The new attraction is replacing Splash Mountain at both Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California
Almost four years after Disney announced it would be closing Splash Mountain, the company confirmed that the new Princess and the Frog-inspired attraction will be opening in summer 2024.
Tiana's Bayou Adventure will make its debut at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, before launching at Disneyland Park in California "later in 2024." The news was revealed on Tuesday to celebrate the Mardi Gras season.
The news came alongside new images and video of the previously unseen Tiana animatronics that will be a key part of the ride experience, below.
"Can you believe we are 'almost there' and closer than ever to opening Tiana’s Bayou Adventure this summer here in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort?" Sarah Riles, Vice President at Magic Kingdom Park, said of the upcoming attraction.
"With Mardi Gras season underway and construction milestones flying by, our cast members and I are so excited to see the magic of Tiana come to life like never before!" Riles added.
Fans have been tracking the transformation of the iconic Splash Mountain structure since construction began, Including the removal of the tree stump on top, which could be seen across the park and was a symbol of Frontierland. Recent additions include a new water tower that fits into Tiana's story.
Disney previously revealed the basic structure of the ride — a boat ride with a big drop at the end — will remain the same, but the ride would be "rethemed" with new characters, music and and of course a fresh story.
A description of the ride on Disney's official website reads, "Join Princess Tiana and jazz-loving alligator Louis on their journey through a shimmering bayou as they prepare for a spirited celebration during Mardi Gras season.
"Along the way, you’ll see familiar faces and make new friends as you’re brought into the next chapter of Tiana’s inspiring story," it adds.
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In 2020, it was announced that Disney would reimagine Splash Mountain, which is based on the controversial 1946 Disney film Song of the South, a work long criticized for its portrayal of the post-Civil War South and for utilizing racist tropes. The ride first opened in Disneyland back in 1989.
Days before Splash Mountain's final drop on May 31, a group of creative minds behind the new project were asked whether they'd been feeling the "pressure" to build a replacement for the beloved attraction. Disney SVP of Parks, Experiences and Projects, Carmen Smith, responded with, “Every day."
“I grew up with [Splash Mountain] too,” Disney Executive Creative Director Ted Robledo added. “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.’”
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