Why is Disney closing Splash Mountain?

Why is Disney closing Splash Mountain?
Splash Mountain, which opened at Magic Kingdom back in 1992, is set in a southern bayou (Getty Images, Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

FRONTIERLAND, FLORIDA: Disneyland's Splash Mountain will stop operations on Sunday, January 22, and is set to be transformed into Tiana's Bayou Adventure. The closing date for the Magic Kingdom attraction, however, has not been disclosed. Splash Mountain, which opened at Magic Kingdom back in 1992, is set in a southern bayou. People visit the spot to go on a boat ride through different scenes featuring animatronics of characters named Br'er Bear, Br'er Fox, and Br'er Rabbit. It also features a 50-foot drop into the 'Briar Patch'.

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The characters portrayed in Splash Mountain are tied to 'Song of the South', a controversial 1946 film. Over the years, the film received sharp criticism for its racist stereotypes, and also for the way it portrayed plantation life. "I've felt, as long as I've been CEO, that 'Song of the South' was — even with a disclaimer — was just not appropriate in today's world," Disney CEO Bob Iger said during a March 2020 shareholders meeting.

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Why is Disney closing Splash Mountain?

Disney announced back in 2020 that it was going to retheme Splash Mountain. The plan was to transform it into an attraction based on 'The Princess and the Frog', featuring the first BLACK princess of Disney. 

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The Old South of Splash Mountain will now be transformed into 1920s New Orleans by Walt Disney Imagineers. The story will reportedly pick up a year after the events of the animated film. Tiana, after setting up her own restaurant, has made an employee-owned co-op called 'Tiana's Foods'. The co-op, built into the mountain, will be reimagined as a salt dome for the new ride. 

Visitors will also be welcomed by music and animatronic critters at Tiana's Bayou Adventure, including an otter, rabbit, beaver, and raccoon. The ride will feature its own signature drop too, according to Spectrum News. Tiana's Bayou Adventure will reportedly open at both Disney World and Disneyland in 2024.

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