Splash Mountain’s old theming is getting flung into the briar patch.
Two years after announcing plans to refurbish the classic log flume to remove ties to the racist 1946 film Song of the South, Disney has revealed a name and expected opening for the updated attraction inspired by the 2009 animated film The Princess and the Frog.
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is set to open in late 2024 at Disneyland and Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, the company unveiled Friday at Essence Fest in New Orleans while joined on stage at the French Quarter’s Preservation Hall by Stella Chase, the daughter of Chef Leah Chase, who inspired Princess Tiana’s storyline in the movie. Jenifer Lewis, who voiced Mama in the film, also performed at the event.
The Walt Disney Company Disney unveiled its new Splash Mountain concept art, themed to ‘The Princess and the Frog.’
“In many ways, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is a love letter to New Orleans. Like the musical city that inspired this attraction, Tiana’s second act is about a community working in harmony to achieve something extraordinary. She reminds us of an immutable truth we can all relate to: ‘If you do your best each and every day, good things are sure to come your way.’ And that’s a melody we can all sing along to!” said Charita Carter, the executive producer of relevancy activations at Walt Disney Imagineering, in a statement.
There was no mention of whether Tokyo Disneyland’s version of the ride would receive a similar revamp.
Princess Tiana voice actress Anika Noni Rose said in June that the revamp would open in 2024: “They are making a ride — it’ll be out in 2024,” Rose said on Live With Kelly and Ryan. “I’ve been involved in the beginning, just talking about how we want it to be, what we want it to do, but, if I were to tell you anything else, I would be sucked into the ground and you’d never see me again.”
Disney first announced plans to overhaul the ride in 2020 with a new storyline following Tiana as she plans a Mardi Gras celebration with Naveen (Bruno Campos) and Louis (Michael-Leon Wooley), with riders floating along colorful canals as original music inspired by the movie soundtracks the journey.
The Disney team also noted that they traveled to New Orleans and consulted with academics, chefs, musicians, and cultural institutions to immerse themselves in the spirit of the city and its history to weave it into the ride’s aesthetic.
Disney Resorts Disneyland and Disney World will re-theme Splash Mountain to ‘The Princess and the Frog.’
Disney recently addressed backlash over its iconic Jungle Cruise ride, with a full refurbishing of the storied boat ride being completed at Disneyland in 2021 as an attempt to remove its “negative depictions” of Native people.
The Princess and the Frog overhaul joins a list of major new additions hitting Disney properties, with Epcot opening its Guardians of the Galaxy–themed roller coaster earlier this year, ahead of a large Moana-themed walk-through water attraction set to open at the park in the near future.
Florida’s Magic Kingdom park is also currently constructing a launched Tron roller coaster next to Space Mountain inside the Tomorrowland section; Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Tokyo Disneyland are also readying new Frozen rides and attractions soon.
Hear more on all of today’s must-see picks on EW’s What to Watch podcast, hosted by Gerrad Hall.