Disney is currently working on a project to re-theme Splash Mountain at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The entire ride will be completely reimagined inspired by the Disney film “The Princess and the Frog.”
The story is said to pick up after the final kiss and will join Princess Tiana and Louis on a musical adventure featuring some of the most powerful music from the film- as they prepare for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance.
Keep reading for all info on the retheme of Splash Mountain to Tiana's Bayou Adventure, newly released concept art and our commentary on when Splash Mountain will close. Closure date announced for Walt Disney World! More information below!
BREAKING: Splash Mountain Closure Date Announced for Walt Disney World!
Disney has announced that Splash Mountain at Walt Disney World will close to begin its transformation into Tiana's Bayou Adventure on January 23rd 2023. Additional information on Disneyland's Splash Mountain closing date will be shared at a ‘later date' but my speculation is it won't be too far after Walt Disney World's closure date. If you want to ride Splash Mountain before it is reimagined into Tiana's Bayou Adventure, I recommend doing so as soon as possible!
The only thing that could possibly delay the refurbishment of Splash Mountain over at Disneyland could be the Disney100 Celebration which kicks off on January 27th 2023. Normally January is a common time for the theme park to do ride refurbishments but with the opening of Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway that same day, the return of the Magic Happens parade on February 24th 2023 plus the reopening of the reimagined Toontown on March 8th 2023… Spring is going to be a busy time at the Disneyland Resort. It could perhaps delay a Splash Mountain refurbishment if Disneyland wants to have all rides operating at full capacity in the Spring. Keep in mind, this is purely speculation on my part and none of this is confirmed from Disney.
We also got a look at brand new concept art (pictured above) of Tiana's Bayou Adventure of the scene guests will see as they first drop into the ride. The scene captures the beauty of the bayou with fireflies inviting guests deeper into the ride with zydeco music playing as the ride begins. As Disney described in their announcement, “Zydeco is a special blend of rhythm and blues that was born in Louisiana, and when you hear it, you’ll feel like you’ve truly stepped into Tiana’s world.”
You can also see in the concept art that the music is being played by Louis, from Princess and the Frog, along with some new friends- a band full of bayou animals. I am hoping to see some of the original animatronic critters from Splash Mountain re-utilized in Tiana's Bayou Adventure and since most of this concept art seems pretty “critter focused”- there's a chance this could happen!
When Will Splash Mountain Close?
Disney has not officially announced when Splash Mountain will close to begin the process of retheming the attraction to Tiana's Bayou Adventure at Disneyland. This is purely just our commentary and speculation on what we might expect to happen.
It is likely that Disney will formally announce when Splash Mountain will be closing for the retheming to Tiana's Bayou Adventure. I don't anticipate that it will just appear on the calendar without a formal announcement. The reason I think we'll see Disney make an announcement concerning Splash Mountain's Refurbishment is because it usually receives one anyways after the holiday season. This is usually when our water rides in both theme parks get their yearly upkeep since they're not as popular in the chillier winter months. Since the original announcement of Splash Mountain's reimagining to a Princess & the Frog theme in 2020, guests have panicked when they see Splash Mountain appear on the refurbishment calendar for any reason… worrying this might be the big retheme and their chance to ride the original Splash one last time is gone!
But the last time Splash Mountain was on the calendar for a general upkeep refurbishment, Disney did confirm with guests that it was just for upkeep and wasn't for the Princess & the Frog retheme. This is what leads me to believe they will inform guests when the ride will close for this final transformation. Not only is it a nice courtesy to notify guests the timeline they have left to ride Splash Mountain in its original form, they were kind enough last time to be communicative with guests which does set a precedent moving forward.
My speculation is that we will see it close after the 2022 holiday season, perhaps as soon as January 2023 or at least sometime in Spring 2023, to prepare for its late 2024 opening date as Tiana's Bayou Adventure.
The concept model released at the D23 Expo (pictured above) is scaled down from how ambitious the previous concept art originally released (below) with the removal of the tree with a crashed boat inside it at the top of the mountain. This is a significant change between the two concepts that will impact the length of construction this retheme will take.
It's hard to say what decision impacted this shift in exterior design plans. However, the concept model does resemble the likeness more closely of the original Splash Mountain more so than the previous concept art released. For guests looking to preserve some of the original integrity of this historic attraction, this could be a welcome shift and this also will shorten the time this retheming will take if the exterior imagining isn't quite as large in scale.
In the exterior concept art revealed at D23 Expo, we also see what Tiana's Bayou Adventure will look like at night and we can see that it will be visually stunning with the use of lighting effects to mimic the mystique of a New Orleans bayou. This will also require significant time to restructure the exterior of the attraction to incorporate this new lighting along with new plant growth and the addition of the new tower paying tribute to Tiana.
In terms of the interior of the attraction, we know that the ride path itself will remain the same and that Disney is creating a new animatronic Otter to be part of the story. We can also expect Princess Tiana to be included inside the ride, as that's a given, but also that the voice actors from the film will be reprising their roles. The question here is: which characters will be made into animatronics? How much will the attraction rely on projections or video? The good news is that Splash Mountain does not require closure for Disney Imagineers to begin audio-animatronic work on characters for the attraction. Personally, I am really hoping to see an audio-animatronic of Tiana that's on scale with the talent we saw from Imagineers that developed Hondo Ohnaka for the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run attraction.
It would also make logical sense to keep many of the original animatronics from Splash Mountain as part of Tiana's Bayou Adventure as these critters would blend in nicely with the story. There are more than 100 animals in Splash Mountain! After all, this wouldn't be the first time these critters have been repurposed. The singing audio-animatronic animals in Disneyland's Splash Mountain finale were repurposed from the America Sings attraction in Disneyland from 1974-1988. In fact it's a well-known practice for Disney to reuse animatronics. In Walt Disney World, the Three Caballeros characters who appear in EPCOT's Gran Fiesta Tour were originally part of Mickey Mouse Revue in Fantasyland. It would be a great homage to Splash Mountain to reuse some of the critters of Splash Mountain in Tiana's Bayou Adventure. Especially since Disney Legend Marc Davis, who was one of Walt Disney’s “Nine Old Men,” designed many of them.
If you want to ride Splash Mountain before the Princess and the Frog re-theme, my recommendation would be to do so as soon as you can this year as 2023 is not guaranteed- anytime next year we could see Splash Mountain begin its refurbishment to Tiana's Bayou Adventure.
Keep in mind this is all just my personal speculation as nothing has been officially confirmed by Disney. All we know so far is that Tiana's Bayou Adventure has been said to open in late 2024. For all we know, Splash Mountain may not even close until late 2023 or even 2024- depending on how quickly Disney plans on work on this retheme.
Eudora’s Chic Boutique featuring Tiana’s Gourmet Secrets
Disneyland has just shared photos of the new Princess and the Frog themed shop at Disneyland in New Orleans Square.
The shop is just down the street from the Blue Bayou restaurant. The store is officially called Eudora’s Chic Boutique featuring Tiana’s Gourmet Secrets and will feature an eclectic selection of home goods, apparel, and more. The store takes it's inspiration from the Princess and the Frog New Orleans heritage.
The store is now open to guests. The unique nature of the merchandise in the shop feels like a return to New Orleans Square's roots. When the land first opened there was a real antique store in the land.
You can also see a TikTok from Disney Parks that captures a few more of the details of what is being sold in the shop. The store is inspired by Princess Tiana’s dressmaker mother Eudora. You'll find accessories to serve and create New Orleans style cuisine.
@disneyparks JUST OPENED! Eudora’s Chic Boutique Featuring Tiana’s Gourmet Secrets is open in #NewOrleansSquare at #Disneyland 💚✨ #Disney #DisneyParks #Tiana #PrincessAndTheFrog #NOLA #Shop ♬ original sound – Disney Parks
Disney has shared that “Tiana is collaborating with her talented dressmaker mother, Eudora, to open this fantastic little shop, with accessories to create and serve masterful Orleans-style cuisine and more.”
The store details were first shared at the D23 Expo where Disney also shared more information on the Princess and the Frog retheme coming to Splash Mountain. Disney also teased a new Princess and the Frog restaurant coming to Disneyland. The restaurant details were sprinkled into the exhibit at the expo but we have not yet gotten more details. See more details on the model for the new Splash Mountain retheme below…
One of the most anticipated park projects is the upcoming retheme of Splash Mountain and we were excited to get a first look at the result of the transition to Tiana's Bayou Adventure.
Keep reading to see the first look at the JUST released Splash Mountain concept replacement from the Disney Imagineering team! And be sure to join our FREE Mickey Visit newsletter so you never miss out on updates from the parks.
Tiana's Bayou Adventure D23 Expo Details
Live from D23 Expo, we got an update on Tiana's Bayou Adventure and how this attraction not only pays homage to Tiana's story but remembers that New Orleans is a “real place with real people” and honors that cultural heritage. We saw some visuals and concepts from the interior of the attraction and it's shaping up to look like a magical addition to New Orleans Square!
You can see the new animatronic otter created for Tiana's Bayou Adventure above.
We were also treated to a live performance of Anika Noni Rose! They also announced that all the voice actors from Princess and the Frog will be reprising their roles for the attraction.
Tiana's Bayou Adventure will open in late 2024 at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
Splash Mountain Exterior REVEALED
Splash Mountain is being rethemed into a Princess and the Frog overlay called Tiana's Bayou Adventure which will open in late 2024 in both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. We just got the first look at what the exterior redesign will look like LIVE at D23 Expo!
We can see how the ride's original design has remained largely intact but if you look close you can see the details that will bring Tiana's Bayou Adventure to life! I notice some purple lights coming from the top that might indicate we will see some “friends from the other side” before the big drop?
Tiana's Bayou Adventure NEW Concept Art
In addition to a look at the new concept model for Splash Mountain's redesign into Tiana's Bayou Adventure, we were also given the opportunity to see this new concept art first! This concept art shows what the model represents as the exterior of Splash Mountain's redesign into Tiana's Bayou Adventure during the daytime and night.
A look at Tiana's Bayou Adventure during the day!
And at night! Notice all the fireflies… I wonder if Ray will make an appearance!
Princess and the Frog Attraction Name, New Details, and Opening Year
At the ESSENCE Fest in New Orleans, Disney confirmed long awaited details on the Princess and Frog retheme of Splash Mountain. This new attraction will be called Tiana's Bayou Adventure and will feature the characters from “The Princess and the Frog” and will officially open at Disneyland in California and Magic Kingdom in Florida in late 2024.
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What we still don't know – when Splash Mountain will permanently close in both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Be sure to join our free newsletter for the latest on this attraction and all Disney news.
The attraction is rooted in extensive research that the Walt Disney Imagineers has conducted in Louisiana. Disney noted that the group has explored the French Market and bayou, worked with chefs, musicians, academics, musicians, and cultural institutions to craft the story of this attraction.
Check out the video below that Disney shared on the new attraction today.
NEW Princess Tiana Look For the Attraction
Later in the day at the ESSENCE Fest, Costume Designer Ida Muldrow from Disney Live Entertainment shared Princess Tiana’s new look for the attraction. In a panel that was moderated by Yvette Nicole Brown (a favorite personality of mine who previously crushed it as moderator of the introductory Disney Plus panel at the D23 Expo), the Imagineering team shared their detailed approach to creating the look for this Tiana adventure.
The costume designer shared that “Tiana was equally at home in the bayou as she was at a banquet…we wanted her look to reflect that, and be a compliment to the story’s setting.”
Audience members heard about the creative process and the considerations for the unique hairstyle for Tiana. There was emphasis placed on the versatility of Black women's hair and the its importance to identity across geographies.
I am interested to see how this new look will be transformed into an Audio-Animatronic or featured in the attraction and how (if?) Disney blends the use of Tiana's new look and the classic Princess Tiana look from the film that was also seen in the initial concept art (above) released for the attraction.
Story of the New Princess and the Frog Attraction
Further details of the storyline of the upcoming Princess and the Frog overlay of Splash Mountain was recently revealed by Imagineers! The story will pick up after the final kiss with Naveen and Louis joining Tiana on a new adventure where she will host a unique Mardi Gras celebration. The ride will feature original music inspired by the songs of the film with Tiana “leading the way” through the adventure where fans will be able to encounter “old friends” and make new ones along the way.
Tiana will be a focal point of the adventure talking directly to guests making them active participants in the ride. We can't wait to get more details! There is still no date for the retheme to begin for Splash Mountain.
Adventures With Princess Tiana
This quote from the Disney Parks Blog sums up the passion behind this project and the dedication the Imagineers have to this reimagining:
Tiana is a modern, courageous, and empowered woman, who pursues her dreams and never loses sight of what’s really important. It’s a great story with a strong lead character, set against the backdrop of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou. In 1966, Walt himself opened New Orleans Square when it became the first new “land” added to Disneyland park, so it feels natural to link the story and the incredible music of “The Princess and the Frog” to our parks.
We'll have to stay tuned for news on what this might mean for the rest of Critter Country in Disneyland.
When Imagineers take on the task of retheming or “plussing” attractions (as Walt Disney would call it) it begins with them asking the question of ‘how can we build upon or elevate the experience and tell a fresh, relevant story?' The Imagineers sound incredibly devoted to this new inclusive reimagining of this popular ride.
There are fantastic Imagineers working on the retime of this popular attraction. The redesign will be lead by Charita Carter, an incredible leader that most recently helped lead the team behind Mickey's Runaway Railway coming to Disneyland and now open in Walt Disney World. Tony Baxter, the creative executive behind the original Splash Mountain will also be joining the team to advise on the update to the attraction. Fans should be excited about this team up.
Concept designs are currently in the works and we should have more information soon along with a timeline for when the transformation should take place.
We will keep this guide updated as we receive information!
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