In June 2020 Disney announced that it would be reimagining their Splash Mountain ride into Princess and the Frog following last years racial justice protests. The ride is based on the film “Song of the South”, which is widely criticized as a racist movie. Last Wednesday Melissa Valiquette, vice president of Magic Kingdom stated that the reimagining is “a lengthy process” and that it is “going to take some time.”
Splash Mountain was conceived in the summer of 1983 by legendary imagineer Tony Baxter while stuck in traffic on his way to work. Construction began in April 1987 and the ride opened July 17, 1989. The ride is based on cartoon parts of the ’40s “Song of the South” movie and tells 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. Two more installations opened in Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland in 1992.
In June 2020 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 criticized for its depiction of African Americans. No timeline for the reimagining was given at that time. Yesterday Melissa Valiquette gave more information about the transformation. “Sometimes decisions can be made many, many months, even years” Valiquette continued. “it’s going to take us a little bit of time to reimagine Splash Mountain. Our guests are going to have to put a little bit of trust into us for a bit because we promise not to let you down.”
Disney has not yet released more information about the timeline of the reimagining.
Today Disney released a new video about the Princess and the Frog. In the video they talk about their inspiration for the story and the reimagination of the Splash Mountain ride.