Princess and the Frog retheme of Splash Mountain coming in 2024

Concept art for Princess and the Frog (© Walt Disney Imagineering)
Concept art for Princess and the Frog (© Walt Disney Imagineering)

Walt Disney Imagineering have been working on a retheme of Splash Mountain, the semi-dark ride log flume in Walt Disney World and Disneyland, for quite some time now. They announced in June 2020 that the new theme for both rides is going to be based on the 2009 movie Princess and the Frog. In August of 2021, they gave an update stating that the reimagining process is going to take some time. Earlier this week, voice-actress Anika Noni Rose appeared on American talk show Live with Kelly and Ryan, where she confirmed that Disney is planning to open the rethemed rides in 2024.

The current Splash Mountain rides are based on cartoon parts of the 40s “Song of the South” movie and tell the story of Br’er Rabbit and his struggle to not get caught by Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear. The almost nine-and-a-half minute long ride features over 100 audio-animatronics, several splash downs and a large indoor dark ride portion. A third version of the ride was installed at Tokyo Disneyland. Disney announced that they would be reimagining both of their North American based Splash Mountain installations to the Princess and the Frog theme, following racial justice protests earlier that year. The movie “Song of the South” has long been criticised for its depiction of African Americans.

Disney has given no indication of an opening date, choosing to only state during last year that the retheme could be years away. Actress Anika Noni Rose, who took on the role of voicing main character Tiana in the Princess and the Frog movie, was invited to an interview on American talk show Live with Kelly and Ryan. There she revealed that the rides will be reopening with the new theme in 2024. After the interview, Disney made a brief statement that the company will publish an update on the matter next month.

Anika Noni Rose on Live with Kelly and Ryan (on YouTube)

The Princess and the Frog is a modern day retelling of the classic story The Frog Prince. It revolves around Prince Naveen and waitress Tiana. When the prince is transformed into a frog by a magician, Tiana gets affected by the same spell, upon kissing the amphibian royalty. With the help of an alligator, a Cajun firefly and an old blind lady who lives in a boat in a tree, Naveen and Tiana must find a way to break the spell.

The original Splash Mountain opened in Disneyland in 1989. Following the success of the ride, two more installations opened at Walt Disney World – Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland, both in 1992. Disney has indicated that only the two rides in the United States will be subjected to the retheme.

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Splash Mountain in Walt Disney World – Magic Kingdom (© Simon de Bruijn)