Splash Mountain as we know it at Walt Disney World and Disneyland is about to change in a big way. After the attraction was at the center of some public outcry due to its connection to Song of the South and the film’s depiction of race, Disney has announced they will retheme the ride to a Princess and the Frog attraction.
Disney stated that they have been working on this reimagining since last year (before the recent criticism), citing their desire to continually “plus” attractions for their guests. Details are limited, but Disney did provide a summary and some interesting concept art.
The decision to overhaul Splash Mountain will be a polarizing one in the Disney community. While it’s awesome to see Princess and the Frog represented in a larger way, Disney purists may be unhappy to see an iconic attraction changed. This same criticism emerged when Disney changed its Pirates of the Caribbean attraction to modify the auction scene following public backlash.
At the same time, Splash Mountain will always be linked to Song of the South even if the ride doesn’t directly include the worst themes. That connection is enough to question why it took this long for Disney to take action, even if the ride has memorable songs and great animatronics.
Retheming Splash Mountain to a Princess and the Frog offering raises a lot of questions beyond the divide in public opinion. How will Princess and the Frog themeing fit into Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom? Will the ride still feature animatronics or fall back on screens? When will this change take place?
Disney promises to offer additional information in the near future.