Speculation: When Will Walt Disney World's Splash Mountain Close

Splash Mountain Frontierland Magic Kingdom

Earlier this year Disney announced that they were going to be closing the Walt Disney World and Disneyland versions of Splash Mountain and replacing them with Princess and the Frog themed attractions. Recently Disney has affirmed their commitment to this attraction and stated it is a priority for them.

So we are going to speculate on when the Disney World version of the ride may close down to be replaced by a new Princess and the Frog themed ride, based on what we know right now.

Peoplemover Ride Vehicle With Cone Disney World

Disney World, like every other theme park in the world right now, is subject to capacity limitations due to the ongoing pandemic. Because of this, the capacity of every theme park is defined by a percentage of their normal capacity. Every time a ride opens or closes, it changes the capacity of the theme park as a whole.

Splash Mountain is a high capacity ride, and closing it would almost certainly remove some capacity from the Magic Kingdom as a whole. We talked about this in a previous article, but I think the impact of this has been limited by Disney World increasing total capacity recently. If Disney is still concerned about this, then maybe the closure will be impacted by whenever the Peoplemover reopens from its lengthy refurbishment, offsetting the loss of Splash Mountain.

Brer Rabbit Gone For Good Scene Splash Mountain Magic Kingdom

Recently we have been seeing increasing maintenance issues on Splash Mountain, which is typically a sign of a ride closing soon. Animatronics and effects are breaking and being removed, or just left broken. This is a common occurrence with Splash Mountain, and typically offset with an annual refurbishment. If that isn't going to happen this year, which would make sense if Disney plans on removing it why pay to fix it, then that may shorten the ride's longevity.

Splash Mountain typically has not gone without a refurbishment for longer than two years, and it just had one prior to the closure of Walt Disney World due to COVID19. Assuming Disney does not do a refurb this year, that would give us a potential closure date as late as January of 2022. It could also be a little later than that due to not operating for several months.

This to me seems like a reasonable rough guess, give or take a few months, for when the ride will close down. This would allow it to operate through the remainder of the ongoing pandemic until when most restrictions will likely have been lifted, as well as the beginning months of the Magic Kingdom 50th anniversary celebration.

By this point, the Magic Kingdom will have gotten much of its entertainment back, as well as the addition of the major new Tron roller coaster. It could then afford to lose Splash Mountain for what will almost certainly be a multiple-year refurbishment into a Princess and the Frog ride.

Splash Mountain Princess and the Frog Concept Art Disney Parks

This is all still speculation and a lot could still change. Disney could close again if COVID19 numbers significantly worsen. They could close it before the 50th for symbolic reasons, but this seems like a reasonable timeline based on what we know now.