Walt Disney World announces Splash Mountain closing date for new ‘Princess and the Frog’ ride

Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom, Orlando, Florida — Courtesy: Walt Disney World Website

Disney lovers looking to ride Splash Mountain one last time have less than two months to take the enormous plunge at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The classic attraction will close its doors for good on Jan. 23, at Magic Kingdom, the company revealed to the public this week.

Disney Imagineers also gave a peak into the ride’s replacement, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, which is set to open its doors at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland in 2024. The new ride will continue the story that began in Disney’s beloved animated film, “The Princess and the Frog.”

Here is what fans planning to visit should know.

How long will Splash Mountain remain open?

The ride’s last open day will be Jan. 22 at Walt Disney World. Disneyland has not announced when they will be shutting down the ride.

Guests can check Splash Mountain’s availability on both resorts’ apps and websites.

There are currently no plans to change the Splash Mountain ride at Tokyo Disney Resort, which is managed and owned by Oriental Land Company, which licenses the Disney Company.

When will Tiana’s Bayou Adventure open?

Disney previously announced that the new ride would open at both Disney World and Disneyland in late 2024.

However, fans may not have to wait around for that long. Disney spoke with USA Today and told them there was zero need to say “late” anymore for the Sunshine State’s attraction, but simply 2024.

Is Splash Mountain now ‘The Princess and the Frog?

“This is not a retelling of ‘The Princess and the Frog,’ ” Ted Robledo, executive creative director at Walt Disney Imagineering, told reporters Thursday.

They added that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure takes place a year after the conclusion of the animated picture.

Visitors will discover in the ride’s queue that Tiana now wishes to support the success of her town after realizing her dream of owning her own restaurant. To do this, she establishes Tiana’s Foods, an employee-owned cooperative housed inside a new Splash Mountain mountain.

Changes to Splash Mountain

The mountain will be transformed into a salt dome, just like the one Imagineers saw when conducting research for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure on Louisiana’s Avery Island.

“It’s a perfect in for us to explain the elevation,” Robledo smiled.

Charita Carter, executive creative producer for Walt Disney Imagineering, expressed the importance of preserving the ride’s authenticity while giving a whole new dimension to Tiana’s world.

“She’s fantastical, but she came from a very real place,” Carter said. She hopes guests from Louisiana will ride Tiana’s Bayou Adventure and say, “Yeah, this feels right.”

Will the new ride have the same characters as the film?

According to Carter, Tiana, Prince Naveen, Louis the alligator, and a number of other characters from “The Princess and the Frog” will appear in Tiana’s Bayou Adventure with the help of their original voice actors.

New acquaintances that riders will make include an otter, rabbit, raccoon, turtle, beaver, and opossum.

According to Robledo, imagineers searched for creatures that lived in the bayou and envisioned the kinds of materials they might utilize to craft instruments. Like in the movie and the history of New Orleans, music will play a significant role in the journey.

Why is Splash Mountain closing?

Splash Mountain’s current main character, Br’er Rabbit, is tied to the 1946 Disney film, “Song of the South.” The film has been criticized for its portrayal of plantation life.

“I’ve felt, as long as I’ve been CEO, that ‘Song of the South’ was – even with a disclaimer – was just not appropriate in today’s world,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said at a March 2020 shareholders meeting.

In 2020, a petition to change Splash Mountain’s theme went viral and Disney announced its plan to do so, however, the company stated the change had been in the works since 2019.

Make sure you are staying up-to-date with the latest and most important Florida news with Florida Insider. Whether you are interested in business, education, government, history, sports, real estate, nature, weather, or travel: we have something for everyone. Follow along for the best stories in the Sunshine State.