One of the biggest surprises we've gotten over the past few months was the announcement last month that Disney was planning to retheme Splash Mountain, transforming it into a new log flume ride featuring characters from The Princess and the Frog. According to Disney this plan has been in the works for over a year and will allow guests to float along as Princess Tiana and Louis go on a musical adventure – featuring some of the iconic songs from the film – as they prepare for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance.
Original dialogue and music will be also be recorded, and the original voice of Princess Tiana, Tony Award-winning actress, Anika Noni Rose, has been confirmed to be reprising her role.
Opinions are divided as to whether or not this will be a positive change, but now that the Magic Kingdom is open, guests have been flocking to Splash Mountain in droves to experience this attraction in its current form. In addition, many have been lining up for hours to get in to the Splash Mountain merchandise shop to purchase attire, toys, and collectibles related to this attraction. Some have even been filling bag after bag with duplicate items, presumably so they can sell them online.
And while it looks like the announcement of the imminent re-theme of Splash Mountain have instigated some interesting behavior from park-goers, are these extreme reactions really necessary?
It will probably be at least a year before Splash Mountain closes in its current form
Though Disney says that work will begin behind the scenes on this project immediately as far as construction goes they are still evaluating project timelines based on the evolving situation due to COVID-19.And behind the scenes, many have hinted that Disney is in a massive budget crunch, which is why so many construction projects are around the resort are being cancelled, downsized or delayed. Even the Tron roller coaster, which is currently sitting half built in Tomorrowland, is not being worked on, with Disney saying work on this much-anticipated project will be picked back up in "phases".
With that in mind, we feel like we can comfortably say there is no way that Splash Mountain will close in 2020, and perhaps not even in 2021. It is going to take a lot of time for guest levels to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic (some are saying we might not see 2019 guest levels again until 2024!), and in that time revenue will be depressed, and Disney will likely be trying to finish up other construction projects before sinking money into something new while guest levels are still low.
So while guests are running towards Splash Mountain in these early days of reopening for their "last ride" and to get their hands on as much merchandise as possible, it is important to remember that this ride does not have a closing date just yet, and will likely be sticking around until 2021 or perhaps even longer!