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News & Rumors


Magic Kingdom
Walt Disney World
Orlando, FL




----    THE LATEST BUZZ    ----
    (6/10/2024) Opening Date Set For Returning Country Bears
    (6/4/2024) Tiana's Bayou Adventure Progress Update
    (6/2/2024) Disney World Posts Complete POV of Tiana's Bayou Adventure Experience
    (5/31/2024) On Ride Footage of Tiana's Bayou Adventure Posted
    (5/24/2024) New Country Bear Jamboree Show Update

Ride Rehabs - These dates are not guaranteed to be 100% accurate as refurbishments are subject to change.
Country Bear Jamboree - NOW CLOSED through July 16, 2024
Peter Pan’s Flight - NOW CLOSED through Aug. 20
Jungle Cruise - Aug. 26 through TBD


icon_STOPPark News - (4/20/2024) If you visit the Magic Kingdom you may notice something a little odd near Storybook Circus. Apparently an assortment of elephant statues are going to be installed between now and May as part of a new in-park promotion with Scentsy called “Smellephants on Parade”. Guests will be told to grab a special map of the land and stickers near Big Top Souvenirs and then go off on a sort of scavenger-hunt throughout the area to find the different elephant statues that each offer a different scent, such as Popcorn, Churros and Cotton Candy.
    (12/1/2023) According to an update from Disney, the Hatbox Ghost has officially materialized at the Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom park. Follow the link to the Disney blog to see the first photos of this new animatronic effects-laden addition to the Mansion.
    (9/19/2023) An unusual event took place at Disney’s Magic Kingdom on Monday morning that forced management to keep half of the park closed. During the early morning hours work crews discovered that a black bear had somehow made it’s way into the park. The various reports are slightly conflicting about where the bear was first spotted, with some saying it was first discoverd on Tom Sawyer’s Island while others say it was found climbing a tree by Big Thunder Mountain.
    Regardless of where it was first spotted, Disney was forced to keep Adventureland, Frontierland and Liberty Square closed entirely until the early afternoon. After a lengthy search staff were able to sedate the bear and gently remove it from the theme park property by the early afternoon. Based on aerial footage captured by the news and some insider reports, the bear was finally captures in a wooded area between the backside of the Small World ride at the railroad tracks.



icon_STOP2024 - Country Bear Musical Jamboree - (6/10/2024) Walt Disney World has now confirmed that the new “Country Bear Musical Jamboree” will open to guests at the Magic Kingdom on July 17th, 2024.

    (5/24/2024) For much of the past year, the focus of everyone’s attention at the Magic Kingdom has been on the remodeling of the former Splash Mountain into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, however another major attraction upgrade project has been chugging along in mostly silence. I’m speaking of course about the revised Country Bear Jamboree, which Disney has reconfirmed a Summer 2024 reopening timeline.
    Disney has posted a new video showcasing some of the new costumes being created for the cast of the show. This includes a new trio of pink cowgirl costumes that will replace the bear’s former, more modest, bonnet and dress costumes. Take a look below at how the new costumes are crafted and put on the bears for the revised show.

    (1/12/2024) Disney has posted a few new details about the new “Country Bear Musical Jamboree” attraction that will open in the Magic Kingdom sometime in Summer 2024. The new show will pay homage to the Opry-style shows of Nashville, while including several easter egg references to the original show. “The bears will sing new, reinterpreted Disney tunes in different genres of country music – like bluegrass, pop-country, Americana, rockabilly and other styles.“
    (9/9/2023) According to an announcement at DestinationD23, the Country Bear Jamboree will be updated in 2024 to add some new songs, and an all new act “reinterpreting favorite Disney songs in different genres of country music!”.






Summer 2024 - Tiana’s Bayou Adventure - (6/4/2024) We’ve got a quick update on Tiana’s Bayou Adventure for everyone as some staff previews are taking place, and the official Media Event is said to be set for June 9 - 11th. However… not all is well in the Bayou, and I’m not talking about how Disney Fandom is taking to the official POV video Disney released.
    For the immediate future, you can expect to see the attraction suffering from some downtime issues, and frequent temporary shut-downs while you may even be riding. While at first this would seem to be an odd thing to happen, given that in the end, this is still the former Splash Mountain, which was a people-eating machine when it came to throughput. Well oiled, well broken in… very few problems.
    So why is the ride system having some issues now? Well… you know the old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? Disney didn’t listen, and apparently during the closure they went ahead and upgraded all the ride control systems. You may also recall that originally the attraction was not set to reopen until later this year, but since the scenic elements were completed in rapid fashion, the struggle has now been to break in the ride system ahead of the official grand re-opening.
    Tick Tok… Tick Tok…
    (6/2/2024) In a very unusual move, Disney has decided to post a near complete POV of the new Tiana’s Bayou Adventure attraction experience at the Magic Kingdom. While the attraction itself is still weeks from the official grand opening near the end of the month, many believe that the park will quietly soft-open it to rides ahead of that date. Regardless, Disney has never been one to post official POV videos of their new attractions, as seen by all the Blogger videos that swamp the internet as soon as media previous and soft-opening periods begin, so it is clear that Disney wanted to essentially control how this experience will be presented to the world by posting their own definitive video of the ride experience for all to see. Professionally shot, free from annoying back noise and verbal comments from other riders, and edited to feature not only a great visual experience, but a masterful presentation of the new musical audio tracks on the ride, this video is essentially everything you could ask for. So sit back, relax, and drink it all in, as we finally get to see how Splash Mountain has been transformed into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.
    Oh, and one quick spoiler warning!
    For everyone who has been silently hoping for the return of the Dr. Facilier character as a component of the new ride’s finale… just drop it. He’s not in it, and we don’t get to hear Keith David’s voice singing “Are you REAAADY!?” while going up that final lift hill.  Disney never intended to use the character here, as he basically met his end in the context of the film, and it was just a desire from all the character’s fans wanting to see him return within the new storyline of the attraction, but it was just not meant to be.
    The one interesting thing is that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure really has no “dark” section of the ride experience. Unlike how on most other dark rides you may have a segment focused on the villain characters. As Splash Mountain had exactly such a segment as you approached and rose up the final lift hill, I can see why so many fans expected Tiana’s Bayou Adventure to follow the same kind of storytelling pacing within their minds. Instead Tiana’s is entirely focused on it’s own storyline about the music of the bayou.
    So give the video a full watch to see what you think and take the time to enjoy the army of new animatronic figures they’ve loaded the ride up with. They are fairly stunning to watch and well done.

    (5/31/2024) Disney Imagineering released a video about “Soundscapes” on attractions yesterday on their YouTube channel and it features on-ride footage shot on the new Tiana’s Bayou Adventure that reveals a lot of the new scenery and animatronics, including an extremely dramatic new finale scene. There is also a shorter version that I think features a few more close up shots of the ride’s animatronics on Instagram as well.

    (5/18/2024) Well all knew this was coming, and now Disney has confirmed it. When Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opens at the Magic Kingdom in June, you will have to play the Virtual Queue game again if you want to ride. Just like they’ve been doing with every single new attraction to open at Walt Disney World over the past few years, you’ll have to attempt to essentially win a digital lottery at 7am to see if your group can be assigned to a virtual boarding pass to ride it later that day. A second window will also open up at 1pm to give you one more chance, but otherwise, there will not be a Stand-By queue available to ride.
    In other words… you have to buy a ticket into the park (or have an annual pass) and just hope you get lucky enough to get into the virtual queue, otherwise even if that is your only reason for being at the park, you won't be allowed to stand in line to ride at all.
    However… there is a new plot-twist to this story… as Disney is trying something new, and I think it has to do with the growing negative reaction to the alternative pay-to-ride options they’ve been dishing out. For example, currently, if you fail to get a free virtual boarding pass to ride Tron Lightcycle/Run or Guardians of the Galaxy, and if you have cash to burn, you can buy an “Individual Lightning Lane” pass to ride those attractions, but it will probably cost you around $20 to do so.
    Disney has also been trying to sell their Genie+ service to get a similar experience to the former Disney FastPass program for the day. The problem is… the cost of Genie+ has been rising and rising to the point where it can cost between $25 to $35 per person for the day, and yet it still won’t give you access to the top tier rides either that have been exclusive to the one-time use Individual Lightning Lane program.
    So it looks like the solution to give more value to the Genie+ service now is that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will actually not have Individual Lightning Lanes for sale, instead if you miss the virtual queue lottery at 7am and 1pm, your only other option is to buy Genie+ and see if you can gain access to the ride those the limited availability being given to that program instead.
    Much like the Individual Lightning Lane option, the same problem exists here as well, as no one knows exactly how many free passes are being given out on any given day during the virtual queue lotteries, but we do know that they are over and done with within a second or two, leaving Disney to pad their already deep pockets with guests cash who are still willing to pay extra to ride these new attractions that don’t have Standby queue options available. Keep in mind guests are paying on average around $150 just to get into the park and then upon finding out that all the newest attractions are locked behind a paywall, they basically have to double-down and pay even more just to ride what they traveled so far, and already paid heavily to do in the first place. Exact now, if you want to ride Tiana’s, instead of dropping $20 to do it and be done with it, Disney is going to make you upgrade to the full Genei+ service for another $35 just for second chance to ride it if you missed the free lottery.
    Again, Disney doesn’t post how many free passes they are giving out in each lottery. It could only be 10% of the ride’s capacity for the day, allowing them to charge extra for the other 90% of riders. While I hate to think that particular ratio is true… we have no way to know that it isn't either, as there is no public disclosure as to how Disney is operating their systems from day to day.
    (5/12/2024) According to online reports, Disney has apparently announced that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will be ready to open for guests on June 28, 2024. Ahead of this date however we can expect a few weeks of soft opening runs, as well as a media event date and Cast Member previews.
    (5/7/2024) More and more videos are being posted showing off Tiana’s Bayou Adventure logs testing at the Magic Kingdom. From what I’m hearing, this is taking place about daily… and for most of the day and well into the evening hours. As we suspected, the rumor is that Disney is trying to get everything all the required pre-opening cycles done as soon as possible, with the goal of soft opening the attraction sometime in mid to late June if possible.
    Stay tuned!

    (5/4/2024) Our friends at Orlando Experience stopped by the Magic Kingdom this week and posted some footage of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure making test runs, including a log loaded with Imagineers taking a test spin.
    Now, nothing has posted of course, but there are those out there thinking that Disney just might be trying to rush things towards a rapid completion, just in time to soft open around the same time that Universal will be opening DreamWorks Land and their new nighttime show. It’s a thought… and I wouldn’t put it past Disney to try and counter-program any kind of media event Universal could be planning with one of their own.
    Assuming all the new scenes are essentially finished and just in need of final tweaking, I can see it being a possibility, as unlike opening a brand new attraction, the ride hardware itself is still good old reliable “Splash Mountain” and has been well broken in and the problems ironed out years ago. This is assuming they didn’t try to fix something that wasn’t broken and put in an entirely new control system or something. So as long as those logs keep testing, all day, every day, then there is a good chance we may be getting close to the finish line.
    Oh… bonus scene on the video below as well. After the Tiana’s Bayou Adventure footage, they also went and checked out a bunch of the new Smellephants on Parade figures in Storybook Circus.

    (4/12/2024) A fun video update from the Magic Kingdom has been posted by our friends over at Orlando Experience showing off the construction progress (and some footage of empty logs making test runs) on Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

    (4/6/2024) Disney has posted a glimpse of the amazingly animated animatronic figure they’ve created of Tiana for the new Tiana’s Bayou Adventure attraction in the background of an Instagram post. The fluid body motion and animated facial features of this latest Disney animatronic creation is fantastic to see, and unlike the their latest figures used in the past few years, they’ve stopped using video screens for the faces.
   A second clip below it also shows off more of the animated figures you’ll see in the new attraction this summer.

    (3/31/2024) Disney has released a look at a whole group of new characters that will inhabit the world of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure when it opens this summer at the Magic Kingdom. This group of six new characters will actually be a performing Zydeco music band.
    (3/3/2024) Signs of progress can be found over at Tiana’s Bayou Adventure in the Magic Kingdom, as videos have now been posted showing that the logs are once again cycling through the attraction. For those wondering about the lack of a big splash at the bottom of the drop, you’ll also want to notice that there is no water running down the final drop itself, reducing the amount of water in the splashdown tunnel and thus limiting the wet factor while things are being tested and worked on.

    (2/14/2024) Consider me surprised, as the latest update to the Disney Parks Blog confirms that the new Tiana’s Bayou Adventure ride at WDW’s Magic Kingdom will actually be ready to open much sooner than anticipated. How Soon you ask?
    Would you believe it will be ready to open this SUMMER? It’s true… you can see the new promo poster they’ve put on the construction wall with the new opening timeline as well as a look at some new animatronic figures for the attraction that they’re putting the finishing touches on.
    Oh… and sorry to our Disneyland fans. It looks like your version is sticking with the original Late 2024 timeline.
    (12/23/2023) MouseSteps has posted a update on the construction of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at the Magic Kingdom following the opening of new walkway near the attraction. This gives us a look into the ride’s former outdoor queue space and the entrance building into the indoor queue that has been repainted and decorated with a mural. There is lots left to do before we see the ride reopen in late 2024, but it is always fun to check out the progress being made.
    While much of the new pathway is surrounded by tall brown construction walls on both sides it does allow guests to get fairly close and get a peek at all the new floral and tree theming being added to the mountain itself. This alone has already changed the look and feel for the former Splash Mountain attractions structure that featured a primarily a southern red clay look and feel to much of the mountain. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is certainly going in a more ‘green’ direction.
    (10/18/2023) A new video posted by Disney shows off the wild new paint job they are giving the entrance building to the main queue for the former Splash Mountain attraction as they transform it into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. Just a word of warning for those still mourning the loss of Splash Mountain, the building is now very bright and extremely colorful as they cover it in a mural inspired by the new IP.

    (8/30/2023) I posted a current look at the status of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at Walt Disney World to IG the other day while visiting the park on Saturday. There is still a lot of work left to do obviously, but currently the outside of the former Splash Mountain is covered in a sea of scaffolding. Between the removal of the large tree stump from the top of the mountain and the added scaffolding, the impact to viewing it all in person somehow makes the former attraction look a lot shorter than before. I’m sure this will all change once the all new topper decor featuring Mama Odie’s house is placed on the peak, as seen in the concept artwork above.

    (7/4/2023) The new Tiana’s Foods themed watertower has now been installed in the front area of the former Splash Mountain attraction at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom theme park.

    (4/15/2023) Don’t say that Screamscape didn’t already report this rumor back in June 2020. Strangely enough the hot rumor flying around the Magic Kingdom this week is that much of Frontierland, from the Diamond Horseshoe down to Pecos Bill’s restaurant may be about to be transformed into a “New Orleans” themed land to properly tie into the transformation of Splash Mountain into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. This would then essentially leave Big Thunder Mountain as the only remaining piece of Frontierland. (note: the fate of the Country Bears attraction is currently unknown.
    As I said back then, the conversion of Splash in Disneyland was a no-brainer, as it sits right next to the park’s New Orleans Square area that contains Pirates of the Caribbean, a railroad station, the original southern themed Haunted Mansion and an assortment of New Orleans themed shops and restaurants. At the same time, I mentioned that converting Splash Mountain in the Magic Kingdom was going to be much more problematic and somewhat confusing to suddenly have a New Orleans themed attraction right sitting in the middle of Frontierland between Pecos Bill’s and Big Thunder Mountain.
    This rumor was followed by reports a month later that Disney World has been sending out guest surveys to see how guests felt about a number of different attractions, many of which had been rumored to be on the list of attractions up for retirement. This survey also specifically asked guests about how they felt about The Country Bear Jamboree and Tom Sawyer’s Island.
    Much like what happened at Disneyland when they added Galaxy’s Edge, rumors have also been rampant ever since about attempting the same thing at the Magic Kingdom, but trying to develop the land to create a bridge of new attraction spaces that could connect the backside of Big Thunder Mountain over to Haunted Mansion. If so inclined, this could give them the space to make an expanded and “New Frontierland” of course to tie into Big Thunder but it could also give them space to create new land concepts where Big Thunder may also be adopted to fit, serving as a sort of transition-style mini land moving guests from the New Orleans theme into another environment that would be used to tie into something new, such as a more Latin themed area that could be home to attractions themed to Coco and Encanto.
    Just how to bridge this gap has been another big question for some time, as access to the land behind Big Thunder is difficult… unless they opt to go the route of just removing the entire back half of Tom Sawyer’s Island, along with the river which could be shorted into a smaller loop around the front island for the Riverboat. Either way, this will be an epic project for the future someday.
    (4/11/2023) MouseSteps has posted a new construction update from the Magic Kingdom this week, taking a look at what’s been going on over at the former Splash Mountain attraction. In addition to work walls up all along the pathway around the mountain, scaffolding has also been set up everywhere inside giving workers access to work on the mountain structure itself. Currently it looks like they’ve be working to remove the large tree stump icon that sat atop Splash Mountain, just over the final drop. They also mention that the new Tiana themed water tower structure is expected to be added to the site sometime later this summer.
    (1/21/2023) Just a reminder that your last day to ride Splash Mountain at the Magic Kingdom is this Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. After that the ride will close to begin the lengthy transformation process to become Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, which isn’t set to reopen until “Late 2024”.
    (12/4/2022) Disney has confirmed that the Magic Kingdom version of Splash Mountain will be closed for good starting January 23, 2023. This is all part of the plan to transform the attraction into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure in time to reopen sometime in 2024. A new piece of artwork was released showing off a new scene guests will see upon entering the Bayou, featuring a Zydeco band made up from the local critters.
    So far a closing date has not yet been set for the Disneyland version of Splash Mountain.
    (8/18/22) Disney may be planning something big for the Magic Kingdom. File this in the rumor bin until we hear otherwise, but some early whispering is going on that seems to indicate a possible redevelopment of the backside of Tom Sawyer’s Island is being discussed. This wouldn’t be the first time it was proposed to remove the back portion of the island and essentially fill it all in to create room for a new land that would bridge the gap between Big Thunder Mountain and the Haunted Mansion. To a lesser extent, Disneyland reworked the back-half of their own TSI to re-route the railroad closer to the water and to make room for their own Star Wars: Galactic Edge land.
    Despite the fact that Disney has confirmed their plans to go ahead and retheme Splash Mountain into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure by late 2024, they have yet to address how this New Orleans themed adventure is going to fit right in the middle of Frontierland. In Disneyland, the project is a perfect match, as their Splash Mountain is right next to the Haunted Mansion and the rest of that park’s New Orleans Square land. In the Magic Kingdom, things are a bit more complicated.
    So it does make me wonder if they might not be considering reworking the nearby back-half of Tom Sawyer’s Island to become some kind of new New Orleans themed area to help tie it all together. I know Big Thunder Mountain is still going to be right in the way of it all, but it would possibly help things along to create a mini New Orleans Square type zone near Splash… and if the river has to go, maybe it’s time to dry-dock the Liberty Bell Riverboat along the shore nearby, where they could turn it into some kind of restaurant with Creole cooking, or if the using the paddlewheeler proves impractical, they could always make a real world version of the Tiana’s Place restaurant.
    Again, this is all based on a very quiet rumor right now, but given that the D23 Expo will be taking place very soon (Sept. 9,10,11, 2022) that would be the best place to give an early announcement for this kind of project.
    (7/22/22) Disney has finally come forward with more details about the planned transformation of the current Splash Mountain attractions in Disneyland and Florida’s Magic Kingdom parks into what they are now calling Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. The plan is to convert and open both new attractions in late 2024.
    The announcements actually came from Disney reps attending the “ESSENCE Fest” in New Orleans this week, which you can see more of at the Disney Parks Blog post. As far as the attraction itself goes, they say it will serve as “a love letter to New Orleans” and be full of the music and culture of the city.
    “Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will take guests on a musical adventure inspired by the beloved story and characters from the fan-favorite film. Picking up where the film left off, guests will join Princess Tiana, Naveen and 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 film as they are brought into the next chapter of Tiana’s story.”
   I didn’t see any mention of when they planned to actually close the existing Splash Mountain rides however to begin the conversion, but I’m guessing they’re probably going to give these projects an 18-24 month timetable, so to make that late 2024 opening means each Splash Mountain will likely have to close sometime between December 2022 to May 2023. So get your last rides in while you can.
    (8/25/21) Another piece of concept art and a round-table discussion by Disney Imagineers about the plans to transform Splash Mountain into a new ride themed to The Princess and the Frog has been released. According to the talk, Tiana will invite guests to go along on an adventure with her in the bayou, so the new experience will be one where the guests are included in the action, instead of just watching the action unfold in front of them.
    (8/9/21) Curious… and sort of unusual for Disney, but a large section of scaffolding has been set up on the left side of Splash Mountain, as seen in the tweet below. As seen in the photo, Splash Mountain is also still open to guests while this is taking place. In old Disney-speak, once might call this an example of “bad show”, but others fear that perhaps the time to begin the transformation of Splash Mountain into the new Princess and The Frog edition of the ride may be coming soon.
    No timeline was ever given by Disney to perform this work, but with the 50th Anniversary celebration getting ready to start, I do find it hard to believe that they would close Splash Mountain during the celebration to perform this work instead of waiting until afterwards. Anyone know more about what’s going on here? Simply some kind of needed maintenance or something else entirely?

    (7/12/20) Various survey’s Disney has been sending out over the past week are asking guests how they feel about a number of different older attractions. Based on past rumors and whispers over the years, the majority of these attractions being discussed have long been rumored to be on the list of potential attractions for retirement due to age, low guest satisfaction numbers, or if they simply just can’t handle modern throughput requirements. A couple of interesting items reported to being on the surveys include Tom Sawyer’s Island and The Country Bear Jamboree, both of which exist in Frontierland.
    As mentioned in a previous post about the announced conversion of Splash Mountain into a Princess and the Frog themed attraction, one rumored idea being thrown around and discussed by many is the possible conversion of Frontierland into another New Orleans Square land, not unlike the one at Disneyland which sits right next to their own Splash Mountain.
    While I had previously mentioned this was an idea I had myself in the last update, I do have to correct that to say that it was an idea had by many individuals and not just myself, so I was not trying to take credit for the idea. So let us just say that this is something being discussed in many circles, as well as some very important ones. These new surveys only back up the rumors that Disney may be seriously ready to renovate the entire land into something else, leaving just Big Thunder and the Railroad station as the possible last pieces of Frontierland to remain.
    It is also interesting to consider just what the Magic Kingdom could possibly do if the back-half of the river and Tom Sawyer’s Island were removed entirely and the property used to create a new Frontierland expansion, or perhaps even an entirely new land to explore. After all, in our current world where COVID concerns are primary in everyone’s mind, a high-touch environment like Tom Sawyer’s Island may have outlived its purpose.
    (6/29/20) While no timeline was given for the announced transformation of Splash Mountain into a new Princess and The Frog themed attraction, I’ve been giving some thought as to how the experience seems to be a perfect fit for Disneyland, but couldn’t be more wrong for The Magic Kingdom. At least, it just seems wrong given the current theme of the area in front of Splash Mountain, where it will be inside the middle of Frontierland.
    This all changes however if you stop for a moment to wonder if this may just be a part of a larger overhaul that could see the old original part of Frontierland transformed to become a New Orleans Square style land, not unlike the one at Disneyland. Some of this is my own thoughts, mixed with conversations with others, but if you would retheme Frontierland from the pathway starting just past the Diamond Horseshoe all the way down to the Peco Bill’s restaurant to have a New Orleans theme, it would then fit right in with the waterfront, complete with the Liberty Belle paddlewheel boat passing by… ending with the revised Princess and the Frog themed version of Splash Mountain. Unfortunately this would shrink Frontierland down just the railroad station, Tom Sawyer’s Island and anchored by Big Thunder Mountain, but it would still work on it’s own in much the same way that Critter Country at Disneyland worked as a small land anchored by Splash Mountain and the Country Bears (with the later eventually turned into a Winnie the Pooh dark ride).
    The one downside to this concept of mine would be the loss of the Country Bears show from The Magic Kingdom, but to be honest I think the park has been looking for an excuse to retire that old attraction for ages and this might be it. Again… just something to think about… and nothing rumored… yet.
    (6/27/20) I’m not quite sure where to begin with this post, but Disney dropped a bombshell of an announcement this week that I was not really expecting. Disney announced that they are planning to retheme the Splash Mountain attractions at Disneyland and The Magic Kingdom parks to The Princess and The Frog animated film.
    I’ll let that sink in for a moment… Brer Rabbit and the whole Zippey-Do-Da-Gang are being removed, and the ride will be rethemed around the world of Princess Tiana and friends. According to the Disney Parks Blog this new story will begin just after ‘the final kiss’ from the film where riders will “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.”
    As someone who grew up and was a huge Disney park fan throughout my early years, this kind of shocked me. I’m not the biggest fan of changing some of the Disney attractions, just for the sake of change. The older the attraction is, the more of an attachment I think I might have had to it from my childhood. Case in point, I wasn’t a fan of the idea of changing the classic auction scene in Pirates to the current version where “Redd” is now a pirate.
    I do not hate the new scene, as it is well done, but like any major change, I think it just takes some getting used to the idea and seeing the new version in the end to appreciate it. After all, like many of you, I grew up for decades chanting ‘We wants the red head’, which is now only part of the Disney history books.
    I was a teenager when Splash Mountain was first built… in fact I had no idea it was even going to be a thing at all until visiting Disneyland during my Grad Nite event in 1988. I could see the huge steel structure rising into the night sky, surrounded by construction walls promoting the new ride to open in 1989. While I was already a fan of Disney parks, it was this moment that made me interested in the process of how Disney designed and built massive new attractions like these. My curiosity was sparked that night, which obviously had an effect on me for years to come.
    So understand me when I say that upon first seeing the announcement this week, I probably dropped an F-bomb in disbelief. It didn’t help that a few weeks ago some news outlets were reporting that there was an online petition of activists asking Disney to do this very thing, but according to Disney this is actually a project that the Imagineers “have been working on since last year”.
    I’m still surprised… but not entirely. Splash Mountain always had a rather interesting choice of IP in using the characters and theme from the film, The Song of the South. This is the one film that Disney has chosen to lock away in their vaults forever, with no plans to ever release it again, not even on Disney+. The 1946 film is a mix of live action and animated segments set in the old South following the end of the American Cival War and the abolishment of slavery. The film became criticized over the years since then due to the depiction of the Southern African-American characters and their animated counterparts as being potentially racist or offensive.
    Despite this, the IP was tapped as the theme to build not just one, but three Splash Mountain attractions at Disney parks across the world. The original Splash Mountain opened in Summer 1989 in California followed by another in Walt Disney World in 1992 and a third at Tokyo Disneyland, also in 1992. There is no reference to the film at all, and the ride seeks to tell its story through the various animated characters from the film mixed with some new friends, that were actually retired Animatronic figures from Disneyland’s America Sings attraction. It is safe to say that the attraction has been a smash hit for Disney parks ever since, and as the ride system itself is staying, it will continue to do so, even with a new theme.  The attraction was designed to carry riders through the various scenes accompanied by a fantastic musical soundtrack, so I can easily see how it can be rethemed and ‘plussed’ by Imagineering in this endeavor. If you take a look at the concept art you can see the classic look of Splash Mountain will be altered to look more green and lush, especially at the top of the drop where the old tree stump will now become Mama Odie’s House, featuring a full tree holding the broken boat high in the branches above where the logs emerge and take their plunge.
    As a concept, I can easily see how many aspects of the current Splash Mountain layout and scenes can be changed to The Princess and The Frog. The report that this all takes place after the “last kiss” does make me hope that they can somehow include the return of Dr. Facilier (aka: The Shadow Man) as I’d love to see the scenes in the belly of Splash Mountain’s from the mid-drop up to the approach to the big drop be given over to create a scene with the voodoo man and the forces from “the other side”. Of course we all know the ending scene of Splash Mountain with the River Boat will probably be kept and updated to be a Mardi Gras celebration with Tiana and Louis, which is only fitting.
    So with all this in mind, I can see how the overall ride experience may actually be improved here by going forward with a new theme. I know how tempting it is to say you wont like it just because it isn’t the ride you grew up with, but look at just how many people seem to enjoy the Guardians of the Galaxy version of the former Twilight Zone attraction at Disney California Adventure now. Many say that the Guardians version was a dramatic improvement over California’s Twilight Zone version, so we really will just need to wait and see what happens.
    My only final thoughts here have more to do with the overall theming of the lands and such involved. Clearly changing Splash Mountain to now have a New Orleans theme in Disneyland is a no brainer, as the modified look of the new attraction will fit right like a glove positioned next to The Haunted Mansion there, creating an extension of the existing New Orleans Square theming, and leaving Pooh at the solitary inhabitant of Critter Country. In Walt Disney World however, the change is going to be a bit more disturbing to the current theming of that park where Splash Mountain is set smack in the middle of Frontierland, positioned between Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the Frontierland buildings that are home to The Country Bears attraction and the Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe. I don’t have a solution or answer to this particular issue, so I’m curious to see how WDI will address it.
    It is also interesting to note that, for now at least, Splash Mountain will live on in Japan, as there has been no plans posted to update or change the version at Tokyo DIsneyland at this time. At this point in time, Disney has given no time-table as to when we may expect to see this transformation process begin at either park, but hopefully there will be time to have a few more final rides on Splash Mountain before the old version is gone for good. (Now if maybe Disneyland can work in a plan to modify their trough system to use the same double-wide boats that WDW uses, that would be great as well...)


2024/2025?? - Pirates Lounge - (9/9/2023) According to DestinattionD23, A new “Pirates of the Caribbean-themed lounge” will be coming to Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom.


icon_STOP???? - Beyond Big Thunder - Future Expansion Concept - (4/10/2024) Consider this another “Wild Rumor” for the time being, but there is an interesting rumor floating around out there about one possible mega addition that could be added to the Magic Kingdom theme park as part of the Beyond Big Thunder expansion.
    Unlike the addition of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure being added smack in the middle of of Frontierland, this one actually makes a bit more sense, and would visually tie in as a pleasing extension of the Big Thunder Mountain landscaping if it is true. The idea being whispered would see a copy of the Radiator Springs Racers ride from Cars Land at Disney California Adventure added in as a major new attraction just behind Big Thunder Mountain. The towering rock structures and high desert themed canyon walls that surround the attraction space would be a near perfect match for an attraction positioned next to Big Thunder, as well as providing a sizable physical barrier along the backside of the park, blocking the view of the outside world beyond, much as the California version blocks out the view of Anaheim's many hotels lying just beyond the park’s perimeter.
    The idea is a good one, as it would provide yet another high capacity E-Ticket attraction into this corner of the park, which traditionally was always a very busy one as thrill seekers would bounce back and forth between Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain. Another interesting aspect is that the Walt Disney World Railroad could also potentially be re-worked and incorporated to travel through the Radiator Springs landscape as well.
    (4/4/2024) According to a post over at WDWMagic, a Disney exec confirmed that the initial permits to begin work on a “Beyond Big Thunder” expansion of the Magic Kingdom would likely be filed soon. Don’t count on knowing what is happening yet, these should just be plans regarding water management on the site, but it should give us a clearer view of the property to be used for the expansion.
    Some initial concept art shared at a D23 Expo shows off a land that might include some themed spaces for Disney Villains as well as Coco and Encanto, but I’d suspect those plans have probably changes a little since then. Especially since the house from Encato was last seen in artwork for a transformation of the Dinoland area over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom instead.





Track Record

Magic Kingdom
Orlando, Florida
Walt Disney Theme Parks

Abbreviation: MK
Opened: October 1st, 1971

Prices are now “Seasonal Based” with Value, Regular and Peak Day Pricing

The park is open Year Round

Newest Attractions:
2023 - Tron Lightcycle/Run

2014 - Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

2013 - A Pirate’s Adventure
Princess Fairytale Hall

2012 - Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, Storybook Circus, New Fantasyland

2011 - Haunted Mansion Queue & Finale Update and  Enchanted Tiki Room

2010 - Electrical Parade Returns, Space Mt Audio

2009 - New Hall of Presidents,
Space Mountain Renovation

2007 - Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor, Haunted Mansion Rehab



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