Magic Kingdom Vice President Melissa Valiquette recently appeared on the Orlando Sentinel’s Theme Park Rangers podcast to discuss a variety of topics. One such topic was the reimagining of Splash Mountain into a Princess and the Frog-themed attraction. The reimagining was initially announced June 25, 2020 during the COVID-19 closures.
Splash Mountain was determined by Disney to no longer have a place in their theme parks after the formation of a Diversity & Inclusion board at The Walt Disney Company. Splash Mountain is based off of a film, Song of the South, that Disney has refused to release on home video or Disney+ because it is “not appropriate in today’s world”, according to Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger.
After more than a year, no visible work has taken place at Splash Mountain, and the attraction remains open to guests.
Valiquette acknowledged the lack of visible progress, noting that “it will take some time” for guests to see progress. She went on to say that she is in a lot of meetings right now surrounding the change. Valiquette seemed to hint that Splash Mountain will remain open for some time, saying that “the sequence of these things is that sometimes decisions can be made many many months, even years before any of that will be seen on stage, so it’s going to take us a little bit of time to reimagine Splash mountain. I can tell you behind the scenes that terrific work has been done including some selections around music around animatronics… and it is really an inspiring story.”
Valiquette said that she was impressed with the progress that Imagineers have made, especially when presented with challenges of COVID-19 such as not being able to travel.
“[Imagineers] have created something that, I believe, will capitalize on what was already special about the ride Splash Mountain, but will turn it into something that our guests will really cherish for generations into the future. And I think this is one example of something where our guests are going to have to put a bit of trust into us, for a bit, because we promise not to let you down, we’re going to deliver a wonderful attraction that is inspiring and beautiful and worthy of Princess Tiana.”
She went on to say that the Frontierland area has “so much potential to fit this storyline beautifully. I think it’s going to be a perfect addition back there.”
While no timeline for a closure was given, it doesn’t sound like it will be imminent.
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