- Magic Kingdom Vice President Melissa Valiquette recently appeared on the “Theme Park Rangers” podcast.
- She said it could take years to turn Splash Mountain into a “Princess and the Frog” ride.
- Still, Valiquette noted that decisions are being made surrounding music, animatronics, and more.
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But during a recent appearance on the Orlando Sentinel’s “Theme Park Rangers” podcast, Magic Kingdom Vice President Melissa Valiquette said it could actually be years before Disney fans see those changes made.
“When we are reimagining a new attraction or a new area of our parks, this can be a lengthy process. There’s a lot of work that goes into it,” she said.
“I’m in a lot of meeting right now around Splash Mountain, and of course, our guests haven’t seen any changes yet. That’s going to take some time,” Valiquette continued. “The sequence of these things is that sometimes the decision can be made many many months, even years, before any of that will be seen onstage. So it’s going to take us a little bit of time to reimagine Splash Mountain.”
Valiquette went on to say that behind the scenes, there’s a lot of work being done. Specifically, she said there have been decisions made about animatronics and the ride’s storyline, and that songs from the 2009 movie have been selected for the ride.
She also said she believes Disney Imagineers have created something that she feels will “capitalize on what’s already special about the ride,” and will also “turn it into something” that people “will really cherish for generations into the future.”
“I think this is one example of something where our guests are going to have to put a little bit of trust into us for a bit because we promise not to let you down,” Valiquette said. “We’re going to deliver a wonderful attraction that is inspiring and beautiful and worthy of this princess.”
Back in June 2020, Disneyland’s public-relations director Michael Ramirez said in a blog post that Disney had started working on the new theme in 2019. He also noted that the updated ride would follow Princess Tiana and Louis “as they prepare for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance.”
Earlier that month, a Disney fan named Alex O. began a Change.org petition that called on Disney parks to replace Splash Mountain’s theme with an overlay inspired by “The Princess and the Frog.”
The petition, which quickly surpassed its goal of 10,000 signatures, argued that the history of the ride’s original theme is “steeped in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes from ‘Song of the South.'”
The 1946 film – which has not been made available to stream on Disney Plus – is set on a plantation and follows “a black former slave who lives happily on his former white master’s plantation,” as Insider previously reported.
Disney also recently shared plans to update its Jungle Cruise attractions, which previously featured negative depictions of Indigenous people.