Disney Parks News Roundup: Splash Mountain Closing Date at WDW, Magic Happens Return Date

This has been an eventful week for Disney Parks news and I’m catching up after being sick! The news from the week included two dates – the closing of Splash Mountain on January 23rd at Walt Disney World and the return of the daytime parade, Magic Happens, on February 24th at Disneyland. In this post, we’ll cover the news and add in a little of our own commentary!

We’ll start with the Splash Mountain news. January 23rd is just around the corner and there’s little time for fans to make a last ride effort to get to WDW. Of course, guests could try for Disneyland as that attraction will close a little later (sometime in the spring). I’m not sure if this means that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, Splash’s replacement, will open on the east coast before the west coast or not.

Brer Fox & Rabbit Splash Mountain MK

Without diving into the politics of closing Splash Mountain, I’m not all that surprised that Disney isn’t dragging out the time in between the closing announcement and the actual closing date. The Song of the South topic is messy and Disney has already, and rightfully, addressed it simply by deciding to change the attraction. I don’t think they want to drag this out and having a ‘Splash Mountain Sendoff’ would spit in the face of the reason it’s closing in the first place.

That said, a month and a half before closing does give some people enough time to say goodbye. As I said when they announced that the attraction would close over two years ago, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with people enjoying Splash Mountain. It remains one of my favorite attractions even though I support the change. I’m sure many guests will go and say goodbye. Just don’t expect the actual Disney company to make a big deal out of the closing date.

Splash Mountain hut MK

As for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, there were a few details revealed along with some more concept art. Let’s take a look!

Below is a first look at a new scene and some of the brand-new characters created specifically for this attraction. In Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, you’ll join Princess Tiana and jazz-loving alligator Louis during Mardi Gras season as they prepare to host a one-of-a-kind celebration for the people of New Orleans. This new scene is the moment you first drop into the bayou and encounter some friends both new and familiar.  

As you can see here, fireflies will light up the night and invite you deeper into the bayou. What you can’t tell from this rendering is that zydeco music will fill the air. Zydeco is a special blend of rhythm and blues that was born in Louisiana, and when you hear it, you’ll feel like you’ve truly stepped into Tiana’s world.

Here you’ll find Louis, who explains where this amazing music is coming from. Tiana made some new friends out here – a band full of adorable critters, including an otter, a rabbit, a racoon, a beaver, a turtle and others. The band members sing and play instruments made of natural materials they found in the bayou.

Swamp Boys Splash Mountain queue MK

That scene illustrated looks to be taking the spot of the Laughing Place. There are certainly nods to Splash Mountain even in the different pieces of concept art with all of the critters. The band up above made me crack a smile, thanking about the alligator band in Splash Mountain’s finale. I hope those animatronics find a home! We’ll be sure to update as there are more details on Splash Mountain and Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

Magic Happens Returning February 24th

The other piece of news is that Disneyland finally has a return date for their daytime parade. Magic Happens will be back on February 24th and I’m very excited to see it. The parade debuted a few short weeks before the pandemic before sitting in storage for over two years. I really enjoyed the parade, you can read my review here.

Miguel Coco float Magic Happens DL

The first few months of 2023 will be busy at Disneyland. Resort Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, a new firework show at Disneyland and a new World of Color will all debut on January 27th for Disney’s 100th anniversary celebration. Mickey’s Toontown will return on March 8th! All of that is intermixed with California Adventure’s Lunar New Year Festival beginning on January 20th, Magic Happens on February 24th, and Food & Wine at DCA starting on March 3rd.

By my count, that will be the most active Disneyland Resort will have been since pre-pandemic. All of those things are reason to get excited and if I was to recommend a time to travel for out-of-staters, I’d probably tell people to come in March or April if you’re able to avoid the busy spring break weeks. That way you’d get all of the additions along with Food & Wine!

Mickey wand Magic Happens DL

That’s it for the news! What do you think of these announcements? Let us know in the comments. Planning a Disney trip? Check out our Travel Guides to help you along the way! Thank you for reading Wandering in Disney.  Please subscribe to the blog and like our social media pages, all of which you can do on the right side of the page. Have a wonderful day!

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