Magic Kingdom Vice President Melissa Valiquette comments on the progress being made on the reimagining of Splash Mountain at Walt Disney World

Aug 11, 2021 in "Splash Mountain"

Posted: Wednesday August 11, 2021 4:04pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

In a recent podcast with the Orlando Sentinel, new Magic Kingdom Vice President Melissa Valiquette gave an update on the progress being made on the reimagining of Splash Mountain.

No further information on the reimaging of Splash Mountain has been released by Disney since their original announcement of the plans back in June 2020, so today's comments by the Magic Kingdom VP are the first we have heard in more than a year.

Melissa said, "When we are reimagining a new attraction or a new area of our parks, this can be a lengthy process; there is a lot of work that goes into it."

"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, but 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, but 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."

"They 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 this Princess, Princess Tiana."

You can listen to the rest fo the 30 minute podcast on Apple Podcasts.

Disney announced in June 2020 that Splash Mountain at both Disneyland in California and Magic Kingdom in Florida would be reimagined to the animated Disney film, "The Princess and the Frog."

With a backstory based on the controversial 1946 classic Disney movie "Song of the South," there have been strong calls for Disney to change the hugely popular flume ride.

Disney says that "The new concept is inclusive – one that all of our guests can connect with and be inspired by, and it speaks to the diversity of the millions of people who visit our parks each year."

According to Disney, "We 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. Tiana is a modern, courageous, and empowered woman, who pursues her dreams and never loses sight of what's really important. It's a great story with a strong lead character, set against the backdrop of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou. In 1966, Walt himself opened New Orleans Square when it became the first new "land" added to Disneyland park, so it feels natural to link the story and the incredible music of "The Princess and the Frog" to our parks."

The project will be led by Charita Carter, who most recently worked on Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway. Splash Mountain creator Tony Baxter will serve as a creative adviser for the makeover.

A timeline for the closure and reopening has yet to be announced, and Splash Mountain is currently open to guests.

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owlsandcoffee2 hours ago

As do I. I would prefer that WDW keep it themed to TS. Just get rid of the IJ stuff

Olangotang1 day ago

It still mentions Fastpass+. This was probably written early last year. Don't think it means anything, for better or worse.

EagleScout6101 day ago

Personally I'm imaging Chapek standing over the editor's shoulder going "Go on...say how we're getting rid of Racist Bunny"

Dear Prudence1 day ago

@owlsandcoffee I personally love that Disneyland kept the TSI theme Also, I 1000000% support giving Becky her own raft because she was 1/3rd of that adventure

owlsandcoffee1 day ago

Yeah, that would've been fine with me, although I'm not indigenous. I was talking specifically about IJ

Animaniac93-981 day ago

It's from the Official Guide, so I assume it's simply Disney policy now that any mention of Splash include the plans to change it.

Sharon&Susan1 day ago

Surprised that they even mentioned the current theme of the ride in that blurb.

Animaniac93-981 day ago

I believe the names for the three rafts were Joe, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn? Maybe make Joe's raft Becky Thatcher? Still a character from the book, and then they'd have a female character represented too along with all three being named after the kids.

owlsandcoffee1 day ago

If IJ causes such harmful memories for you I imagine that's the case for a lot of people with Indigenous heritage. In that case, I'm glad it's going. Hopefully whatever they do keeps the spirit of TSI while being a bit more fresh.

EagleScout6101 day ago

Magicart872 days ago

I have no doubt it'll be PatF'd soon.

Dear Prudence2 days ago

Disneyland kept a lot of the Tom Sawyer theme. It just also has pirate stuff, making it the actual pirate island of Tom's dreams. It's brilliant. 👏🏽

Goofnut19802 days ago

It makes me giggle how they are handling things. Instead of making it themed to Tom Sawyer, they just paint over and do nothing. It seems a little half done, but that is now the Disney way.

SteveAZee2 days ago

Ironic, since he didn't write "I Write the Songs". Alanis Morrissette co-wrote Ironic, which really doesn't have much irony in it, ironically. Don't get me started on jumbo shrimp.