Disney’s finally confirmed when Splash Mountain will be closing at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. The log theme ride based on the long-banished film Song of the South will be closed on Jan. 23, 2023, making Jan. 22 the last day of operation. It’ll reopen as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, a reconfigured attraction based on The Princess and the Frog, with a tentative window of late 2024.
It’s been over two years since Disney first announced that it would be retheming Splash Mountain at both Disneyland and Disney World—something we’ve argued should’ve happened long ago—and updates have been sparse since then. Today’s news was essentially an addendum to a Disney Parks blog post that revealed one of the new ride’s scenes featuring a band of swamp critters playing some zydeco music. If this one scene is any indication, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will keep much of what people love about Splash Mountain—a bunch of adorable animals singing to catchy Southern music before a huge 50 foot drop into the drink below—without evoking a racist movie that Disney locked away forever almost 40 years ago. Seems like a good decision.
Here’s some concept art of what that scene—the first one guests will see after the initial short drop into the ride building—might look like. Hopefully they stick with animatronics for this one; it’d be surprising if they didn’t since Splash Mountain is already full of ‘em.
Curiously, no closing date has been announced yet for Disneyland’s Splash Mountain. Magic Kingdom will be getting a major new roller coaster-type attraction when Tron Lightcycle Run opens in 2023, and no doubt adding a new E-ticket makes it a lot easier for Disney to shut another one down. Disneyland is getting a new ride in January—a version of Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway—and between that and the closing date of the Magic Kingdom Splash Mountain it wouldn’t be a surprise if Disneyland’s version also shuts down in January. For now, though, Disney will only say that more info on that closing date will be revealed in the future. Either way, if you want to say goodbye to the original Splash Mountains, you’ll want to get to Disney World and maybe Disneyland before late January.