Splash Mountain replaced by ‘Princess and the Frog’ ride and restaurant in 2024

In this film publicity image released by Disney, Princess Tiana, voiced by Anika Noni Rose, right, is shown with frog Prince Naveen, voiced by Bruno Campos, in a scene from the animated film, “The Princess and the Frog.” (AP Photo/Disney)

After serving Disney-goers for three decades, Splash Mountain has officially closed its doors. This iconic attraction, which has been a beloved staple of Disney theme parks, is making way for something fresh and exciting. In its place, Disney is ushering in a new era with the “Princess and the Frog” ride and an accompanying restaurant, both set to be completed in 2024.

The new ride, aptly named “Tiana’s Bayou Adventure,” is set to be a thrilling journey through the world of Princess Tiana, continuing the enchanting narrative of the hit animated film. Riders can expect to be serenaded by the soulful sounds of New Orleans-style music as they traverse the bayou.

Carmen Smith, Senior Vice President over Creative Development and Inclusive Strategies for Walt Disney Imagineering, shared the excitement about the upcoming attraction: “In Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, you’ll join Princess Tiana and jazz-loving alligator Louis during Mardi Gras season as they prepare to host a one-of-a-kind celebration for the people of New Orleans,” as stated on the Disney Parks website.

Tiana's Bayou Adventure Concept Art on the left 'Princess and the Frog'| Credit: Disney; and Tiana Character on the right

This transformative change at Splash Mountain is a result of Disney’s desire to move away from its association with the controversial 1964 film “Song of the South,” which has faced widespread criticism for its portrayal of race relations in the post-Civil War South, as reported by Forbes. Disney saw this as a golden opportunity to shine a spotlight on its first Black princess, Tiana, and her enchanting world, leading to the creation of the “Princess and the Frog” ride.

But that’s not all that Disney enthusiasts have to look forward to. Alongside the thrilling new ride, a brand-new dining experience will emerge. The current eatery known as The French Marketplace will be transformed into Tiana’s Palace, offering visitors a quick-service restaurant brimming with the delectable flavors of New Orleans cuisine.

While the exact opening dates for both the ride and restaurant remain shrouded in mystery, one thing is certain: Disney fans across the globe are eagerly anticipating their arrival in 2024. The closure of Splash Mountain marks the end of an era, but it also signifies the beginning of a vibrant new chapter in the magical world of Disney theme parks.

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