Disney Unveils Model of Ride that Will Replace Splash Mountain in 2024 — and a Familiar Feature is Gone

·4 min read
Model of New Ride Based on Disney's Princess and the Frog Revealed at D23 Expo
Model of New Ride Based on Disney's Princess and the Frog Revealed at D23 Expo

Paul Morse

Disney fans finally got a first look at "Tiana's Bayou Adventure," the ride that will replace Splash Mountain.

A large model of the Princess and the Frog-themed attraction is on display at the Disney Parks and Experiences Wonderful World of Dreams pavilion at the D23 Expo, which kicks off today in Anaheim, California.

The ride is coming to both Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida in late 2024. Alongside Princess Tiana, Naveen and jazz-loving alligator Louis, guests will travel through the bayou as they prepare to host a one-of-a-kind Mardi Gras celebration and listen to joyous music inspired by songs from the fan-favorite film.

Disney announced in that Splash Mountain would be getting a refresh based on 2009's The Princess and the Frog, which features the company's first Black princess, Tiana, back in 2020.

RELATED: Disney Reveals Splash Mountain Will Be Transformed Into Tiana's Bayou Adventure by 2024

Model of New Ride Based on Disney's Princess and the Frog Revealed at D23 Expo
Model of New Ride Based on Disney's Princess and the Frog Revealed at D23 Expo

Paul Morse

Earlier this summer, Disney shared more details, including the ride's name, inspiration, and general release date at the ESSENCE festival in New Orleans.

As seen in images of the model posted to the Disney Parks blog Friday, the attraction features many similar elements from the original log flume ride, though with a twist that will transport guests down to the Bayou.

A water tower placed on the exterior of the ride reads in big letters "Tiana's Food."

Model of New Ride Based on Disney's Princess and the Frog Revealed at D23 Expo
Model of New Ride Based on Disney's Princess and the Frog Revealed at D23 Expo

Disney

Disney fans quickly spotted one element of the current Splash Mountain that is noticeably absent from the model: its iconic twisted tree stump at the top, a landmark visible from around the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland parks. In its place is a new tree that seems to be in better shape than its forebear.

The unofficial Disney fan blog Walt Disney World News Today points out that an earlier concept sketch for the ride released by Disney showed a boat stuck in the new tree, which is absent from the latest model.

SPLASH MOUNTAIN
SPLASH MOUNTAIN

Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort Splash Mountain

Twitter user Scott Gustin noted that while the model still depicts Br'er Rabbit, a character from Splash Mountain, his image will not appear on the updated ride.

In addition to the ride, the Disney blog post notes Disney is introducing even more ways to explore Tiana's story: A new retail store, Eudora's Chic Boutique Featuring Tiana's Gourmet Secrets, will be opening in the New Orleans Square section of Disneyland September 20.

The shop is named for Tiana's mother in the film, Eudora, who is a dressmaker and will also serve New Orleans-inspired cuisine.

An all-new retail store will be opening in New Orleans Square at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, Calif., on Sept. 20, 2022, called Eudora’s Chic Boutique Featuring Tiana’s Gourmet Secrets. Tiana is collaborating with her talented dressmaker mother, Eudora, to open this fantastic little shop, with accessories to create and serve masterful Orleans-style cuisine and more.
An all-new retail store will be opening in New Orleans Square at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, Calif., on Sept. 20, 2022, called Eudora’s Chic Boutique Featuring Tiana’s Gourmet Secrets. Tiana is collaborating with her talented dressmaker mother, Eudora, to open this fantastic little shop, with accessories to create and serve masterful Orleans-style cuisine and more.

Disney

The 2020 announcement of Splash Mountain's reimagining came weeks after several petitions urging Disney to rework the theme of the popular ride garnered attention on the site Change.org — one titled "Re-theme Splash Mountain to Princess and the Frog" received over 21,384 signatures upon closing.

RELATED: Disney Fans Petition to Change Splash Mountain's Theme to Princess and the Frog — Here's Why

Splash Mountain
Splash Mountain

John Raoux/AP/Shutterstock

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."

Disney noted at the time that a new story for the ride had long been under consideration.

Splash Mountain is based on the controversial Disney film Song of the South, which has long been criticized for its problematic portrayal of the post-Civil War South and for employing racist stereotypes. It is not available to stream on Disney+.

Disney’s Splash Mountain Will Be Reimagined With Princess and the Frog
Disney’s Splash Mountain Will Be Reimagined With Princess and the Frog

Disney Rendering of the reimagined ride

Anika Noni Rose, the Tony Award-winning actress who voiced Princess Tiana, shared her excitement about the news of the ride's re-theming.

"It is really exciting to know that Princess Tiana's presence in both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom will finally be fully realized!" she wrote at the time of the 2020 announcement.  "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 and the Frog Mardi Gras celebration we've been waiting for, and I'm here for it!"