Disney will retool Splash Mountain into a Tiana-themed ride after longtime backlash that ride is inspired by a racist movie
Disneyland and Disney World have finally announced that they would “re-theme” Splash Mountain so that it’s no longer inspired by the racist 1946 movie Song of the South and will now be modeled after 2009’s The Princess and the Frog, which featured Tiana, Disney’s first Black princess.
Song Of The South follows a young boy visiting his grandma’s plantation after the Civil War and has been criticized for its racist depictions of Black people and for romanticizing the era. Last year Bob Iger said that the film would not be available to purchase or stream on Disney Plus and said that he “felt as long as I’ve been CEO that Song of the South — even with a disclaimer — was just not appropriate in today’s world.”
Although Disney enthusiasts have lamented the ride’s origins for years, it wasn’t until after weeks of relentless civil rights protests across the country and petitions calling on the company to change the ride that Disney announced they had been retooling the ride since last year.
On Thursday, June 25, 2020, Disney announced that the new Princess and the Frog-themed water ride would “pick up this story after the final kiss, and join Princess Tiana and Louis on a musical adventure — featuring some of the powerful music from the film — as they prepare for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance” and said that it “feels natural” to put the Bayou-set film in Disney’s New Orleans Square.
According to the park, the concept art is underway and Imagineers are expected to develop a timeline for the ride’s completion soon. Kinda crazy that Disney was able to overhaul the Tower of Terror ride into a Guardians Of The Galaxy theme before they got to Splash Mountain, which was just a boring ride and not one inspired by a problematic film, but what do I know about theme park design.
Also, now that Disney is listening to the public when it comes to racist, outdated, or problematic imagery and representation at the parks, Twitter was like, well… you might want to take a look at these other rides too.
NOW how about fixing Jungle Cruise’s savages and headhunters bullshit while you’re at it?
— Bretatouille (@Schmoofy) June 25, 2020
Jungle cruise could use some rethemeing too, especially given that a lot of skippers use the word “savages” pic.twitter.com/eN8uwCo94X— 🙂 (@ellliiizzzabeth) June 25, 2020
Adventureland is basically a relic of a past tied to racist British colonial sensibilities.— Tyler (@TylerJOyler) June 25, 2020
Um... the Tiki Room is pretty rough too...— Heath Racela (@HeathRacela) June 25, 2020
LOL exactly this! I’m native Hawaiian and that ENTIRE section is about how Dole enslaved my people on the pineapple plantations except they gloss over that little gritty detail— Fuck Racists (@DraffanTyler) June 25, 2020
In related Disney news, the company has delayed the opening of Disneyland in California after previously stating it would get back to business on July 17 and over in Florida, over 7,000 employees have signed a petition urging Disney World to do the same and delay the Orlando opening as well.
Maybe with the closures, Disney will have more time to turn Splash Mountain into the glorious Tiana-inspired ride it was meant to be.