Josh D’Amaro, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products talked to CNN about the changes coming to Splash Mountain as Disney has announced they are going to retheme the attraction away from the controversial ‘Song of the South’ film and into ‘Princess and the Frog.’
He was asked what role the Black Lives Matter protests and conversations played into the announcement. His reply is as follows:
“We actually have been working on it for well over a year. In fact, I was a part of those conversations over a year ago. Listen, our stories evolve all the time. I mean, back from when Walt started Disneyland back in 1955, he stated that if we would continue to evolve our stories, that they’re never ending, that they’ll always be contemporary. And I think that that’s what you’re seeing with Splash Mountain.
I keep using the same word, but I’m really proud of this team and what we’re doing on this front. I think Splash Mountain, no doubt, is a sacred attraction to many of our guests. And I think you’re going to love what we’re doing in making the attraction even more contemporary.“
This comes as no surprise to us, if you’ve watched our videos either on PNP or Clownfish TV, we’ve said this was not a new idea. The rumor had been floating around for awhile and the artwork took longer than a week to do. They just used the opportunity presented to put it out there and show they planned on following words with actions. But the plan was not because of the current issues.
It is interesting that he said that “…he stated that if we would continue to evolve our stories, that they’re never ending, that they’ll always be contemporary.” This could apply to the rumored list of “problematic” attractions that Disney wants to “update” for “contemporary sensibilities.” Attractions on the rumored list include: Peter Pan’s Flight, Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, Carousel of Progress, Country Bear Jamboree, Hall of Presidents, and American Adventure.
When will this happen?
That is another question we haven’t gotten answers to yet. So far it seems to be mostly “Blue Sky” artwork and frankly Disney might not have the funds to do much right now. They already have many projects in development. EPCOT’s Future World “Spine” area is one giant construction zone. Then there are the new rides coming like Tron Lightcycle Power Run, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Those are still in progress. There are a couple new hotels like Reflections- A Disney Lakeside Lodge and the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser that are in progress too. This doesn’t count all the other changes scheduled for EPCOT and the Magic Kingdom head of the anniversary celebration next year.
The rumors are already swirling about cancellations or indefinitely postponements on projects that were already moving forward due to lack of funds. Disney had a disappointing earnings call for the 2nd quarter and they were open at least part of that. This 3rd quarter had no domestic parks open and no new movie releases, the parks and film make up a large part of their income.
I don’t expect the changes to happen really soon. They said they are coming, but they are likely not far along in the process and they have other, more pressing changes, they need to clean up first. It’s also rumored that D’Amaro wants to give a bit of time for people to ride the current version again before it’s gone, but again, that’s rumor.
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