Why Prince Harry Will Miss Splash Mountain More Than Most

prince harry splash mountain closure disney world

There’s been a real “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” about the recent closure of the iconic Splash Mountain attraction at Walt Disney World.

The log flume has been a fan-favorite for years, and now, The Princess and the Frog (2009) is replacing the Magic Kingdom ride when Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opens in 2024.

While many Disney fans are excited to see Princess Tiana and Naveen in the Walt Disney World Resort (and later at Disneyland), some Splash Mountain fans had been petitioning for the ride to stay themed to the controversial movie Song of the South (1946) since its closure was announced in 2020. Some have even been selling Splash Mountain ride water in jars on eBay!

It seems, however, that Prince Harry – who recently revealed many personal and Royal Family secrets in his new book, Spare – has a more sentimental reason for missing Disney’s Splash Mountain.

splash-mountain disney world

Credit: Disney

The iconic Frontierland attraction closed permanently on January 22, 2023, to make way for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, and many fans were not happy to see the end of Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Fox, and Br’er Bear from the controversial movie Song of the South. The movie that Splash Mountain is based on has been criticized for its depictions of race relations in the South.

As a result of the film’s controversial (and some would say “racist”) legacy, Disney has not released Song of the South in any home video format in the United States, and the film has never been available on its streaming platform Disney+.

With the Walt Disney Company striving for a more “inclusive” environment, it is only fitting that Splash Mountain be a part of this movement then. With its subtle references to Song of the South and the connotations these bring, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will breathe new life into the log flume – and fittingly star Disney’s first African American princess.

And with the recent loss of Splash Mountain literally “splashed” all over the internet, it would seem that the world has heard about its closure – maybe even the British Royal Family, including Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Splash Mountain WDW

Credit: Disney

It was back in 1993 when Prince Harry visited the theme parks with his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, and brother, Prince William.

Princess Diana took her sons to Walt Disney World in August 1993 for three days, on a Disney vacation that Prince Harry told Good Morning America holds “very, very happy memories” for him.

“There’s all sorts of places over the world where we were very lucky to have those moments with our mother; and very, very happy memories,” Harry said of himself and his brother, Prince William.

After the controversy of his recent Netflix series Harry & Meghan and autobiography Spare, both of which have resulted in debated opinions on Meghan, the British Royals, and the new King Charles, the Duke of Sussex has revealed many personal stories relating to his life as a “spare” heir of the British throne.

But it appears one of his “happy memories” lies in Walt Disney World, particularly, on the beloved Disney attraction Splash Mountain.

princess diana prince harry william splash mountain

Credit: Reuters

Just look at this Splash Mountain ride photo of Diana and Harry! Prince Harry is in the front row, ready to get splashed, while Princess Diana is located in the back row on the right, presumably attempting to prevent getting soaked! Princess Diana was apparently fond of Splash Mountain, but maybe not of the getting wet part.

Princess Diana’s visit with her sons amidst her divorce in 1993 was discussed on the ABC special, “The Most Magical Story on Earth: 50 Years of Walt Disney World,” hosted by Whoopi Goldberg.

Former VIP tour guide, Tracy Donaldson, discussed the moment he greeted them upon their arrival in Florida on a British Airways flight. Donaldson noted that Diana and her children stayed at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, having the entire fifth floor to themselves. Her former bodyguard, Ken Wharfe, was also interviewed for the ABC special, and said the family was given “an extraordinary suite of rooms.”

mickey waffles disney world

Credit: Disney Tips

In an amusing tidbit, it was revealed that the famous Mickey Mouse-shaped waffles surprised Prince William. According to Donaldson, their Disney Resort breakfasts included fruit, bacon, scrambled eggs, and Disney World’s famous waffles, of which Wharfe explained;

“I remember William saying, ‘What are those?’ and Diana said, ‘They’re waffles. Don’t tell your father about it,'” 

Lucky Princes William and Harry were also Guests at the Disney World’s Fort Wilderness Resort dinner show – the beloved Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue. According to Wharfe, William and Harry thought the experience was “fantastic” — so much so that William apparently raised his hand when Cast Members asked for volunteers.

The Royal trio experienced Country Bear Jamboree, the Jungle Cruise, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, but what attractions really got their attention? None other than the other Disney mountains: Space Mountain and Splash Mountain.

splash mountain prince william

Credit: Reuters

Prince Harry, in an interview with People, remembered riding Space Mountain “12 or 14 times.” He said he even recalled that his security guard “had to get off and vomit over the bench.”

In the ABC special commemorating Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary, the Duke of Sussex explained that “It’s one of my very, very happy memories, of going to Disney World with my mum. I went on Space Mountain 14 times. I was like, ‘This is absolutely fantastic. This is the best thing ever.'”

Back in May 2016, Prince Harry returned to Walt Disney World nearly 22 years after he visited the Magic Kingdom theme park with his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, and Prince William.

Harry went to Magic Kingdom after attending the U.S. vs. U.K. sitting volleyball match at the Invictus Games, held at the nearby ESPN World Wide of Sports Complex. He spent a little less than one hour at the Disney Park, and what rides did he do? Well, of course, Splash Mountain and Space Mountain!


Credit: Disney

It is yet to be known whether Prince Harry intends to visit Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, or Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme parks with his wife, Meghan Markle, and children Archie and Lilibet, but we’d love to think he’d take them on the new Splash Mountain when it reopens as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

Maybe one day we’ll see Harry and William reconcile and visit Walt Disney World together on a trip to remember their 1993 trip with Diana, alongside Princess Catherine, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.

What’s clear, though, is that Splash Mountain has a special place in Prince Harry and Prince William’s hearts.

About Melissa Cannioto

Melissa is an author, adventurer, and chatterbox, who has worked at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, and Adventures by Disney! A British native, she has traveled the world seeking new experiences, and now resides in Florida with her husband, an Air Force pilot. Find her children's book at