When Disney announced in June 2020 that the popular attraction Splash Mountain would be closed and rethemed into a new attraction inspired by Disney’s film, The Princess and the Frog, we couldn’t wait to see what the Imagineers had in store.
Just what would this historic retheme look like, and how would Disney keep the aspects of what so many guests have loved about Splash Mountain over the years? Disney is keeping the details hush-hush, but now we know who is spearheading the project and more details about the updates — thanks to a new interview with one of the Imagineers behind the attraction’s update!
Disney made history when The Princess and the Frog debuted and the world met Tiana, the first Black Disney princess. And just like Tiana had a dream in the film, Imagineer Charita Carter had a dream, too. In a recent interview with Essence, Carter opened up about her long love of Disney and what that means for Splash Mountain.
Growing up just 150 miles away from Disneyland, Carter would watch The Wonderful World of Disney and dream about walking through the roads of Main Street, U.S.A. for herself. She visited Disneyland “every once in a while” with her family but never imagined where she would end up today.
Now the Executive Producer of Relevancy Activations for Walt Disney Imagineering, Carter is spearheading the reimagination of Splash Mountain — something that she’s now comfortable with, but after working as an accountant for most of her life, the creative side of Imagineering pushed her out of her comfort zone and into a whole new world.
Carter got the call to be the producer and the team leader for The Princess and the Frog retheme, and the rest is history. According to Carter, the team behind the retheme is “building upon what was done with the animated film” and they have been working with New Orleans community members to make sure they get the spirit of the city right.
Unfortunately, Carter didn’t share any details about exactly when Splash Mountain will close in both Disney World and Disneyland for the renovations. However, during the Essence Festival of Culture this year, we learned that the new name for this updated ride is going to be Tiana’s Bayou Adventure!
Disney has also shared more about Tiana’s new look for the ride. Costume designer Ida Muldrow from Disney Live Entertainment along with other members of the team talked about their approach to designing Tiana’s new look. Since the story takes place in the 1920s, they looked at the trends of the time. They wanted to make sure her look was historically accurate, while still being authentic to her character.
They also worked on developing a unique hairstyle for Tiana. According to Disney, “the team placed emphasis on the versatility of Black women’s hair and its significance to our identity across geographies and generations.”
In June of 2022, Anika Noni Rose (the actress who voiced Tiana) gave an unexpected update on this ride refurbishment! During the interview, Rose said, “They are making a ride — it’ll be out in 2024.” During the Essence Festival, Disney confirmed that the updated ride will open in late 2024! We still don’t have confirmation on when the rides will close in Disney World and Disneyland, though.
Disney has shared that we can expect a one-of-a-kind Mardi Gras celebration where all are welcome! Not only that, but we will get to meet NEW characters along the way as well.
The Princess and the Frog retheme isn’t the only new attraction coming to the parks! Over in Magic Kingdom, we recently saw TRON Lightcycle Run with the lights on at night for the first time, and you can check out those photos here!
And in EPCOT, Journey of Water — Inspired by Moana is under construction. This attraction promises to be an immersive, water-based, walk-through experience like we’ve never seen.
What’s your favorite Disney ride? Let us know in the comments!