Disneyland closes Critter Country during Splash Mountain renovation – Orange County Register

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Princess Tiana’s takeover of Critter Country will expand further into the Hundred Acre Wood when the Winnie the Pooh and Brer Rabbit shops are pushed out of the neighborhood to make more room for retail space themed to the 2009 “Princess and the Frog” animated film.

Disneyland will temporarily close Critter Country on May 1 to reimagine two retail shops as Louis’ Critter Club and Ray’s Berets.

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The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh dark ride will be closed May 1 to 11 during construction, according to MousePlanet. The Hungry Bear restaurant will remain open during the renovation work.

Louis’ Critter Club will take over the half of Pooh Corner closest to the former Splash Mountain log ride while Ray’s Berets will replace the Briar Patch shop. The half of Pooh Corner closest to the Winnie the Pooh attraction will remain as a candy shop.

The new Tiana’s Bayou Adventure attraction will replace the former Splash Mountain ride in the fall or winter of 2024 once renovation work is complete.

Concept art of Ray's Berets retail shop in Critter Country at Disneyland. (Courtesy of Disneyland)
Concept art of Ray’s Berets retail shop in Critter Country at Disneyland. (Courtesy of Disneyland)

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Louis’ Critter Club — named for the animated film’s jazz-loving alligator — will offer apparel, accessories and home decor themed to the audio-animatronic critters in Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

Ray’s Berets — named for the film’s Cajun firefly — will sell hats, clothes, toys and accessories themed to the new Princess Tiana attraction.

Disney’s first Black princess has already made her imprint on New Orleans Square where the Tiana’s Palace restaurant and Eudora’s Chic Boutique shop have opened.

The reimagining of the Splash Mountain ride removes thematic elements related to “Song of the South” — the controversial 1940s animated film criticized for perpetuating racist stereotypes that has been disowned by Disney.

Retheming the Briar Patch — named for Brer Rabbit’s trap in the Uncle Remus stories — removes the last remaining reminder of the “Song of the South” from the Anaheim theme park.

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