It was in June of 2020 that fan voices began to get loud enough for anybody to hear. There was a call to retheme the iconic Splash Mountain at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. But the people making the push didn't simply focus on the problem, they brought a solution. Disney's The Princess and the Frog was suggested as the replacement theme, and the idea got a lot of traction. And it must have been a good idea, because it wasn't long before Disney Parks announced it would be making just that change, claiming the work had been started even before fans petitions were created. And yet, it sounds like we could still be waiting a very long time before we actually see the new attraction.
Melissa Valiquette, the vice president of Magic Kingdom, the home of Splash Mountain at Disney World, recently appeared on the Theme Park Rangers (opens in new tab) podcast, and was asked about the future of Splash Mountain. While she confirmed that work is being done on the redesign, to remove the Song of the South theme and replace it with The Princess and the Frog, she also made it clear that no big changes will be happening anytime soon. According to Valiquette...
Certainly, nobody is expecting Splash Mountain to change overnight, but it has been more than a year since the announcement that the change would happen, and if Disney really had been working on the change already, then they should be even further along in the process. At the same time, there are a couple of good reasons why Splash Mountain's redesign probably isn't happening any time soon.
The first reason is that, while it might be true that Disney didn't decide to make the Splash Mountain change due to public pressure, that doesn't mean that the announcement of the change wasn't made due to the same pressure. The announcement may have come much earlier than it otherwise would have, because of the calls from fans, and thus we're seeing a longer than usual gap between the announcement and any actual change because things simply weren't ready yet.
The second reason is that, in the case of Walt Disney World, it's in the middle of getting ready for a massive 50th anniversary celebration. That sort of planning takes time and manpower that can't be focused elsewhere. In addition, the 50th anniversary is set to last for 18 months, and it seems unlikely Disney World will want one of its popular attractions down during an event that will likely bring big crowds. If they really do wait until the anniversary party is over then we could be looking at nearly two more years before construction begins, nevermind when it's done.
Although, that doesn't mean we won't see the Princess and the Frog version of Splash Mountain sooner. It's possible work could start at Disneyland first and then shift over to Walt Disney World later. Since that park isn't having a major anniversary party, it would be easier for it to see a marquee attraction go down right now.
While people excited to see the new version of the ride may have to wait, there are many who have nostalgic feelings for the original ride, and I suppose this means they'll have more chances to ride it before it does away.
CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.
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