According to our friends at The Orlando Sentinel the clock is ticking on the final splashdown of Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom.
The paper is reporting that “The last day Walt Disney World visitors can experience the log ride in its current form will be Jan. 22nd .
The attraction will be closed by the next day, and its transformation into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will begin.
Disney initially announced in June 2020 the makeover tied to its “The Princess and the Frog” film.
The re-themed, re-christened ride is scheduled to open to the public in late 2024, the company says.
The setting for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will be one year after the conclusion of the animated film. Tiana will be portrayed as a successful entrepreneur with strong connections to her family and community, said Rod Robledo, executive creative director.
“She’s actually started an employee-owned company called Tiana’s Foods,” he said. The company logo has been seen on a water tower in a rendering of the future attraction.
That part of the attraction’s story also helps explain the lack of mountain that has been seen in Frontierland since the early 1990s. Louisiana, in real life, is mostly flat.
“What Tiana has done is purchased this old, abandoned salt dome mine, and that was turned into this operation called Tiana’s Foods,” Robledo said. Disney creative types saw such domes during a Louisiana visit.
“We thought to ourselves, ‘Hey, that’s the perfect way in for us to sort of explain why there’s this elevation there,’” Robledo said.
In a Friday post on the official Disney Parks Blog, Carmen Smith, senior vice president for creative development, wrote that zydeco music will be used in the ride.
“When you hear it, you’ll feel like you’ve truly stepped into Tiana’s world,” Smith wrote. “Like so many musical genres, zydeco brings together the sounds and styles of many cultures. We wanted that spirit reflected in this scene (and throughout the attraction) so that all our guests feel welcome to join in the celebration.”
New characters are in development for the attraction, and a fresh artist’s concept released by Walt Disney Imagineering spotlights a sextet of bayou creatures forming a band — a raccoon on accordion, a turtle playing harmonica, a rabbit using a license plate as a washboard 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,” Smith wrote.
It has been exciting to create original characters, Robledo said.
“It’s not something we get to do a lot of,” he said.
Voice actors from “The Princess and the Frog,” including Anika Noni Rose as Princess Tiana, will be used in the revamped attraction.
Splash Mountain debuted at Magic Kingdom in 1992. Its storyline is based on characters from Disney’s 1946 film “Song of the South,” which takes place in post-Civil War times and has been criticized for its portrayal of Blacks. Splash Mountain’s characters come from animated sequences of the movie.
At Disney World, the attraction has included animatronics for Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Bear, cavern scenes, singing bullfrogs, vultures and a dramatic drop that gives Splash Mountain its name. The attraction’s finale features additional characters, a riverboat and the Oscar-winning song “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.”
Disneyland’s Splash Mountain opened in California in 1989, and it also will be turned into a Tiana attraction. Its close-down timeline has not been announced.”
We can’t wait to see the end product – roll on January!