Splash Zone

Disney makes a splash with new ‘Princess and the Frog’ Splash Mountain overhaul

via Disney

Fans eager to return to Disney parks following the COVID-19 pandemic have yet another reason to get excited: Imagineers have unveiled the new The Princess and the Frog retrofit of the beloved ride Splash Mountain.

Entertainment Weekly reports the new ride design will integrate elements of New Orleans–the setting of the film–into the existing ride, as well as a whole new plot. Now riders will follow Princess Tiana from the film (played by Anika Noni Rose) leading a group through a swamp to a massive party.

Disney commissioned the overhaul following a bit of soul-searching last summer. The original Splash Mountain attraction borrowed from the Disney film Song of the South–a movie now considered so racially insensitive, the company has pulled it from circulation. With the #BlackLivesMatter protests in full force, Disney announced the ride overhaul in Summer 2020.

The new designs, however, as inspired by the work of New Orleans artist Sharika Mahdi, attracted division on social media. Users on Twitter both praised the new concept, and used it as ammunition to further attack Disney and its company policies.

“This is going to be amazing, I love the scenes in the movie with all the fireflies and going through the water. The only thing I’m unsure of is that second image. It doesn’t look the the Princess and the Frog, it looks like Candyland,” said user @HayzNicole.

“I understand why they want to distance themselves from Song of the South, but this is still a mistake in my opinion. Princess and the Frog is a European story with a black woman subbed in as the princess. Br’er Rabbit and co are oral traditions kept alive by slaves for centuries,” user @BlamKaboom wrote. 

“I might care if Disney didn’t cost way more than the visit was worth. Disney isn’t magical, that’s for sure. Last trip, took 3 hours to find a Princess for my daughter, but actress was going on break soon and escorts wouldn’t even let us within 20 feet of the lady,” griped @Vyvian07.

“This is SO COOL! The Princess & the Frog is my favorite Disney movie. Great story line & I love The Big Easy (New Orleans). This is a perfect ride to have converted. The area where the movie is based is swamp central,” gushed @DianaDee16.

Sources say Splash Mountain will be losing the majority of its [animatronics] with the Princess and the Frog reimagining because Disney isn’t willing to spend even close to the amount of money necessary to properly overhaul the attraction,” lamented @SirBrayden.

“What a surprise! It’s just going to be a cheap overlay that removes most of the ride? What! Could’ve never guessed the modern Disney Co. would do that,” raged @JeffingTatum.

Splash Mountain attractions at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World will undergo the refurbishment into the Princess and the Frog theming. Disney has yet to announce an opening for either attraction.