An Imagineer has shed a little more light on Walt Disney World’s planned makeover of Splash Mountain into an attraction themed to “The Princess and the Frog.”
Charita Carter, executive producer of relevancy activations, talked with Essence about the prime Magic Kingdom real estate that will spotlight Tiana, Disney’s first Black princess.
“We are building upon what was done with the animated film. We’re telling a next chapter story,” Carter told Essence. “We have this beautiful opportunity to give the character of Tiana depth and a dimensional space. I’m honored and excited. And I just feel like, ‘Yes, I’m ready. Let’s do this.’”
The magazine says the ride will be a “love letter” to New Orleans, where the 2009 film is set. The Big Easy also holds the key to the next chapter in the development of the ride as Disney plans to announce additional details about the project at the Essence Festival of Culture there next month.
Carter did not share Disney’s timeline for the remake, which was announced in June 2020. Splash Mountain is still operating at Magic Kingdom and at Disneyland, where it will also be re-imagined from its theme tied to “The Song of the South.” Anika Noni Rose, who gave voice to Tiana in the animated film, recently said on a national TV talk show, that the ride would open in 2024.
Disney responded with a statement indicating the timing has not been determined for the attractions and to stay tuned for details in July.
When the project was announced, Disney said the attraction would be modeled after the events of the film and have a Mardi Gras theme. Original music will be incorporated, Disney has said. Concept art for the attraction released so far includes Louis the alligator and Prince Naveen paddling a boat while Tiana stands and leads the way with a lantern.
Carter, who also worked on Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, told Essence she was honored to be working on the “Frog” front.
“It’s hard work. And yes, I am nervous because I feel every day the weight of what it is that we are doing,” she said. “But we have put together an amazing team of people. We are working with so many consultants and just really encouraging everybody who is touching this attraction to be curious, and to be humble and be open to learning, expanding on ways that we can tell this story.”
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