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West Orange Times & Observer Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021 2 months ago

Disney's reimagined Splash Mountain and World Princess Week

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New details released for 'The Princess and the Frog' makeover.
by: Annabelle Sikes Staff Writer

Walt Disney World released new details for their Splash Mountain makeover in a video on Monday. 

The video update came just in time to kick off Disney's first-ever World Princess Week, which began Monday, Aug. 23. 

New experiences across the parks will include a brand-new Tiana-themed playground at Epcot, a Princess Promenade at Disney Springs, special themed sweets inspired by Disney princesses and more. 

The transformation, first announced in June 2020, will replace the current ride theme based on Uncle Remus Br’er Rabbit story from the studio’s controversial 1946 film Song of the South, with a more recent film, 'The Princess and the Frog,' which gave the world its first black Disney princess.

The ride has been one of the most popular among the parks' since first opening in Disneyland in 1989 and 1992 in Walt Disney World.

Disney Imagineering Senior Creative Producer Charita Carter, who is steering the parks’ Princess Tiana project, said that her team is working hard to create an immersive experience for visitors and even went on several research trips to New Orleans to make sure the final product does the city justice.

“We want our guests who are from all places around the world to say, OK, this is a really special place,'” Carter said. “But it’s also important for our guests who come from New Orleans to say, ‘Yes. This is my home. They did it. They got it right.’ And that’s why we’re so diligent in our research.”

Visitors will travel with Tiana, Naveen and Louis as they prepare for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance featuring songs from the film as well as new music inspired by the soundtrack.

Disney has also committed a $50,000 donation to the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, a "regional, pre-professional arts training center that offers students intensive instruction in culinary arts, dance, media arts: filmmaking & audio production, music (classical, jazz, vocal), theatre arts (drama, musical theatre, theatre design), visual arts, and creative writing, while demanding simultaneous academic excellence," according to the NOCCA website. 

Carter said that in addition to contributions from Disney Animation, the ride will also feature a next-generation audio-animatronic character that "raises the bar technologically over those used in other Disney attractions."

However, the ride’s old track system featuring a float-thru indoor boat ride that ends with a 50-foot log-flume-style drop won’t be changed from its Splash Mountain configuration, she said.

For a complete list of ongoing updates, visit the Walt Disney World website. 

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Annabelle Sikes is a staff writer at the West Orange Times & Observer, Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com. She graduated in May 2021 from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in sociology.  Her past...

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