Splash Mountain, one of Disney’s most popular yet problematic rides, will be reimagined to star the characters from ‘The Princess and the Frog’.
The Princess and the Frog is finally getting the recognition it deserves! Disney Parks announced on June 25 that Splash Mountain, one of its mainstay attractions, will be rethemed to star Princess Tiana and the characters from the 2009 animated film. The fan-favorite log flume ride, which is loosely based on the controversial 1946 movie Song of the South, is getting a new look at both Disneyland in California and the Magic Kingdom in Florida. “Tiana is a modern, courageous, and empowered woman, who pursues her dreams and never loses sight of what’s really important,” Disney said in a press release about retheming the ride around their first Black princess.
“The retheming of Splash Mountain is of particular importance today. 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.” The move comes amid Black Lives Matter protests sweeping the nation, and several petitions on Change.org urging the company to reimagine the theme of its ride, which has been a mainstay since 1989. The controversial film which the ride takes inspiration from has long been criticized for its racial stereotypes and problematic portrayal of the post-Civil War South. The movie was deemed so insensitive that Disney has kept it locked away for decades, and didn’t make it available on its new streaming service, Disney+.
The ride’s new storyline will pick up “after the final kiss, and join Princess Tiana and Louis on a musical adventure – featuring some of the powerful music from the film – as they prepare for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance,” according to Disney. Anika Noni Rose, who voiced Princess Tiana in the 2009 flick took to Instagram to voice her excitement about the change. “It is really exciting to know that Princess Tiana’s presence in both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom will finally be fully realized,” she wrote. “As passionate as I am about what we created, I know the fans are going to be over the moon. The Imagineers are giving us the Princess & The Frog Mardi Gras celebration we’ve been waiting for, and I’m here for it.”
Disney did not reveal when the new Splash Mountain will be open, but said that conceptual design was underway. “Imagineers will soon be able to conduct preliminary reviews and develop a timeline for when the attraction transformation can begin,” the company said.