Disney World Brings Back Ride Many Thought Was Gone for Good

Over the past few years, Disney World has overhauled some of its more popular rides in order to bring them more in line with the modern world. “Jungle Cruise” got a major update, for example, when the movie version of the ride starring Dwayne “The Rock”  Johnson got released in 2021.

The company didn’t make a huge deal about the changes (as a lot of people get mad when classic rides are updated), but it’s fair to say that the changes were significant. Walt Disney (DIS) – Get Free Report also made some changes to its “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride to make it less sexist.  

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Disney has also begun remaking the former “Splash Mountain” at both Disney World and Disneyland into “Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.” In the revamp, the ride will no longer be themed to “Song of the South,” a film that “Bob Iger told shareholders in 2020 was “’just not appropriate in today’s world,’ which “employed racist tropes and painted a rosy picture of race relations in the antebellum South,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Now, the ride, which will retain the same basic log flume experience, will be themed to “The Princess and the Frog,” a 2009 Disney animated film. Disney has also removed the song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” which was also featured in “Song of the South,” from its parades and in-park soundtracks.

Disney has made some changes very publicly and others quietly, but usually when a ride closes for a long time, and that ride has questionable source material, that usually means a change is coming. That’s why it’s surprising that Disney closed one of its most popular roller coasters early this year for an extensive overhaul but did not change its theme.

Work is being done now on “Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.”

Image source: Walt Disney

Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster Returns

While Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster Featuring Aerosmith opened in 1999, a year when the rock band was a lot more popular than it is now. Fading popularity of the ride’s source material would have been reason enough alone to make a change, but Aerosmith also comes with some added baggage these days.

Lead singer Steven Tyler also faces resurfaced decades-old allegations that he assaulted a minor. Tyler has denied those charges, according to Billboard and the band is currently on a long “final” tour.

It was widely speculated that Disney would use the extended closure of Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster to either eliminate Aerosmith or at least downplay its role in the ride. That has not happened.  

Disney’s Hollywood Studios has begun a soft relaunch of Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, and it’s still very clearly featuring Aerosmith.

Hollywood Studios Roller Coaster Keeps Its Aerosmith Theme

Disney has not shared a formal relaunch date for Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, but it has been open on a “soft” basis during the busy Memorial Day weekend. It does not appear in the Genie+ app, but you can wait in line to ride the roller coaster.

The company uses a soft launch to manage expectations. For anyone who gets a chance to ride Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, it will be a bonus rather than an expected part of their trip. That way, if the ride has extended downtimes, people won’t be as disappointed as they would have been once a formal reopening is announced.

People have, however, been able to ride Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster and the experience is unchanged.

“During the closure, the attraction interior received a much-needed refresh of the glow-in-the-dark paint and all-new lighting. The experience remains the same — a twisting and turning high-speed stretch limo as we rush to an Aerosmith concert,” BlogMickey reported.

Disney basically gave the ride a cosmetic refresh but did not change the theme or Aerosmith’s involvement in any way.

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