Splash Mountain is officially closed—and getting the update it deserves
The day has finally come, Disney fans—Splash Mountain is officially closed. The fan-favorite attraction had its last day at Orlando’s Disney World on Monday, Jan. 23. It will now be closed until 2024, when Disney plans to unveil a new ride themed around The Princess and the Frog.
Walt Disney World Cast Members were the last people to ride Splash Mountain. And the crowd went wild. 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/EbsqYlCg7W— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) January 23, 2023
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While Splash Mountain is an extremely popular, classic attraction, there’s just no denying that it’s also deeply problematic. The ride is based on the 1946 Disney film Song of the South, which is widely considered to be racist and offensive (and has been locked away in Disney’s vaults for years). The film depicts a romanticized version of the antebellum South and perpetuates racist stereotypes of Black people. Splash Mountain, which opened in 1989, features characters and imagery from the film.
Critics have long called for Disney to change Splash Mountain’s theme, arguing that it is offensive and insensitive, particularly in light of the ongoing racial justice movement and calls to address and combat systemic racism in the U.S. In June of 2020, Disney announced its plans to redesign the ride to feature characters and scenes from The Princess and the Frog, a 2009 film that features Disney’s only Black princess. It’s expected to reopen as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure sometime in 2024.
Last month, Disney released a first look of the reimagined ride, and to say we’re excited would be an understatement.
“In Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, you’ll 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,” a blog post announced. “Fireflies will light up the night and invite you deeper into the bayou … almost like they’re waving you forward.”Disney
In addition to Tiana and her alligator sidekick, Louis, the ride will feature “a band full of adorable critters, including an otter, a rabbit, a racoon, a beaver, a turtle and others. The band members sing and play instruments made of natural materials they found in the bayou. It feels like they may have a bigger role to play in this story … but we’ll just have to wait and see on that one.”
Splash Mountain’s final day drew crowds to the theme park, where the wait for the ride broke all-time records. People have even been trying to sell water from Splash Mountain on eBay, with one four-ounce jar listed for nearly $150.
Meanwhile, Splash Mountain at Disneyland in Anaheim remains open. It’s expected to close soon, too, as both rides will be transformed into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, but Disney hasn’t yet given an exact closing date for the California version.