountain has officially closed.
Long-time visitors flocked to Magic Kingdom for one last hurrah this weekend, with wait times reaching 220 minutes on Sunday night.
The popular ride is still open at Disneyland, but it’s only a matter of time before it closes to make way for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, which will continue the story begun in “The Princess and the Frog” next year. Disneyland has already opened a Tiana-themed shop, Eudora’s Chic Boutique Featuring Tiana’s Gourmet Secrets, and plans for a new Tiana’s Palace restaurant have been revealed.
Here’s what Disneyland and Disney World visitors should know before going.
Splash Mountain will be open for how long?
The last day of operation for Splash Mountain at Disney World was January 22.
Disneyland has not yet announced a closing date for Splash Mountain, but guests can check availability on the California resort’s website and app on a daily basis.
There are currently no plans to change Splash Mountain at Tokyo Disney Resort, which is owned by Oriental Land Company and operates under a Disney licence.
What is the reason for the closure of Splash Mountain?
The story of Br’er Rabbit in Splash Mountain is linked to “Song of the South,” a 1946 Disney film that has been criticised for its idealised portrayal of plantation life.
“I’ve felt, as long as I’ve been CEO, that ‘Song of the South’ was just not appropriate in today’s world, even with a disclaimer,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said at a March 2020 shareholders meeting.
The same year, a petition to change the theme of Splash Mountain went viral, and Disney announced plans to do so, noting that the change had been in the works since 2019.
When will Tiana’s Bayou Adventure be available?
Disney previously stated that the attraction would open in late 2024 at both Disneyland and Disney World.
Fans, on the other hand, may not have to wait that long. Disney World told USA TODAY that the Florida attraction would no longer be “late,” but would instead open in 2024.
Is Splash Mountain now referred to as ‘The Princess and the Frog’?
“This is not a remake of ‘The Princess and the Frog,'” Ted Robledo, executive creative director at Walt Disney Imagineering, stated in December.
They explained that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure takes place a year after the end of the animated film and continues the story.
Tiana, who has realised her own dream of opening her own restaurant, now wants to help her community succeed as well, as guests will discover in the ride’s queue. To accomplish this, she establishes Tiana’s Foods, an employee-owned co-op housed within a new incarnation of Splash Mountain’s mountain.
What is going on with Splash Mountain?
The mountain will be transformed into a salt dome, similar to one Imagineers saw on Louisiana’s Avery Island during one of their many research trips for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to explain the elevation,” Robledo said, smiling.
Charita Carter, executive creative producer for Walt Disney Imagineering, emphasised the importance of maintaining authenticity while giving Tiana’s world dimension.
“She’s fantastical, but she came from somewhere very real,” Carter explained. She hopes that when visitors from Louisiana ride Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, they will say, “Yeah, this feels right.”
Will the characters in Tiana’s Bayou Adventure be the same as in the film?
According to Carter, Tiana, Prince Naveen, Louis the alligator, and several other characters from “The Princess and the Frog” will appear in Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, and their original voice actors will reprise their roles.
Guests will also make new animal friends, including an otter, rabbit, raccoon, turtle, beaver, and opossum.
Imagineers looked for animals that lived in the bayou and imagined what kinds of found objects they could use to make instruments, according to Robledo. Music, like the film and history of New Orleans, will play an important role in the ride.
Is Tiana’s Palace a real location?
It will happen. Later this year, Disneyland plans to open a real-life Tiana’s Palace restaurant.
“You’ll find elegant fixtures and appointments reminiscent of Tiana’s life and friendships within its peach-colored walls and fancy green wrought-iron balconies,” Disney wrote on the Disney Parks Blog. “In this quick-service style restaurant, the new Tiana’s Palace will have much of the same pinch of pzazz and flair as the restaurant from the film, offering authentic New Orleans flavours inspired by Tiana’s friends and adventures.”
The French Market Restaurant in New Orleans Square will be replaced by this restaurant. Both the French Market Restaurant and the Mint Julep Bar will close on February 17 to make way for the renovation, but the Mint Julep will reopen later. Opening dates have yet to be announced.