Disney announced more than two years ago that the classic Splash Mountain at both U.S. theme parks would be re-themed into a Princess and the Frog ride that will be called Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. We know the current attractions will have to close for construction soon, but while we wait, let’s take one more trip into the briar patch of our memories.
Splash Mountain has been part of my life since the idea was conceived. I watched its construction at Disneyland from both the park and backstage, where my high-school marching band circled it on our way to and from the parade route. I remember my first time in 1989 hurtling down Chickapin Hill, better than any log ride I’d been on.
Disneyland’s Splash Mountain has six seats in a single file line; Disney World’s version has eight seats in a side-by-side configuration. Disneyland’s Splash Mountain recycled many animatronics from the shuttered America Sings attraction in Tomorrowland.
My family has made some great memories on Splash Mountain over the years. The Disneyland logs were the perfect size for our family of six. I managed to time it just right one night in the Magic Kingdom and we were on the ride, floating in and out during the Wishes fireworks. I’ve been every level of splashed over the years.
On one school trip, my son’s friend asked someone to prom on the ride. She didn’t know about it until they checked the ride photo.
I knew our Disneyland visit in June would likely be my last ride on the original version. Splash Mountain wanted to give us a memorable sendoff. My two youngest wimped out and didn’t want the front of the log. We ignore all conventional wisdom and had the three heaviest people in the front half of the log. We were absolutely drenched from the small drops well before the big hill at the end. I have never in 33 years been that wet on Splash Mountain! It lived up to its name.
Now Tiana and friends are kicking out the critters and having their own adventure. Disney has revealed some details about the new Tiana’s Bayou Adventure and that its story picks up after the movie ends.
From the model at the recent D23 Expo, we know the iconic tree trunk at the top will be truncated and a more hill-like structure implied. Splash Mountain in the Magic Kingdom will remain in Frontierland for now, but Disneyland’s New Orleans Square will expand to cover this area.
Here’s the display at D23 Expo, for those who missed it:
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Some of my questions: How long will Disney have to close the train (that runs through the ride in both parks) after recent long-term closures? Will they repurpose the animatronics again? What will the big drop at the end represent in this storyline?
I will miss splashing down, but I’m excited to see what adventures the Imagineers have in store for all of us.
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