Splash Mountain, the Disneyland flume ride which has been criticized for racist and stereotyping related to its roots in the 1946 Disney film Song of the South, will officially close at the end of the day today to begin its renovation into an attraction based on the more modern film The Princess and the Frog. Walt Disney World closed its version of the ride in January.
According to Disneyland officials, the renovation project is expected to last more than a year. The re-imagined ride, which will be called Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, is scheduled to open in late 2024. When the attraction closed in Orlando earlier this year, Splash Mountain saw a record wait time of 220 minutes on its final day. It looks like there is a similar turnout at Disneyland today, with some reporting a 200-minute wait by 2 p.m.
Disney officials announced in 2020 that the ride would be renovated and themed after the 2009 film The Princess and the Frog, which introduced Disney’s first Black princess, Tiana. The move followed rising criticism of the original attraction that increased during nationwide protests against police brutality and in support of racial equality.
Song of the South long has been criticized for its depiction of African Americans and romanticizing the Antebellum South. Disney has kept the film locked away in its archives and never has released it on video.
A spokesman for the Disneyland Resort said in 2020 that “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…Tiana is a modern, courageous and empowered woman, who pursues her dreams and never loses sight of what’s really important.”
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will also be featured at the Disney World version of the ride in Florida.
Actress Anika Noni Rose, who voiced Tiana in the movie, will lend her voice to the revamped ride, as will actress Jenifer Lewis, who voiced Mama Odie. Also reprising their roles for the ride will be Bruno Campos as Prince Naveen and Michael Leon Wooley as Louis.
City News Service contributed to this report.