Walt Disney Imagineering to Continue Work “In Stages” for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disneyland and TRON Lightcycle Run; Other Projects to be Reassessed, Possibly Delayed

Jessica Figueroa

TRON Lightcycle Run Construction

Walt Disney Imagineering to Continue Work “In Stages” for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disneyland and TRON Lightcycle Run; Other Projects to be Reassessed, Possibly Delayed

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 postponed from its expected 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.

13 thoughts on “Walt Disney Imagineering to Continue Work “In Stages” for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disneyland and TRON Lightcycle Run; Other Projects to be Reassessed, Possibly Delayed”

  1. I’m for the retheme of Splash Mountain. Yes, yes, “but it’s a classic!” – but the movie it’s based on will not even be available on Disney+ to watch. How are kids supposed to make the connection unless they’re able to see the source material? Keep things relevant and accessible for viewing.

    • Why do they have to “make a connection”? Are we not allowed to have originality in the parks? Maybe we should just axe every other original element of the parks so that kids can “make a connection”. Not a valid argument. You don’t need to watch the movie to appreciate the ride, story or characters. I loved it as a kid and had no idea what Song of the South was.

    • Keep things relevant? You mean like how a story set in New Orleans (a movie that was filled with stereotypes too, btw, but people just choose to ignore them) is in an area of the park themed around the wild west? Guess they’re removing Big Thunder too, and the Mark Twain riverboat, and Tom Sawyer Island.

      • You’re on the wrong side of the park Robert – at least in Disneyland. Splash Mountain is technically in Critter Country, but is right next to the The Haunted Mansion, in New Orleans Square. I’ve never been to WDW but for DLR it’s seamless and appropriate theming.

      • Splash mountain takes place in Georgia, even further away from the wild west so what’s your new complaint.

      • But… The Mark Twain Riverboat and Tom Sawyer Island are both themed for the Mississippi River… which runs through New Orleans.

        Even Splash Mountain is based off of Song of the SOUTH. The movie is set in Georgia, hardly the wild west.

        If anything, Thunder Mountain is the one that’s out of place.

        However, I also don’t believe that one must watch the source material to understand Splash Mountain, nor do I think it holds any meaningful references to Song of the South. Does it NEED to be rethemed? I personally don’t think so. But I am looking forward to the upcoming changes.

    • This change is nessasary to dtay relevant in society. Disney is not stupid. Just like EPCOTs (Future World) is no longer relevant . Disney has had to rethink how to keep the parks relevant and maintained. It use to get corperations to “SPONSER” attractions. There for paying and maintaining for attractions. Not so today! We live in the “Information Age” and corperations d ont need to rely on sponsering a Disney attraction that pulls in millions of viewers. Today Company’s bennifit greatly just from Social Media and hence the need for Disney to stay relevant to what happening in our socieity on social matters. Growth means moving forward and change is the only thing constant!

  2. This is so stupid to rehome splash mountain which is a classic and if the will retheme it then all e mickey shows got to go then because all the music is used daily in all the stage shows and princess and the frog is just as racist as song of the south, because you could not own a business back then look up the time period , so your replacing one thing for another

  3. I don’t know what is “rasiast” about any of this. Is it racism to say that a large portion of the Chinese have different eyes than Americans? Is it racism to show Japanese architecture in Japanese films? Is it racism for a story that an old black man tells, authentically true to the period and a benchmark that highlights the progress made suseptible to white washing? Apparently so.

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