Josh D'Amaro talks about Splash Mountain retheme and opening the parks during a global pandemic

Jul 11, 2020 in "Splash Mountain"

Josh D'Amaro, the new Chairman Disney Parks, Experience and Products took part in an interview with CNN earlier today and shared some comments on the reopening of the parks, and on Splash Mountain.

When asked about reopening the parks when cases are increasing in Florida, he said, "We are in a new normal right now, so what's happening outside of the gates of Walt Disney World is our new world. I think you know we were one of the first theme parks to close, and we'll be about the last to open. And we spent every minute of every day thinking about how to operate in this new normal that we're in. I'm exceptionally proud of this group in terms of what they've put together from a protocol perspective and being able to open in a phased and really responsible way. I had a chance to walk Main Street just a few minutes ago. It feels really good in the park. So yeah, the world is a different place, but we feel really prepared to operate in this new environment that we're in."

He goes on to talk about new safety protocols and how guests so far have accepted the new environment and are complying with health and safety requests.

Josh also briefly commented on Splash Mountain's retheme to Princess and the Frog, "We actually have been working on it for well over a year. In fact, I was a part of those conversations over a year ago. Listen, our stories evolve all the time. I mean, back from when Walt started Disneyland back in 1955, he stated that if we would continue to evolve our stories, that they're never ending, that they'll always be contemporary. And I think that that's what you're seeing with Splash Mountain. I keep using the same word, but I'm really proud of this team and what we're doing on this front. I think Splash Mountain, no doubt, is a sacred attraction to many of our guests. And I think you're going to love what we're doing in making the attraction even more contemporary."

Read the full interview at CNN.

Discuss on the Forums
Article Posted: Jul 11, 2020 / 2:27pm ET
View all comments →

_caleb4 hours ago

I've always loved Western River Expedition at Knott's Berry Farm! Kidding, of course. Knott's Log Ride is fun, but it always makes me begin to question where the line is drawn between audio-animatronics and mannequins.

Donaldfan19347 hours ago

While the winky face makes me think you’re being somewhat sarcastic, I really don’t think it would go down that easy. Despite Western River Expedition being one of, if not the most legendary attraction that never materialized, there would definitely still be mixed emotions from the fandom if it was coming at the cost of Splash. Although it would be far less controversial from a thematic perspective than PATF and possibly the only potential replacement many including myself would come remotely close to accepting, Splash being widely considered as one of the park’s quintessential classics means some of the conversations we’re having now would be had no matter what. In fact, as long as cancel culture maintained some sort of perceived influence in its demise, I find it hard to believe much would change about these conversations at all.

JoeCamel7 hours ago

"Its a small world after all....."

EPCOT-O.G.8 hours ago

Other thematic music can play. But i agree. It’s great, but if they repeat it for 12 minutes people will come off that ride homicidal

Magicart878 hours ago

It's a fair point but MK's Splash Mountain only has 3 songs that play throughout the attraction and 2 of those could be recycled.

Surferboy5678 hours ago

Yes, and agreed but that is ONE song that is super short. Needs to have music that can last 12 (ish) minutes.

EPCOT-O.G.9 hours ago

I have to disagree. The theme song is arguably the best ear worm of all time. Its popularity endures.

EagleScout61011 hours ago

Plus the two concepts could be merge by making Brer Fox and Bear the bandits you see in the rides concept art.

tirian17 hours ago

In Frontierland?

tirian17 hours ago

Meanwhile, if we applied that logic to Splash itself, the attraction should remain the same because its origins and roots go back to traditional African folktales. PATF is a European fairy-tale with a clunky New Orleans overlay. If Disney replaced Splash with Marc Davis’ Western River Expedition, the majority of fans would be thrilled. We wouldn’t have any of these conversations. ;) Plus, Marc already adjusted insensitive racial jokes post-1970s. The ride’s plan is ready to be implemented and would be significantly better than anything current WDI would give us.

Donald Duck 2518 hours ago

If you have to re theme splash mountain why not re theme it to the movie sleepy hollow and make the tree look like the tree of death in that movie and have the headless horseman chasing people around on the ride. I know it was a paramount movie but so was Indiana Jones when they made it.

Brer Panther20 hours ago

It'd still suck to lose Disneyland's, but at least the Magic Kingdom's would be spared. The DuckTales reboot sucks. Keep it out of Splash Mountain. I dunno if I'd WANT this, but it sounds like it would unironically be a lot of fun.

kingdead21 hours ago

Problem is, they've already said it was PatF. Had they not announced that, they could pick from any existing IP to redo the ride. Now if they pick another IP, the message is that stories with black protagonists aren't worth a theme park ride. Like I said before, log flume rides are fun and people will ride no matter what but there's no reason to make the ride "the one that's supposed to have black people in it" if there's any way to do a decent remake with the announced theme. (They COULD do that mountain-with-waterfall that Black Panther fights on in Wakanda, I guess... It looks incredibly CGI in the movie so it would be all right to have it look a little cheesy in real life...)

Brer Oswald22 hours ago

It would be interesting. If this comes out exactly as they announced, I’d like to see them go the extra mile.