- Splash Mountain will close at Disney World in January 2023.
- It will be replaced with Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, opening in 2024.
- The new attraction will continue the story started in “The Princess and the Frog.”
Disney fans hoping for one last ride on Splash Mountain have less than two months to take the plunge at Walt Disney World. The iconic attraction will close Jan. 23, at Magic Kingdom, Disney World revealed to a small group of media this week, including USA TODAY.
Disney Imagineers also further pulled back the curtain on the ride’s replacement, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, which is set to open in 2024 at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The new attraction will continue the story started in Disney’s beloved animated film, “The Princess and the Frog.”
Here’s what fans planning their trips should know.
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How long will Splash Mountain stay open?
The ride’s last day of operation will be Jan. 22 at Disney World. Disneyland has not announced a closing date yet.
Guests can check Splash Mountain’s daily availability on both resorts’ respective websites and apps.
There are currently no plans to change Splash Mountain at Tokyo Disney Resort, which is owned by Oriental Land Company, which licenses from Disney.
When will Tiana’s Bayou Adventure open?
Disney previously announced the attraction would open at both Disneyland and Disney World in late 2024.
However fans may not have to wait that long. Disney World told USA TODAY there was no need to say “late” anymore for Florida’s attraction, but simply 2024.
Is Splash Mountain now ‘The Princess and The Frog’?
“This is not a retelling of ‘The Princess and the Frog,’ ” Ted Robledo, executive creative director at Walt Disney Imagineering, told reporters Thursday.
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is set a year after the animated film ends, they explained.
Having realized her own dream of opening her own restaurant, Tiana now wants to help her community succeed too, as guests will learn in the ride’s queue. To do so, she opens Tiana’s Foods, an employee-owned co-op built into a new incarnation of Splash Mountain’s mountain.
What’s happening to Splash Mountain?
The mountain will be reimagined as a salt dome, like one imagineers visited on Louisiana’s Avery Island during one of their many research trips for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.
“It’s a perfect in for us to explain the elevation,” Robledo smiled.
Charita Carter, executive creative producer for Walt Disney Imagineering, stressed the importance of preserving authenticity while giving dimension to Tiana’s world.
“She’s fantastical, but she came from a very real place,” Carter said. She hopes guests from Louisiana will ride Tiana’s Bayou Adventure and say, “Yeah, this feels right.”
Will the ride have the same characters as the film?
Tiana, Prince Naveen, Louis the alligator and several other characters from “The Princess and the Frog” will star in Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, and their original voice actors will reprise their roles, according to Carter.
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Guests will also meet new friends: an otter, rabbit, raccoon, turtle, beaver and opossum.
Robledo said Imagineers looked for animals that lived in the bayou and imagined what kinds of found objects they might use to make instruments. Music will play a big part in the ride, just like in the film and history of New Orleans.
Why is Splash Mountain closing?
Splash Mountain’s current Br’er Rabbit story is tied to “Song of the South,” a 1946 Disney film, which has been criticized for its idyllic portrayal of plantation life.
“I’ve felt, as long as I’ve been CEO, that ‘Song of the South’ was – even with a disclaimer – was just not appropriate in today’s world,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said at a March 2020 shareholders meeting.
A petition to change Splash Mountain’s theme went viral the same year and Disney announced plans to do so, noting the change had been in the works since 2019.