What's Going On With the Princess and the Frog Splash Mountain Redo: October 2020 Update


Princess and the Frog Splash Mountain Concept Art

Earlier this year, amid Disney Parks being closed worldwide, it was announced that Splash Mountain at Disneyland and Walt Disney World would be rethemed based on the classic Disney animated movie Princess and the Frog. This announcement's reaction was mixed, with responses ranging from praising Disney for removing a ride connected to the racist film Song of the South, to sadness at a favorite attraction being removed but understanding why, to anger, to racism towards the proposed replacement.

But whatever you think of this redo, it is happening. We are going to try and update you on the progress of this retheme and when Splash Mountain may close on each coast.

Splash Mountain Log at Bottom of Drop Magic Kingdom Disney World

Splash Mountain has been operating since Walt Disney World opened, and its merchandise has been exceedingly popular, selling out whenever it is restocked, although this has been in large part due to eBay resellers purchasing everything related to Splash Mountain.

Honestly, I wouldn't expect this ride to close until at least when Walt Disney World capacity limits go away. Splash Mountain is an incredibly high capacity ride, and closing it would likely mean Disney would have to further limit the number of people that can visit the Magic Kingdom on a daily basis.

The one way it could close relatively soon is if Disney doesn't want to do the yearly refurbishment of the ride. Being a water ride, Splash Mountian typically gets refurbished every year in the winter months as it gets more wear than an average Disney ride. They could choose to either forgo the refurb, allowing the ride to fall into disrepair in its final months, pay for it and allow it to stay open for another year or so, or just close it and maybe have the new ride ready during the Walt Disney World 50th anniversary.

Magic Kingdom From the Top of Splash Mountain Disney World

But, we really don't know how far along this ride is in development. While rumors had circulated of this happening for roughly a year before the announcement, it is believed that this wasn't extremely far along in development when it was announced. Disney could legitimately not be ready to switch out the ride.

We also don't know how elaborate the retheme will be. There are certainly a lot of elements that could be reused in this attraction, from the general setting that could easily be converted into a bayou, to the final riverboat that would fit perfectly in the world of Princess and the Frog with a simple name change. But they could also choose to replace literally everything short of the ride track if they wanted to. We need more info as this would tell us how long the change is going to take.

Also significant, is this retheme will probably involve some extensive changing of the surrounding area, as the ride's new theme doesn't exactly fit in the current Frontierland. But we have seen Disney redo entire areas to make a new ride fit before, like with Avengers Campus being built around Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout.

Splash Mountain First Lift Hill Disneyland

Now, let us switch over to Disneyland.

We do not even know if this version will reopen whenever Disneyland is allowed to reopen. We have already seen songs from the ride removed from the musical loops of the Disneyland Resort so Splash Mountain may remain closed when the park reopens. Especially with the closure lasting longer than initially anticipated.

Splash Mountain Exterior Critter Country Disneyland

The biggest question that still remains with the Disneyland version of the retheme is what is going to happen to Critter Country.

Entrance The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh Disneyland

When this ride was announced, it was announced that the new Princess and the Frog ride would be considered a part of New Orleans Square when it opened, not Critter Country, where Splash Mountain is currently located.

This leaves a problem as Critter Country is a relatively dead-end in the park with only two attractions, Splash Mountian and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

Now, Disney could always reroute the queue line so it's entrance is located in New Orleans Square, but this would involve some additional work to the areas, especially given the relatively narrow bridge between the two lands. The extended queue already reguarly takes this route.

But the entrance could also remain located in current Critter Country, despite being a New Orleans Square attraction. Disneyland previously did this with the Matterhorn when it was a Tomorrowland attraction.

Hungry Bear Restaurant From Tom Sawyer Island Disneyland

But there has been fan speculation of a retheme of Critter Country based on Princess and the Frog, potentially also including turning Pooh's Corner, the Pooh attraction, and the Hungry Bear into shops and restaurants based on the film, including most notably a Tiana's Palace restaurant. But none of this has been confirmed, or even rumored strongly by insiders. But thematically would make a lot of sense, potentially making this a bayou extension of New Orleans Square.

In all likelihood, I would place my bet on this land maybe being renamed at most, especially given the financial struggles Disney is facing as a company right now. They don't want to get into the process of retheming an entire land. A new sign signifying the land as The Hundred Acre Woods or something similar would be adequate, at least for the time being.

Princess Tiana on the Mark Twain Riverboat Disneyland

There is still a lot of unknowns for this project, and we just wanted to provide an update on what we know and what we don't a few months after the initial announcement.


Post a Comment