The Splash Mountain ride at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park hit a new record on its final day of operation last Sunday, January 22nd.
According to Thrill Data, the attraction set an all-time high wait time on January 22nd, after it consistently showed a 220-minute wait time during the day, beating out its previous record of 210 minutes that was set back in 2020. Although rides like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Avatar Flight of Passage have hit wait times of more than 200 minutes since their launch, InsideTheMagic.net pointed out that the flock of people that lined up for Splash Mountain for its last day of operation was unlike anything the theme park had seen before.
According to InsideTheMagic.Net, the lines for Splash Mountain last Sunday were so long that they stretched outside of Frontierland — where Splash Mountain is located — and all the way into Liberty Square where the Haunted Mansion attraction is housed.
These long queues were seen in a number of photos and videos shared by Disney World guests on social media.
— BlogMickey.com (@Blog_Mickey) January 22, 2023
Despite the long lines, TMZ reported that parkgoers didn’t seem to care, as everyone patiently waited for their turn to ride the Splash Mountain one last time before its permanent closure. The log flume ride at the Magic Kingdom Park opened for the first time back on October 2nd, 1992.
What attraction will replace Splash Mountain?
In July 2022, Disney announced that Tiana’s Bayou Adventures would replace the Splash Mountains at both Disney World and Disneyland. While the Splash Mountain at Disney World had already closed permanently, the one at Disneyland is set to shut down for good today, January 23rd.
The soon-to-rise attraction will take guests on a musical adventure inspired by the beloved story and characters from the 2009 animated film The Princess and the Frog. A sequel to the fan-favorite film, the upcoming themed area will let visitors join Princess Tiana, Naveen, and the jazz-loving alligator, Louis, on an adventure through the bayou as they prepare to host a one-of-a-kind Mardi Gras celebration where everyone is welcome. Along the way, guests will encounter familiar faces, make new friends, and travel through the bayou to original music inspired by songs from the animated film.
Ted Robledo, executive creative director at Walt Disney Imagineering, reiterated to a small group of reporters in December 2022, that Tiana’s Bayou Adventures is “not a retelling of The Princess and the Frog,” pointing out that the attraction is set a year after the animated film ends.
In Tiana’s Bayou Adventures, after turning her dream of opening her own restaurant into reality, the titular Disney princess opens an employee-owned co-op, called Tiana’s Foods, to help her community succeed as well.
Why is Splash Mountain getting replaced?
The Br’er Rabbit story of both U.S. versions of Splash Mountain is tied to the Disney movie Song of the South, which has long been criticized for its racist and offensive portrayal of African Americans.
“While the ride is considered a beloved classic, its history and storyline are steeped in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes from the 1946 film,” read a June 2020 Change.org petition, which called for the re-theming of Splash Mountain to a The Princess and the Frog-themed attraction.
Though Disney announced the new theme after the petition drew national attention with more than 21,000 supporters, the entertainment giant made it clear that the change had been in the works since 2019.
“We continue to review our offerings for negative depictions of people and cultures, and we invest in new offerings and experiences to better reflect the diversity of stories in our world,” Disney told USA Today. “The Splash Mountain attraction was originally based on Song of the South, and we are eager to create an entirely new experience that is more inclusive and inspirational for all guests.”
When will Tiana’s Bayou Adventure open?
Both versions of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park in Florida and at Disneyland Park in California are slated to open sometime in 2024.