Splash Mountain is Getting Refurbished

By Lauren Dulatre

On January 23, 2023, Disneyland’s iconic ride, Splash Mountain, finally closed its doors. 

Splash Mountain has been one of the most popular attractions since its opening on July 17, 1989. The attraction was based on the film Song of the South, which was released in 1946. The movie had a lot of concerns when it was released, the most common one was the romanticized depiction of slavery and race relations in the south during post-civil war. The reviews from critics and fans of Disney were so horrible that Disney decided to stop showing it in theaters in 1986.

When fans in 2020 figured out Splash Mountain was based on Song of the South, they made comments on Twitter that the ride should close or get refurbished. The Walt Disney Resort, shortly after the opinions from fans, announced that Splash Mountain would close on January 23, 2023, allowing fans to still ride the attraction before it closes. 

They also announced that the new theme for the ride would be based on the movie Princess and the Frog. 

The attraction’s new name will be called Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. The attraction will be available for the public in late 2024. 

A lot of fans were happy that the ride finally closed and is getting a new theme, but some fans were not. In 2020, while fans were stating online that they were against the background of Splash Mountain and tried to tell Disney to close the ride, they made a petition that received 29,000 signatures. There was also a counter petition to save Splash Mountain that received at least 99,000 signatures. “Splash Mountain has never included depictions of slaves or any racist elements and is based solely on historical African folktales that families of all ethnicities have been enjoying for nearly a century,” the pro-Splash Mountain petition says. “It is absurd to pander to a small group of ‘Disney haters’ that don’t understand the story, and re-theme such a nostalgic ride.”

On the day of closing, a lot of Disney fans wanted to have one more time on the ride. On a video posted on TikTok, it was shown that the ride had up to a two-plus-hour wait to board. On the other hand, other Disney fans–who call themselves “Disney Adults”, saw the closing as a chance to sell the water from the ride labeled as “Splash Mountain Water”. Plastic bags and Mason Jars were used to contain the water, and were later sold on ebay for insane prices, some being over $50. 

The attraction may have closed and refurbished for good reasons, but the original will be very missed among longtime Disney fans. 

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