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How Disneyland And Disney World Are Quietly Prepping To Remove Splash Mountain From The Park

Disneyland's Critter Country with Splash Mountain
(Image credit: Disneyland Resort)

Back in 2020, Disney revealed plans to give its popular Splash Mountain attraction a complete re-theme, replacing the Song of the South story with one that would act as a sort of sequel to The Princess and the Frog. Nearly two years have now passed since the announcement, and thus far neither ride has closed for this update and no timeline has been presented letting us know when it is expected to happen. And yet, some steps toward this eventual change have certainly been taken.

While Splash Mountain has remained largely untouched, and has even gone down for regular maintenance to its existing design, other parts of both Disneyland and Walt Disney World that are connected to Song of the South and Splash Mountain have seen updates involving them being removed from the resorts. 

Tiana and Naveen in The Princess and the Frog.

(Image credit: Disney)

Disney Announces Splash Mountain Update… Eventually 

It was in June of 2020 when a grassroots campaign sprung up online asking that Disney not only change Splash Mountain, but that the company specifically replace it with The Princess and the Frog. While things like online petitions rarely translate into actual action, that’s exactly what happened here. Only a couple of weeks later, Disney announced that it was planning to make exactly such a change to the ride. 

Disney stated originally that it was not the fan outcry that caused the redesign, but that Walt Disney Imagineering had actually already been planning such an update to Splash Mountain. That may even be true, but what seems clear is that the announcement of the change was brought on due to the fan outcry. Usually when ride changes like this are announced, the actual changes don’t take two years before they even get started. 

Disneyland Esplanade

(Image credit: CinemaBlend)

Songs Removed From Music Loops 

It may have been June of 2020 when Disney announced that Splash Mountain would be re-themed, but Disneyland Resort wasted little time in beginning the transition, as it was only two months later that the first noticeable change took place. 

Back in August of 2020, long before the Disneyland Resort theme parks were open to guests following the pandemic closure, it was noted that “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” the well known song from Splash Mountain, as well as the film the ride was based on, had been removed from background music loops at Downtown Disney.  The song is still part of the music loop at the entrance to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, but nobody will be too surprised to see it disappear eventually.  

Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire

(Image credit: Walt Disney World)

Song Removed From Magic Kingdom Welcome Show 

Walt Disney World opened the gates of its theme parks long before Disneyland Resort did, which means the first noticeable change inside the parks happened there. Once again, the particular change was the same Song of the South tune that disappeared at Disneyland.

The “Let the Magic Begin” rope drop show that had taken place at Magic Kingdom prior to the closure opened in a modified format when the park returned to operation. While there was obviously a lot that changed because of that, one of the things that didn’t need to change, the outro music played over speakers, no longer contained the song. When the full show returned as part of the 50th anniversary celebration, the music was still MIA.

Br'er Rabbit statue at Magic Kingdom

(Image credit: Cinemablend)

Brer Rabbit Statue Taken Down 

While “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” is the most well known song from Splash Mountain, Br’er Rabbit is the most recognizable character, as he’s the one we follow through the events of the story. But until last year, Splash Mountain wasn’t the only place Br’er Rabbit could be found. There was also a small statue of the character found in the hub area of Magic Kingdom, but since September of 2021, that statue has been gone

The ultimate reason for seeing the statue’s removal probably wasn’t directly connected to Splash Mountain. Br’er Rabbit disappeared just as a series of 50 different character statues were being placed all over Walt Disney World for their ongoing 50th anniversary. Br’er Rabbit was likely just in the way. Having said that, it’s highly unlikely the statue will return when the current celebration is over.

Mickey Mouse at magic Kingdom

(Image credit: Walt Disney World)

Zip-A-Dee-Doh-Dah Taken Out Of Parade 

The most recent change at Walt Disney World that takes Splash Mountain and Song of the South out of the parks comes as part of the Festival of Fantasy Parade. The daytime parade only recently returned to Magic Kingdom after being MIA due to the pandemic. However, the new parade isn’t exactly like the old one.

The parade is actually different in a number of small ways, but one of those changes, as reported by ITM, is that the song “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” used to be played at one point near the end of the parade. The music has now been changed and the Song of the South tune no longer plays.  

New Splash Mountain concept art

(Image credit: Disney Parks)

When Is The Princess And The Frog Coming To Splash Mountain? 

At this point, we have no real idea what the actual plan is for the revamped Splash Mountain. In addition to all of the small changes in other parts of the park, we have seen new concept art, and Disney has released videos that include conversations about what the story of the ride will be. It does seem clear that this plan is still moving forward

Some fans thought the change would be coming very soon when it was revealed Splash Mountain at Disneyland would be undergoing refurbishment earlier this year. However, that turned out to be nothing more than the standard repair that an over 30-year-old attraction needs to go through now and then. 

Right now, both Disneyland and Walt Disney World have significant construction efforts already under way. Disneyland’s Mickey’s Toontown just closed down entirely for a major renovation that will last until some time in early 2023. Downtown Disney is also seeing significant construction. Walt Disney World is still in the middle of a major update to Epcot, and while things will likely be much better once the Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind roller coaster opens in a couple months, there’s still an entire second attraction, Moana: Journey of Water, left to build. 

As such, it could be another year or more at the absolute minimum before either Splash Mountain attraction undergoes its transformation. Considering the massive scope of Splash Mountain, it will likely take quite some time even once the work begins before guests will actually be able to experience this new version of the attraction.

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.