LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (WFLA) — Fans of the Walt Disney World attraction Splash Mountain have just days to take their final plunge before it closes for good.
Three decades after opening in 1989, the drop ride will close its doors on Jan. 23 to make way for an Imagineering makeover. The attraction will be re-themed based on Disney’s 2009 film “The Princess and the Frog” and will receive a new name: Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.
News that the ride would be “re-imagined” was first announced in June 2020, with additional details – including the new name – revealed in July 2022.
“Since the attraction was announced in 2020, Imagineers have been hard at work designing an immersive experience inspired by the Walt Disney Animation Studios film ‘The Princess and the Frog’ and the heart and culture of New Orleans,” wrote Carmen Smith, an executive with Walt Disney Imagineering, in a blog post published last month.
Disney said the re-themed attraction will pick up where the film’s story left off.
“In Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, you’ll join Princess Tiana and jazz-loving alligator Louis during Mardi Gras season as they prepare to host a one-of-a-kind celebration for the people of New Orleans,” according to the Disney Parks Blog.
The decision to re-theme Splash Mountain came after years of social media calls to change the attraction, which originally contained elements from Disney’s controversial 1946 film “Song of the South.” The movie was heavily criticized for its plantation setting and its depiction of Black people, which returned to the spotlight amid broader conversations about race after George Floyd was killed in 2020.
“The retheming of Splash Mountain is of particular importance today,” a representative for Disney Parks wrote in a blog post in June 2020. “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.”
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is expected to open in 2024.