ORLANDO, Fla. - Splash Mountain at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Florida will soon close to be reimagined as Tiana's Bayou Adventure, which will be themed around the popular animated 2009 film "The Princess and the Frog."
On Friday, Disney announced that Splash Mountain will officially be closed on Jan. 23, 2023 to undergo the transformation. That means if you want one last ride, the last day to hop on ‘Splash’ will be Jan. 22, 2023.
As the company prepares for the transition, a new rendering has been released of what guests can expect from Tiana's Bayou Adventure, including new characters specifically created for the rethemed attraction.
"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," Disney Parks Blog reported. "This new scene is the thrilling moment you first drop into the bayou and encounter some friends both new and familiar."
The photo shows riders floating down the river in a log boat – similar to what is used on Splash Mountain currently. Fireflies light up the night sky and appear to lead riders deeper into the bayou as they encounter adorable animals – and of course Tiana – along the way. To enhance the atmosphere, the sounds of zydeco music will fill the air, which is a special blend of rhythm and blues that was born in Louisiana. Disney Parks Blog says "when you hear it, you’ll feel like you’ve truly stepped into Tiana’s world."
Several critters will make up the band, including an otter, rabbit, raccoon, beaver, turtle and others. The band members sing and play instruments made of natural materials they found in the bayou.
In September, a large model of Tiana's Bayou Adventure was unveiled at the Disney Parks and Experiences Wonderful World of Dreams pavilion at the D23 Expo in California.
Disney announced in 2020 that Splash Mountain would be reimagined around "The Princess and the Frog" after several petitions were started calling for an overhaul of the ride. Many people were upset by Splash Mountain's connection to the film "Song of the South," which has been the subject of much controversy as many critics have described the film's portrayal of African Americans as racist and offensive.
When Disney+ launched in 2019, executive chairman Bob Iger confirmed that the 1946 film would not be a part of the lineup because it is "not appropriate in today’s world."
"With this longstanding history of updating attractions and adding new magic, the retheming of Splash Mountain is of particular importance today," Disney previously said. "The new concept is inclusive – one that all of our guests can connect with and be inspired by, and it speaks to the diversity of the millions of people who visit our parks each year."
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is expected to open at Disney World's Magic Kingdom in late 2024.