Disney Parks has finally announced the shutdown date for the longtime log flume ride, Splash Mountain, at the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort. The Orlando, Florida attraction will officially close down on January 23, 2023 to prep and make way for its coming replacement, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, based on the animated feature, The Princess and the Frog.
The scheduled reopening of the ride following its renovation is slated for 2024.
Disney Parks Announces January 2023 Shutdown For Splash Mountain In Orlando
Disney first announced plans for the change, along with some early concept artwork back in June 2020. However, the shutdown date has only been announced for the ride at Walt Disney World Resort. Disney Parks will share additional information on Splash Mountain at Disneyland Resort at a later time, but its reopening is also slated for 2024.
The new iteration of the ride, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, will have park guests join Princess Tiana and the jazz-loving alligator Louis during the Mardi Gras season as they prepare a special celebration for the people of New Orleans. During the experience, riders will see fireflies lighting up the night to guide them deeper into the bayou, and zydeco music, a blend of rhythm and blues music, will be playing in the background.
After that, guests will meet Louis, who will explain to guests where the music is coming from, and there will be various critters who are friends of Tiana. They will start playing instruments made of materials they found in the bayou. More on the story of the ride will be revealed later on.
The current iteration of Splash Mountain was based on the characters depicted in a story told by the character Uncle Remus in the 1946 Disney film, “Song of the South,” including Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Fox, and Br’er Bear. However, Disney has opted not to re-release the film in recent decades on streaming and home video.
Earlier in March 2020, Deadline reported that former and current Disney CEO Bob Iger said at an annual shareholders meeting that “Song of the South” would never appear on Disney+ due to its “outdated cultural depictions.” He added that the film is “not appropriate in today’s world” and would never be rereleased by the company.
As reported by The Blast, The Walt Disney Company announced last month that Bob Chapek would be stepping down as CEO, with Iger returning to lead the company.
With that in mind and the protests regarding racial injustice that were taking place in 2020, Disney ultimately opted to renovate Splash Mountain and reinvent the ride as an attraction that celebrates New Orleans and “The Princess and the Frog.”
Disneyland Resort Public Relations Director Michael Ramirez noted in June 2020 on the decision, “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.”
Splash Mountain will reopen as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at Walt Disney World Resort’ Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Resort later in 2024. The attraction’s exact launch dates for both Disney theme parks have not yet been announced.