Disneyland delays reopen, overhauls Splash Mountain

(The new Princess and the Frog ride)

With COVID-19 spiking sharply in California – the state broke a record Tuesday with an increase of more than 7,000 cases in a day – Disneyland has decided to delay plans to reopen its southern California parks until state officials issue guidance on how theme parks can allow visitors back, The Walt Disney Company said on Wednesday.

“We previously announced a proposed phased reopening of our theme parks for July 17, pending government approvals… The State of California has now indicated that it will not issue theme park reopening guidelines until sometime after July 4. Given the time required for us to bring thousands of cast members back to work and restart our business, we have no choice but to delay the reopening of our theme parks and resort hotels until we receive approval from government officials,” said a statement on the website.

The company had planned to open both Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure parks on July 17. Those openings, and plans to reopen resort hotels, are delayed indefinitely.

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When guests eventually do return to the Disneyland, they will find that classic ride Splash Mountain has been shut down (in Disney World as well), and will be revamped.

The ride, which is Inspired by 1946 movie Song of the South, is controversial in its glossed over portrayal of slavery, and has never been made available on home video or included on Disney+.

Recently, a Change.org petition has called for Disney to rebrand Splash Mountain, and that’s now happening with an overhaul which will see it borrow material from 2009’s The Princess and the Frog.

According to Disney, the ride will pick up with that story after the final kiss, and joins 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.

“It is really exciting to know that Princess Tiana’s presence in both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom will finally be fully realized,” the voice of Princess Tiana, and Tony Award-winning actress, Anika Noni Rose said. “As passionate as I am about what we created, I know the fans are going to be over the moon. The Imagineers are giving us ‘The Princess and the Frog’ Mardi Gras celebration we’ve been waiting for, and I’m here for it!”

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Here is an artist’s rendition of the  The Princess and the Frog ride below:

Charita Carter, the senior creative producer leading the project at Walt Disney Imagineering shared, “Like Princess Tiana, I believe that courage and love are the key ingredients for wonderful adventures. I am delighted to be a part of bringing this fun-filled experience to our guests.”

It is unclear when work on the rides will be completed.

SOURCE: Disney