Last week the penny dropped at Walt Disney World and the announcement we all knew was coming eventually finally arrived. Splash Mountain will be closing at Magic Kingdom in January for it’s total overhaul into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. Conspicuous by its absence, however, was an announcement regarding the Disneyland version of the ride. But we may now know why it won’t be closing in January, because another E-ticket attraction is set to close for refurbishment in January.
Over the weekend the Disneyland website revealed that Indiana Jones Adventure, aka Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, will be closing down for refurbishment on January 9, with plans to reopen in the spring. Without a specific reopening date, it looks like the ride will be undergoing a significant overhaul, which is probably good, because the Indiana Jones ride has been struggling for quite some time.
While not specifically stated, it’s quite likely that the need to refurb Indiana Jones may be directly related to the decision that Disneyland’s Splash Mountain won’t be closing at the same time as Walt Disney World. Both attractions are highly popular, of the “E-Ticket” variety, and they’re not far from each other. Taking down two rides that tend to see a lot of guests, that are close to each other, would mean there would be a lot less reason for guests to go to one side of the park, potentially resulting in massive overcrowding in the rest of Disneyland, something that Disneyland would likely want to avoid.
With the fifth Indiana Jones movie, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny finally opening this summer, there will likely be renewed interest in the Indiana Jones attraction later this year, so getting it back into shape ahead of those crowds makes a lot of sense. And since Splash Mountain’s update is going to take a lot longer to complete, it would seem that the strategy is to get Indy polished up, then close Splash once Indy is back up and running.
And since Disneyland clearly doesn’t know exactly how long fixing Indy will take, since there’s no date more specific than spring, they can’t announce a closure for Splash Mountain yet. It’s unlikely that the closure will be confirmed until a month or two before it happens anyway.
Both the Disney World and Disneyland versions of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure are currently set for a late 2024 grand opening. While the expectation was that both rides would close and reopen in close proximity, that no longer looks to be the case. Certainly, any date in the second half of the year would qualify as late 2024, so it could be that we could see Magic Kingdom’s ride open in the late summer or early fall, with Disneyland’s following closer to the end of the year.