Splash Mountain getting The Princess and the Frog redesign
Disneyland’s Splash Mountain ride has been one of the most iconic and longest-running for both the California and Magic Kingdom parks, but after years of criticism regarding its Song of the South basis, the House of Mouse is giving the water attraction a redesign based on the 2009 hit The Princess and the Frog. (Via DisneyParks Blog)
Originally opened in 1989 in California and 1992 in Florida, the log chute ride was originally modeled after the widely-controversial 1946 live-action/animation hybrid musical Song of the South, which has been criticized for its stereotypical and racist portrayals of African-Americans and has not been released on any home media or streaming platforms in the United States. Though not explicitly crediting it as the reason behind the decision for the update, the global protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death and multiple petitions from fans over the years appears to have finally spurred the company to update the attraction.
“Like Princess Tiana, I believe that courage and love are the key ingredients for wonderful adventures,” Charita Carter, senior creative producer leading the project at Walt Disney Imagineering, said in a statement. “I am delighted to be a part of bringing this fun-filled experience to our guests.”
Though details haven’t been unveiled as to whether the trajectory of the ride itself will be changed, Disney revealed that the story for the attraction will pick up after the film’s final kiss and see fans joining Princess Tiana and Louis on a musical adventure as the prepare for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance. The ride will feature some of the music from the 2009 Oscar-nominated hit and will see the location updated to the backdrop of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou and show continued focus on the “modern, courageous and empowered” heroine.
“It is really exciting to know that Princess Tiana’s presence in both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom will finally be fully realized!” Anika Noni Rose, voice of Tiana, said in a statement. “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!”
Disney’s Imagineers are currently at work to help bring this “inclusive” concept to life and create an experience that “all of our guests can connect with and be inspired by” and has the goal of letting it “speak to the diversity of the millions of people who visit our parks each year.” The creative crew are currently still developing the conceptual designs for the new ride and “will soon be able to conduct preliminary reviews” that will turn into a timeline of when the changes will be made and introduced to fans.
“Voicing Mama Odie was a joyful creative experience,” actress Jenifer Lewis said in a statement. “Recording Mama Odie’s Song, ‘Dig a Little Deeper’ by Randy Newman, must have taken a hundred takes because I wanted it to be perfect. The image of Mama Odie, in the fairy godmother role, truly reflected the New Orleans Black bayou tradition of the revered wise woman. I am thrilled that The Princess and the Frog is being honored for the joy it has brought to millions of Disney fans.“