Walt Disney World in Florida has announced it is officially shutting down the Splash Mountain log flume ride on January 23, 2023. The news was confirmed in a blog post by Carmen Smith, SVP, Creative Development – Product/Content & Inclusive Strategies for Disney Parks, Experiences & Products.
First launched at Disneyland in 1989 and operating in the Magic Kingdom since 1992, the ride based on the animated sequences in Disney’s controversial 1946 film Song of the South is being replaced by a new concept inspired by The Princess and the Frog (2009), dubbed Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. The new ride is due to open in late 2024. The announcement was accompanied by a new artist’s rendering previewing the redesign and fresh details about the ride.
Imagineered as an homage to the history and heritage of New Orleans, guests on Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will “join Princess Tiana and jazz-loving alligator Louis during Mardi Gras season as they prepare to host a one-of-a-kind celebration for the people of New Orleans,” according to Smith’s post.
In the bayou, Tiana and park-goers will also encounter an all-animal Zydeco band, with the multicultural music blend symbolizing the spirit of diversity and acceptance Disney aims to express in the experience. Smith writes, “It’s emblematic of what we’re always striving for with our attractions — bringing people of different backgrounds together through timeless Disney stories.”
The changeover was announced in 2020, when Disney said it had been working on updating the ride since the year prior (which would be before petitions about the ride began circling in the midst of the George Floyd protests).
When more details of the new ride were shared in 2021, the company announced it was making a $50,000 donation to the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), a regional, pre-professional arts training center.
Per previous announcements, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will also be coming to Disneyland in 2024. A third Splash Mountain is installed at Tokyo Disneyland, where operator The Oriental Land Company had reportedly been in discussion about whether to change it back in 2020, but has not announced any plans for a redesign.
[Sources: Deadline, Disneyland Resort News]