Disney reveals new Splash Mountain revamp details with Princess and the Frog storyline
Disney is one hop closer to re-theming its beloved Splash Mountain ride to the classic 2009 animated movie The Princess and the Frog — the plot for which will continue when the reimagined attraction opens at both Disneyland and Disney World in the future.
The company's Parks division revealed Monday a new piece of concept art and story details for the planned ride revamp, teasing a new journey set to unfold after the film's final kiss scene. Along the ride, guests will follow Tiana (voiced by Anika Noni Rose in the film) while she plots a one-of-a-kind Mardi Gras celebration with Naveen (Bruno Campos) and Louis (Michael-Leon Wooley) in tow.
Riders will float along colorful canals as original music inspired by the movie soundtracks the adventure, with Tiana — who's also set to star in her own Disney+ TV series — leading the path to the party that's filled with both familiar faces from the film and new characters.
In celebration of the announcement, Disney unveiled a video featuring a key group of minds involved in the ride's planning gathering at Dooky Chase's Restaurant in New Orleans, a locational inspiration for the film. The clip united Disney's Carmen Smith (Creative Executive, Vice President, Inclusive Strategies for Walt Disney Imagineering), Charita Carter (Senior Producer for Walt Disney Imagineering), and Marlon West (Visual Effects Supervisory for Walt Disney Animation Studios) with Stella Chase Reese, the daughter of Leah Chase, whom Disney modeled Tiana after.
In a conversation moderated by ABC's Kenneth Moton, the group discussed how they incorporated the culture of New Orleans into the ride's look and feel, from sounds to visuals. Disney Imagineering also commissioned four paintings from New Orleans artist Sharika Mahdi to use as key elements during the conceptual phase.
In June 2020, Disney Parks first announced plans to overhaul the Splash Mountain log flume ride, which opened its first version at California's Disneyland in 1989. Subsequent iterations later opened at Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland in 1992. All three installments of the ride drew theming elements from 1946's Song of the South, a film that had long been accused of perpetuating racist stereotypes.
Disney also recently refurbished its long-running Jungle Cruise attraction at Disneyland to remove "negative depictions" of native peoples.
Monday's developments about changes coming to Splash Mountain lands at the top of World Princess Week, which celebrates iconic women characters among the Disney franchise. More World Princess Week events are slated to roll out in the days ahead, including the opening of a Princess Tiana-themed playground at Epcot.
Opening dates for the reimagined Splash Mountain rides at Disneyland and Disney World have yet to be announced.
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