Disney has just announced that Walt Disney Imagineering is at work to reimagine Splash Mountain at Disneyland and Walt Disney World to the fan-favorite Walt Disney Animation Studios film The Princess and the Frog. The story picks up after the final, magical kiss in the movie, and follows Tiana and Louis as they prepare for their first Mardi Gras performance. The project will be led by Imagineer Charita Carter, who recently oversaw (with Kevin Rafferty) the creation of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and will include some of the incredible music from the Academy Award-nominated movie.
In a new interview with Bob Weis, president of Walt Disney Imagineering, D23 ventured into what this announcement means for other Imagineering projects on the horizon.
In the interview, Weis stated:
We have separate project teams working on these efforts, but we are still evaluating project timelines based on the extended closures we’ve experienced due to COVID-19. While several projects, like Avengers Campus—at both Disney California Adventure and Disneyland Paris—are able to surge forward based on where we were in development, there are others that will be picked back up in stages—like Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and TRON—and some that are longer-term that we will need more time to assess. We are working with our operations partners now to determine timing for this project to get under way. For now, we know that both Magic Kingdom and Disneyland parks will re-open with the existing Splash Mountain attraction.
While projects like Avengers Campus are still moving along schedule, it seems Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disneyland Park and TRON Lightcycle Run at the Magic Kingdom will be moving forward in “stages” in terms of completion, meaning TRON may miss its deadline in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary, and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway may have to be once again postponed from its 2022 opening date. Undisclosed “longer term” projects will also be impacted.
Earlier this year, it was announced that there’d be a $900 million decrease in CAPEX spending anticipated for FY20, mostly due to postponed construction and refurbishment projects during the closure of the Disney Parks around the world.