Princess & Frog Splash Mountain Overhaul Opening in 2024
An opening year has been revealed (leaked? announced? I’m not really sure) for the reimagining of Splash Mountain inspired by the Princess and the Frog that’s coming to Disneyland and Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. This post shares new info and recaps past “progress” on the project. Plus, my commentary on whether it’s possible for it to happen on this timeline, when Splash Mountain will likely close, and more.
To quickly recap, Disney announced that Splash Mountain will be rethemed to the Princess and the Frog at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. This announcement was made in June 2020–almost two years ago–and not much was revealed at that time. There was a single piece of concept art, a vague premise of the attraction, and quotes from Imagineers and other involved parties.
The new-look attraction will pick up this story after the final kiss, and join Princess Tiana and Louis on a musical adventure — featuring some of the powerful music from the film — as they prepare for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance. During this celebration, guests will hear original music inspired by songs from the film. Tiana is leading the way and guests will be able to encounter old friends and make new ones along the way as well.
Disney was silent about the project for over a year following the announcement. Then, during an August 2021 appearance on the Orlando Sentinel‘s Theme Park Rangers podcast, Magic Kingdom VP Melissa Valiquette said it could be years before the Splash Mountain reimagining is completed at Magic Kingdom. “The sequence of these things is that sometimes the decision can be made many many months, even years, before any of that will be seen onstage. So it’s going to take us a little bit of time to reimagine Splash Mountain,” she said.
“When we are reimagining a new attraction or a new area of our parks, this can be a lengthy process. There’s a lot of work that goes into it,” Valiquette explained. “I’m in a lot of meetings right now around Splash Mountain, and of course, our guests haven’t seen any changes yet. That’s going to take some time.”
On August 23, 2021, the company shared more details on the Disney Parks Blog. This featured the above new concept art, which shows Naveen and Louis joining Tiana on her latest adventure, hosting a one-of-a-kind Mardi Gras celebration where everyone is welcome.
That update included a ~30 minute roundtable video included numerous individuals, including Charita Carter, Senior Producer for Walt Disney Imagineering. You can watch it in full for yourself below:
During that roundtable, Imagineer Charita Carter stated that Disney will “advance the storytelling and really just kind of change the game” when it comes to the advance Audio Animatronics and scenic visuals utilized in the reimagined ride.
Despite its duration, that was the only tidbit about the actual attraction that came from the roundtable. The rest was about Tiana’s cultural impact, the creative process behind the upcoming attraction, and Imagineers efforts to research New Orleans to tell a story that’s as authentic to the region as it is to the characters’ stories. There wasn’t much substance about the proposed ride.
. @AnikaNoniRose in the photo booth! #KellyandRyan pic.twitter.com/a3CdPpr4Rt
— LIVEKellyRyan (@LiveKellyRyan) June 2, 2022
Fast-forward to today, June 2, 2022. Actress Anika Noni Rose, the voice of Tiana from The Princess and the Frog, appeared on “Live with Kelly and Ryan.”
During that interview, she mentioned that Disney’s Princess and the Frog ride is going to open in 2024. It was unclear whether this would be on both coasts, one version of the attraction, or even something different entirely. Even though this is coming from the actress who played Tiana and almost certainly has some degree of involvement with the project, it should still be taken with a grain of salt until/unless confirmed directly by Disney.
…which brings us to the commentary section of the post, where we’ll speculate wildly about the Princess and the Frog replacement for Splash Mountain.
From the sounds of it, this was an offhand remark rather than a carefully-scripted announcement by Disney PR that was meant to occur in a more “organic” way than the company announcing it directly. That there is no corresponding statement on the Disney Parks Blog or on the company’s social media channels suggests they weren’t prepared for this news to drop today.
I know some of you think Disney’s marketing department is incredibly savvy or manipulative, and that everything is a carefully crafted attempt at viral moments, but that’s not true. Just ask the now-unemployed Geoff Morrell, who leaked the opening date for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind with a now-deleted tweet that tagged a parody account.
Sometimes apparent mistakes are just actual mistakes. Someone said something they weren’t supposed to say–no deeper explanation. The only difference is that you can delete a Tweet, but not a live television appearance. Also, it’s obvious when Disney tries to achieve faux organic virality–this news simply does not have the company’s fingerprints on it.
UPDATE: According to theme park journalist Scott Gustin, Disney has not confirmed the 2024 opening date for the overhaul of Splash Mountain into a Princess and the Frog attraction.
Here’s Disney’s statement: “We have already shared how we are bringing Tiana’s story to life at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. While timing has not been determined, we look forward to sharing more details during Essence Festival of Culture in New Orleans in July.”
This wouldn’t be the first time an actor associated with a Disney project prematurely leaked news–or an element of it. Way back in 2007, Anthony Daniels revealed that Star Tours 2 was coming soon.
It took another 2 years for it to even be announced, and 2 more years after that for it to open. Other leaks have come courtesy of voice actors, and they haven’t always been correct. We’d have another seasonal World of Color by now if that were the case.
This isn’t to cast doubt on the credibility of Anika Noni Rose. To the contrary, she’s undoubtedly involved with the reimagining, and has likely already recorded lines or had other involvement with the project. She didn’t just pull this out of thin air and then share it at random on a national television broadcast.
It wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if, while recording her lines or consulting with Disney on the project, she asked when it would open, and an Imagineer or someone else with the company said something to the effect of, “we’re aiming for 2024.”
That’s probably the most plausible scenario, but that doesn’t make this announcement definitive as to timing for the Walt Disney World or Disneyland version of the attraction. While involved, it’s not as if she’s having daily meetings in Glendale or visiting the prep sites in Anaheim and Orlando.
To that point, is it a realistic timeline for the reimagined Splash Mountain to open by 2024?
Many fans are understandably skeptical, especially given that the cloned TRON Lightcycle Run still isn’t open and that project has been in progress for the better part of 5 years. Nevertheless, I think the reimagined Splash Mountain opening in 2024 is reasonable.
For one thing, the lethargic pace of TRON Lightcycle run is deliberate. At first, Disney moved at a snail’s pace on that to spread CapEx costs out over multiple fiscal years. Then came the closure and uncertainty about travel thereafter, which resulted in a pause and slow restart.
However, if the company wanted that roller coaster finished 2 or even 3 years ago, they could’ve made it happen. They didn’t, so it didn’t. At this point, work has accelerated on TRON Lightcycle Run and the timeline has moved forward. Again, by choice.
The point is that TRON Lightcycle Run is a poor comparison because it’s prolonged timeline was deliberate from the outset, and not a showcase of how slowly construction necessarily occurs at Walt Disney World or Disneyland. (Just look how much faster they hustle when DVC contracts can be sold!)
There are also a slew of recent ride reimaginings that showcase just how quickly Imagineering can move. The best examples here are Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout at Disney California Adventure and Frozen Ever After at EPCOT.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout took less than a year in total, with most of the exterior transformation occurring while Tower of Terror was still operational. Once the Hollywood Tower Hotel went vacant, the Collector took up residence in only 5 months. Without question, that’s the fastest turnaround time for Imagineering in recent memory–and the results were shockingly good.
Converting Maelstrom into Frozen Ever After took a bit more time, but still occurred in under two years. That attraction might be the better comparison, as both are boat rides that will require new staging, the replacement of numerous show scenes, and more. (I’d be curious to hear from accountants about the depreciation rules for new builds v. renovations, as I suspect that comes into play with all of these projects.)
As a much lengthier attraction, reimagining Splash Mountain probably will be a more involved process than those for Mission Breakout or Frozen Ever After. Still, those illustrate what can be accomplished in a couple years or less.
Our expectation with the Princess and the Frog attraction is that a lot of the existing Brer Critter Audio Animatronics will be reused. That makes sense–a lot of those Audio Animatronics themselves are recycled from America Sings at Disneyland and had nothing to do with Splash Mountain’s source material. Going forward, they’ll likely be given new life as part of an “expanded universe” for the Princess and the Frog.
To me, this seems like a savvy move all around. It’ll allow redevelopment costs and budget to be allocated towards other components of the project, potentially shorten the construction timeline, and might blunt some of the fan outrage. Those ‘supporting player’ musical critters are beloved and themselves totally noncontroversial, so that seems like a win all around.
In addition to those, it’s likely that there will be advanced Audio Animatronics and scenic illusions based on the roundtable video above. That instantly calls to mind Na’vi River Journey at Animal Kingdom, which melds Audio Animatronics and practical sets with screens and other effects. Splash Mountain already has dozens of AAs, so it’ll likely avoid all of the pitfalls that make Na’vi River Journey underwhelming in spots.
This is also reminiscent of both Mission Breakout and Frozen Ever After, which use a mix of screens and Audio Animatronics.
All of these things are fabricated and staged off-site, and then installed inside the attraction when the time is right. It’s not like Imagineers have to wait for Splash Mountain to close, and then go inside and start building a bunch of AAs and screens with hammers and chisels (or whatever tools are used for making that stuff–I’m not a scientist). In other words, construction crews don’t need to wait before starting work on the Princess and the Frog ride. That work has already begun.
As for when the attraction closure will begin, my expectation is that one or both Splash Mountains go down in January 2023 during what would normally be the ride’s winter refurbishment. The attraction is currently in rough shape with many broken effects and Audio Animatronics, suggesting that not much was fixed during the last refurbishment. That was probably intentional–a limited refurbishment budget for a ride with a limited shelf life.
However, I don’t think the downtime starts this summer or even during the holiday season. Splash Mountain is too popular of an attraction this time of year, and one that provides very necessary capacity. I wouldn’t expect it to close in Magic Kingdom until after TRON Lightcycle Run opens, and my prediction for that Walt Disney World roller coaster’s debut date remains unchanged.
Given the underlying reasons for the Splash Mountain closure, I would not expect a “long goodbye” or a line of tribute merchandise. However, I do expect an announcement at the D23 Expo (or even before that) that provides a closure date and timeline to indirectly incentivize unofficial farewell trips.
It also remains entirely possible that the Disneyland version closes first. From a logistics perspective, starting there is more convenient and would likely facilitate a smoother and speedier transformation at Walt Disney World. However, I’m not sure if the optics of staggering the projects makes that approach less desirable. (At the very least, I’d expect closure dates to be announced simultaneously.)
Ultimately, it’s hard to say what will happen with the reimagined Splash Mountain (or whatever it ends up being called–my vote is still for “Splash Mountain ~ Voyage of the Log with Princess and the Frog: New Adventures with Princess Tiana!” A ride name can never be too long! 😉 ) or when it’ll occur. Even the leaked/revealed/announced opening year could end up being wrong.
Moreover, everything in the commentary section is entirely speculative and also could end up being very wrong. The only thing I’ll add is that–contrary to some “rumors” that have made the rounds recently–this project is happening. While the scale, scope, and timeline are still subject to change, the reimagining itself is not.
Honestly, I’m hopeful that the 2024 opening year ends up being wrong. Not because I want Splash Mountain to stick around longer or because I enjoy the sight of construction walls. Rather, because the Princess and the Frog and Splash Mountain both deserve something special. Something that isn’t rushed and done on the cheap. Here’s hoping this reimagining gets the creative talent, budget, time, and all other resources it needs to be a huge hit.
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Thoughts on the Splash Mountain reimagining? How much of the current attraction (e.g. random musical critter AAs) are you expecting to appear in the reimagined version? Excited for “Splash Mountain ~ Voyage of the Log with Princess and the Frog: New Adventures with Princess Tiana!“? Expectations regarding the Splash Mountain reimagining timeline? Keep the comments civil, as this is not the place for politically-charged arguing, culture wars, antagonism, personal attacks, or cheap shots. We will be heavy-handed in deleting any comments that cross the line, irrespective of viewpoint. You are not going to change anyone’s mind via the comments section on this blog, nor are you going to change Disney’s priorities. If you wish to shout your outrage into the internet abyss, that’s why Facebook was invented.
Agree with mr nico 100%.
It needs to be referred to as the ruination of Splah Mountain. Would be better to cancel the shortsighted folly and instead build a new land themed to Nawlins and the bayous with an all new attraction and a signature Creole restaurant. That would be so much better, do justice for Tiana and a great American culture, provide more room for guests and not destroy both a great attraction and continuity of theming between lands.
Making the Ruins of Maelstrom was fast? In what universe? Two years to install some crappy overlays? No way. That’s almost as crazy as the absurd excuses about the WDWRR not operating already…
“That’s almost as crazy as the absurd excuses about the WDWRR not operating already”
I’ve been telling you for years now that WDWRR went down when it did for the operational cost-savings. They did it the way they did because it was the cheapest option, regardless of what they might’ve claimed. I’m not sure if that qualifies as an “excuse” but it’s certainly lame!
As for the Frozen Ever After overhaul…they did a lot more than install some overlays. They also converted a lot of space into queue, reworked load/unload, and did some necessary work to the ride system. You can definitely tell it’s a retrofit, but all things considered, I think the end result is pretty good. (Setting aside its location and what it replaced, which is an entirely different conversation from the end result itself.)
“did some necessary work to the ride system”
Not enough people talk about this. The switchover to Frozen gave the supplied the attraction with the kind of Anaheim-level maintenance funding/effort that Operations simply doesn’t get most of the time in Orlando.
Maelstrom was overrated. There, I said it. The people on the ride now are singing, laughing, and having more fun than I ever saw on the old one. l think nostalgia sometimes clouds objectivity, and that’s coming from someone who can be a crotchety old geezer with the best of them!
I have enjoyed every minute of every ride I have taken on Splash Mountain for the last 30 years. I love singing “Zip-a Dee-Doo-Da” with my children and now my grandchildren. The only reason they are considering changing the ride is because of someone’s political agenda. There has been less focus on tearing down statues in recent months, so maybe the plans to ruin Splash Mountain will be scrapped also
Tom, I won’t argue about it being cost saving, but it wasn’t much in the grand scheme of things. Aside from (possibly annual) boiler and operator recertifications, the technology is pretty simple and most repairs needed aside from major overhauls of a locomotive (really rare) are quite minor. The stations required few cast to operate. But the most important part I am disgruntled about (aside from the awesomeness of real steam trains) was that large numbers of people could and did use the train as a quicker (sometimes) way to get across the park by riding station to station. The train helped soak up part of the crowds too, keeping walkways a little more navigable. The parking lot trams, on the other hand…
On the Ruins of Maelstrom, sure they did a little more than scenery but that still wasn’t that much from an engineering or construction standpoint. That it took two years to accomplish is pretty pathetic considering the actual building didn’t change much at all. I spent 3 years working on building two new toll roads north side of Denver totaling about 25 miles, with if I recall 84 bridges and structures, millions and millions (literally) of cubic yards of materials and earthwork embankment and that was mostly completed in that time period. Granted, the new animatronics were a little more advanced but they weren’t great once it FINALLY opened. And a little cheesy, actually. Maybe it’s just because I’m not a 7-year-old girl, but even with a great soundtrack and based on a pretty good movie, it was highly underwhelming and a big disappointment for such a long closure. Agreed that it being in the wrong park totally is a completely different conversation.
But hey, at least there’s a lot we can all find to love about each park!
While I do think DL will move first, maybe WDW will do *anything* to avoid maintaining Splash Mountain properly.
They didn’t even fix moving rocks in the long lift hill in Big Thunder during a longer refurb, so what should we expect these days?
Jim and Len discussed this a few weeks ago on their podcast, and Len mentioned he wouldn’t be surprised if the Florida reimagining was canceled altogether. Of course that was a couple of weeks ago… up to today, there has been no news / concept art of this project in 2 years, as Tom stated above. Len mentioned he has seen no RFPs or permit requests come out of Disney, suggesting (if the refurbishment is still moving forward for WDW), internal approvals have not been made yet.
I think the chances of this starting before January 2023 are pretty slim. We’ll probably start to see permits much later this year.
The fabrication and off-site staging doesn’t need to be permitted.
Good intel, thanks Tom
As a proud ride chicken who avoids drops like the plague, I have other reasons for wanting Disney to take their sweet time on this project (in addition to wanting them to do Tiana right). Tiana is one of my two favorite Disney princesses and I love everything PATF. If this were a new Fantasyland dark ride, I would be counting down the days. I love the IP so much I know I have to ride at least once, but I’m glad to take a few more years before letting the ride anxiety set in. That’s also my one quip about this replacing Splash. The big drop is going to prevent some little kids who are more justifiably afraid of such things than I am from getting to go party with Tiana, although maybe they’ll be too excited to be afraid. Regardless, I am excited for this retheme and hope to talk myself into more drops by the time it opens.
My only counterpoint is that a princess thrill ride is relatively unprecedented (Mine Train doesn’t really count) and is a nice change of pace. This will easily be more popular than a Fantasyland dark ride, exposing more people to Princess and the Frog, Tiana, and (hopefully) more.
I totally understand your concerns, but I was so excited to hope that Dr. Facilier, a truly scary villain, could be integrated to the scary parts of the ride. Like, maybe, if we meet some of his “friends on the other side.” The only other princess ride with a scary part is the Evil Queen’s transformation in Snow’s dark ride, although I think one of my kids as a toddler sure freaked out at Ursula on Little Mermaid!
Sadly, they seem intent on removal of all dark rides or anything hinting at them. Today’s kids don’t seem to need to use their imaginations and are not wowed by anything other than mediocre CGI. Many are passing into adulthood almost illiterate and will never read classic novels or bother watching the older Disney movies.
Disney has shared this information regarding the statement “We have already shared how we are bringing Tiana’s story to life at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. While timing has not been determined, we look forward to sharing more details during Essence Festival of Culture in New Orleans in July”
I know myself enough to know that I have trouble accepting change. Heck, if it were up to me, Mission Breakout would never have happened and, now that I’ve been on it (multiple times), I think I love it even more than the original version! Although I agree with all the others that believe a new space and a new ride would have been better for PATF, I’ll withhold my whining until we see the retheme. It has so much potential to be great! Fingers crossed that it delivers 🙂
Same here with Mission Breakout. With the benefit of hindsight, I think it’s fair to say both that and Maelstrom to Frozen Ever After turned out far better than expected.
This is even higher stakes, so I think the likelihood of it receiving the resources needed for success likewise higher.
I’m just afraid Disney’s going to blandify the crap out of this attraction, the way they’ve been going for the last few decades. The current story of Splash Mountain may seem incidental to the ride mechanics but they’re actually intimately linked. The flume rises and falls along with the narrative beats. Why on earth would we be going over a huge climactic waterfall in this new bland, post-film story? Why on earth should we build to that wonderfully intense moment? Maybe they’ll figure out a way but I strongly suspect Disney will play to the fraidycats and remove any intensity or ominous atmosphere from the ride, and the waterfall won’t organically mesh with the story they’re trying to tell. I hope I’m wrong, but the way they ruined and blandified the storytelling on dca Tower of Terror does not leave me hopeful.
It’s a lazy re-theme. Louis has the same body type as the bear currently in Splash. Princess Tiana won’t really be on the ride except at the beginning. They could likely keep 90% of the ride just with new music and a new storyline and a few new or reskinned animatronics.
I get that it needs to be done but it should really be done right with a Princess Tiana centric theme. As it stands they will have no problem with a 2024 timeline. I’m skeptical this will be much more than adding Jack Sparrow to Pirates.
I understand that skepticism, especially in light of the last few years. I’m more optimistic, if only for one simple reason…
The eyes of the world will be on this attraction. It will be under scrutiny from Disney fans, as well as the mainstream. Not only does it have to live up to the legacy of Splash Mountain, but it needs to deliver as an inclusive experience. If Disney phones this in, they’ll be vilified from all directions. Seeing how that went recently, I think/hope they know better now.
Tom, this reply exactly captures my thoughts. I’ve been excited ever since this project’s announcement, not just because it’s needed on a myriad of levels, but because I feel like even the frequently myopic, current Disney leadership has to know that there is too much at stake here to phone-in a lazy overlay. Just about every extreme position in the public debate will be panting, claws out, eager to shred the final product. I’m hoping Disney deeply understands this and delivers a ride that the haters just can’t hate. I really hope we’re right on this one – I’m such a huge fan of The Princess and the Frog and have been hoping for a worthy representation in the parks since I first saw the film. (Still wishing for a real “Tiana’s Place” jazz and supper club, too!)
Tom, what are your thoughts on how the Princess and the Frog theme will fit into Liberty Square/Frontierland? I totally get how it can connect to New Orleans Square in DL, but seems a bit tougher to maintain land “integrity” based on where Splash Mountain is located in WDW. As I understand the Princess and the Frog, doesn’t it take place after the time period in which Frontierland is supposed to occupy? Or maybe this doesn’t matter anymore to the average guest visiting today, and just matters to nerds like me..
I suspect there will be a lot more connective tissue added for the Disneyland version in New Orleans Square that’s simply missing from the Walt Disney World version. I don’t think it’ll give most guests any pause. Even now, Splash Mountain is quite different from the rest of Frontierland. We just don’t notice it as much since it’s been around for decades.
I know most people think of Frontierland in WDW as Old West but I think it can probably be accurately described as a collection of American-rural settings (Big Thunder-Old West, Splash- Deep South, specifically Georgia, Tom Sawyer Island- Missouri), in which case the Louisiana Bayou makes sense.
I wish Disney was designing a new attraction for Princess and the Frog, and not replacing Splash Mountain, which in my view is one of the best attractions Disney has ever done. I lived in Louisiana for many years, and Disney has not done a good job capturing the food or the spirit of New Orleans, including on its cruise ships. Disney will have to do a much better job if it wants to compete with Universal’s Mardis Gras event. Louisianan’s are going to be very critical of Disney if this attraction does not measure up.
I agree. Splash Mountain should remain unchanged, and Princess and the Frog should be done elsewhere. In Magic Kingdom Tiana turns completely out of place in Frontierland, and in Disneyland, although New Orleans could fit, the remains of Bear Contry, with Pooh would be out of sync. I still have hopes that Splash Mountain and the theming of Brer Rabbit, Bear and Fox REMAIN UNCHANGED. It is the BEST ride Disneyland and Magic Kingdom have. Period. You don’t mess with something that has major crowds, it would be insane.
I don’t know why Disney would waste the money to re-theme Splash Mountain, especially in Disney World. I agree that Splash Mountain is one of the best attractions Disney has ever done. Re-theming Splash Mountain will do nothing to increase revenue for Disney. If Disney wants a feature for Princess and the Frog, build a new attraction rather than doing a mediocre overlay of an attraction that’s perfect just the way it is.
I’m very excited for this redesign. Splash Mountain should never have had the theme it did. Princess and the Frog is a wonderful story that deserves a special place in the park and a fitting theme to erase the other. Kids will enjoy it way more too.
I wish the change wasn’t an “or” proposition. The Disney parks (objectively) struggle with ride capacity and overcrowding. As a result, it would be wonderful if Disney was building a Princess and the Frog attraction as an addition to the parks and implementing required updates for Splash Mountain. Oh well.
Thanks for a super thorough post Tom, and also for helping me to finally figure out WHY Facebook was invented…
As much as I think that Splash Mountains characters are basically “dead” in regards to expanding their brand…..I’ve done a bit of a 180 in regards to this refurbishment. At this point, Splash Mountain and its theme is an essential part of a number of Disney fans experience. A Princess and the Frog permanant presence in the Parks is a good thing and the introduction of this character line should be “better” than just a refurbishment. Looking at the overheads…there’s open space right behind the River/Tom Sawyers Island. A unique E-Ticket ride with a sit down restaurant (maybe in the same vein as POTC in DisneyLand) would be perfect.
I hope Geoff was fired because he was terrible at his job. If they let him go because of one mistake albeit a big one that would be another mark vs Disney.
He wasn’t let go for the Cosmic Rewind mistake.
I’m also not sure he was terrible at his job (his advice was arguably right, but Disney didn’t listen); just that what happened during his brief tenure certainly wasn’t great for the company.
I’ve been to Walt Disney World twice. I rode Splash on my first trip and liked it but found it pretty terrifying. Pushed myself to ride it again this May and absolutely loved it. So much so that I rode it again. I made the mental switch in my head to find the drop fun and exciting and not scary, and what a difference in made. Even managed to get an on-ride photo where I’m grinning with my hands in the air, rather than grimacing and holding onto the lap bar for dear life.
Planning on going to Disneyland for the first time next May. So I guess my only hope is that this timing isn’t quite true as I would hate to miss out on riding Splash on my trip. Still, looking forward to the reimagining (even though I’ll miss the original).
Meghan, the most fun we ever had on Splash Mountain was the time a family with a young boy was in the seats in front of us. At the bottom of each of the smaller drops, they’d exclaim, “He’s O-KAY!!!” When we finally got to the big one at the end, his mindset was in the right space, and at the bottom everyone shouted “He’s O-KAY!!!” Now my husband and I say that whenever experiencing a new thrill at the theme parks. Try it…you’ll love it!
This definitely was not a planned announcement. Tom, I think you are exactly right that 2024 was a hoped for opening timeframe communicated to her during some meeting, and things could easily get delayed. Depending on how much traction this gets, it *might* force Disney to make an official statement on what the plans are sooner rather than later.
I personally don’t think summer 2024 is outrageous, especially with the ability to do a lot of construction off site while the ride is still operational. (I am assuming it will have a summer opening because who wants to debut their shiny new water ride in the fall/winter?) I know there’s a segment of the fandom who are outraged at the reasoning behind updating Splash Mountain, but I am excited about this as I think Princess and the Frog is an underrated gem in the Disney catalogue and I’m so happy to see it get a big budget attraction!
It was so brilliant of Disney to make Geoff throw his entire career out the window for that bit of viral marketing. I was really impressed by it, totally fooled everyone. They’re laughing all the way to the bank (to deposit Geoff’s final check).
I was quite pessimistic about this reimagining, but given that nothing new is on the slate for either of the American castle parks (aside from the clones of Tron and MMRR), I’ve come to accept this may be the only way to get a new ride in either. I do like the PATF (story, characters and songs) and the ride system/layout, so the reimagined ride has that going for it. And I hope the original Zip A Dee River Run will remain accessible in Tokyo for whenever nostalgia hits.