Disney World's Splash Mountain Is Permanently Closed

Fans hoping to take a five-story plunge during their next trip to Disney are out of luck. On Sunday, following intense backlash over the ride's racist themes and after first announcing in 2020 that the ride would be reimagined, Splash Mountain in Disney World's Magic Kingdom closed for good.

The controversial ride made its final run on Sunday, drawing massive crowds. According to Thrill Data, fans waited upwards of three hours to take one last ride on the attraction, and wait times had been higher than average for the past month. As the closure neared, a Change.org petition was also created "to save Splash Mountain and keep it as it is in Magic Kingdom and Disneyland." The petition has garnered nearly 100,000 signatures from those blasting "Disney haters" and wanting to show their "support and let Disney know that you want Splash Mountain to stay exactly the way it is!" Meanwhile, the ride's closure has also prompted a wave of unusual mementos to appear online, with several listings for "Splash Mountain Water" appearing on online auction sites, including one listing that requests a starting bid of $5,000.

First opening in Disney World in 1992, three years after the Disneyland counterpart opened, Splash Mountain is based on Song of the South, which was released in theaters in 1986. The film is set on a Georgia plantation after the Civil War, with the NAACP saying that the film depicts an "idyllic master-slave relationship which is a distortion of the facts." The ride attempted to avoid the controversial aspects of the film by only focusing on the characters B'rer Rabbit, B'rer Bear and B'rer Fox, and used songs from the film.

Amid controversy surrounding the ride, Disney announced in 2020 that it would close Splash Mountain. While Splash Mountain may be shuttered for good, the ride isn't gone permanently. Disney will reimagine the ride before reopening it as Tiana's Bayou Adventure, based on the hit film The Princess and the Frog. Riders will be taken back to the year 1927, when Tiana is hosting a party for the people of New Orleans. She will need riders' help to find a missing ingredient. Members of the original cast will be reprising their voices as their characters for the attraction, with Bruno Campos returning as Prince Naveen, Michael Leon Wooley voicing Louis, Jenifer Lewis voicing Mama Odie, and Anika Noni Rose voicing Princess Tiana. The redesign is a continuation of Disney's "longstanding history of updating attractions and adding new magic," according to the original announcement.