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Imagineers Didn’t Take the Decison to Change Splash Mountain Lightly

Splash Mountain
Credit: Disney

Splash Mountain is gone. An iconic price of Disney history closed forever. The closure has sparked outrage and celebration amongst its fans in equal measure. Petitions to save it circulated, but were ultimately unsuccessful and debates raged on social media about Disney’s reasoning behind the closure. On Splash Mountain’s final day, the Imagineers who created it took a final ride on their creation. Now the torch has been passed to a new group of Imagineers to create something spectacular in its place.

Related: Imagineers Who Built Spalsh Mountain Gather for One Final Ride

What Will Replace Splash Mountain?

Tiana's Bayou Adventure

Credit: Disney

Princess Tiana is getting ready to move in as the Laughin’ Place becomes the bayou. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will take the place of Splash Mountain. This will be a fun musical trip into the Louisiana swamps. The ride will pick up where the movie left off. As we float through down the river the sounds of zydeco music fills the air. Louis, the jazz-loving gator, explains that the music is being played by a band of critters, including an otter, a rabbit, a racoon, a beaver, a turtle. They are friends of Tiana’s and we are going to have to go on an adventure to find them. The ride will feature a brand new song from New Orleans artists, PJ Morton and Terence Blanchard.

Related: Disney Teams Up With Music Legends For Tiana’s Bayou Adventure 

Deciding to Change Splash Mountain

Splash Mountain

Credit: Jill Bivins

The Imagineers working on the new ride sat down with People Magazine to discuss the ride’s future and revealed that it was an extremely difficult decision to make to closeSplash Mountain. They said they felt the pressure of changing such “an iconic piece of the theme parks” everyday. They went on to say that they listened to all ideas and all opinions and that the nostalgia weighed heavily on the when it came down to decion time.

“I grew up with [Splash Mountain] too,” Disney Executive Creative Director Ted Robledo said. “We know there’s a lot of love there. The team asked ourselves, ‘What do people really love about it?’ We think they love the thrill, the adventure, so we said ‘Okay, that is sacred. We cannot take that away.’”

Why Now? 

Splash mountain princess tiana's bayou adventure disney parks

Credit: Disney

When asked why change the ride now, after it has been in operation for so long they cited a 2019 petition on Change.org. The petition made the rounds on social media and demanded the ride be changed due to the fact that the film was based on Song of the South, a film steeped in controversy. The petition read in part, “Disney parks should be a home for all to enjoy regardless of race, age, whatever your background may be . . . While the ride is considered a beloved classic, its history and storyline are steeped in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes from the 1946 film Song of the South. There is a huge need for diversity in the parks and this could help fill that need.”

Related: Whoopi Goldberg Wants to Bring Back ‘Song of the South’

Imagineers say that petition only played a small role in the decision and that there were talks of replacement long before the social media uproar began. Robledo explained that tinkering with Disney Parks’ attractions is standard practice. “As Walt has said, Disneyland is never finished. I’m paraphrasing, but it’s never done. It’s always changing and we’re trying new things.”

Hints from Imagineers for What’s to Come

Cha ging.spalsh Mountain to Tiana's Bayou Adventure

Credit: Disney

The Imagineers gave us some hints about the new ride that were previously unannounced. We knew that music would play a major role in the new rides storyline. Prince Naveen’s little brother will be playing the drums and fireflies will be twinkling in time. We have also learned that the ride will be a journey to Mardi Gras and that we can expect the fun filled party atmosphere of Fat Tuesday to play a major role in the storyline.

Related: Disney Reveals Even More Information  About Tiana’s Bayou Adventure  Storyline

Authenticity has been very important to the team responsible for the ride. Disney SVP of Parks, Experiences and Projects, Carmen Smith said, “Every project, we always start with arming ourselves with knowledge. It’s so important not to have a transactional relationship [with a place or culture], but to have a [real] relationship.” The team has made several trips to New Orleans to meet with restaurateurs and study the culture.

As for whether there will be any Easter Eggs from Splash Mountain Smith said, “I don’t think we want to give that away just yet…Stay tuned.” We’ll (very hopefully) take that as a yes.

 

 

 

 

About Jill Bivins

Jill Bivins has been visiting Disney Parks since she was 2 years old and loves sharing her Disney adventures with the world. She likes to say Disney is in her blood and writing is in her bones — so any time she has the opportunity to combine these loves she is one happy camper! She has a deep abiding love for Epcot and as a die hard Star Wars fan has a serious love for Hollywood Studios as well. When she isn't exploring or writing about Disney Parks, Jill is homeschooling her 8 year old son, playing with her brand new baby son, or pretending to be a farmer on her family homestead (despite being unable to keep even a cactus alive). Find Jill on Instagram @minnieonmain.