Splash Mountain Retheme Makes Progress at Disney (2024)

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New art has made its way to the ride in the Magic Kingdom

It’s true that Splash Mountain is getting a new theme. In recent years, the ride had come under scrutiny by Disney fans due to its ties to the film’s racially insensitive content. Splash Mountain was a log-flume ride featuring music and theming from the 1946 film “Song of the South”. The new design is led by executive creative producer Charita Carter. The ride’s original creator, Tony Baxter, is returning as a creative advisor on the retheme.

After nearly 30 years at the Magic Kingdom, Disney announced at the D23 Expo that Splash Mountain would be rethemed. Splash Mountain will now be themed after Tiana’s Bayou Adventure and is set to reopen in late 2024.

Splash Mountain Sign Disney World
Splash Mountain opened in 1992 at Disney World in Orlando, but Walt Disney Imagineering is bringing a new concept to the ride (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

What is the new name for Splash Mountain?

The new Princess and the Frog attraction is Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. The ride features scenery from a Louisiana Bayou as well as a backdrop of New Orleans. Disney Imagineers will create new magic for this musical adventure. Anika Noni Rose is the voice of Princess Tiana in the film and will return to voice the audio-animatronic character on the new ride. Jenifer Lewis is also expected to voice Mama Odie. It’s rumored that the ride could repurpose some of the existing audio-animatronics.

weathervane decoration at tianas bayou adventure
Walt Disney Imagineering installs an artisan-created weathervane atop a structure within Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at Magic Kingdom Park in Walt Disney World (media photo by Olga Thompson/Disney)

When will the ride reopen?

Splash Mountain started its transformation on Jan. 23, 2023. Disney Parks Blog announced that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is expected to open in late 2024 in both Magic Kingdom and Disneyland. And it’s clear that progress is being made at the park. In January 2024, the Disney Parks Blog also revealed a new metal masterpiece, a weathervane, that will be on display as part of the new ride. The custom art is by a Louisiana blacksmith, Darryl Reeves. Murals are also being added to the ride queue by artist Malaika Favorite.

tiana tower at the new tiana bayou adventure ride
This tiara-topped water tower will be the centerpiece for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure (media photo by Olga Thompson/Disney)

The story of ‘The Princess and the Frog’

The story is set in 1926 New Orleans, where a hardworking waitress named Tiana dreams of one day opening her own restaurant. Meanwhile, Prince Naveen of the fictional Maldonia arrives in the musical city of New Orleans. While exporing, Naveen encounters Dr. Facilier. The villain offers him a tarot card reading, which reveals that Naveen is completely broke. So, Naveen is seeking a marriage that will be financially advantageous. He agrees to a deal with Dr. Facilier that will help him achieve this goal. 

The prince then meets Tiana at a masquerade ball. However, things go wrong when the price of Naveen’s deal with Dr. Facilier is revealed and he is transformed into a frog. Mistaking Tiana for a princess, Naveen convinces her to kiss him in an attempt to turn himself back into his human form. She agrees when he promises to help finance her restaurant. However, both Naveen and Tiana are shocked when she also transforms into an amphibian. The pair works together as they journey into the Bayou seeking a Voodoo priestess who can undo the spell.

A Little Princess and a Frog on a Bridge
“The Princess and the Frog” performed better on streaming services than at the box office, which usually implies that children liked it better than adults (photo by black-pig/shutterstock.com)

A strong leading character for Disney

Despite her film’s disappointing box office performance, Princess Tiana is a strong lead character. The movie may not have been a box office hit, but it was very popular on Netflix for many years. It moved to Disney+ in 2021 and has continued to be a popular streaming choice on the platform. 

This usually means that children better received the film than adults. Adults typically make choices about which movies to see on the big screen. However, children are making choices about what they want to watch at home. Also, Princess Tiana has been a headliner at Princess Fairytale Hall in Fantasyland along with stars like Cinderella, Rapunzel and Elena of Avalor for years. She also appears with Prince Naveen throughout the day in Liberty Square. The couple is also featured in several of the park’s shows, including The Magic Kingdom Welcome Show and Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire.

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Kirby Russell

Kirby Russell is a freelance contributor for TheSmokies.com LLC – the parent company of TheSmokies.com and HeyOrlando.com.

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