Disney's Problematic Splash Mountain Is Getting Remade With Princess Tiana
A Princess and the Frog-themed attraction will take its place.
Disney announced Thursday that it has a plan to replace its Splash Mountain log flume ride, which is inspired by its racist 1946 movie Song of the South, with an experience themed after 2009 film The Princess and the Frog. Song of the South is best known for a very popular tune that we really Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Don't need to be singing anymore.
"Splash Mountain -- at both Disneyland park in California and Magic Kingdom Park in Florida -- will soon be completely reimagined," Disney said in the announcement. "We 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."
A petition to reimagine this ride has already achieved its goal, collecting over 21,000 signatures on Change.org. Organizers called for the ride, which has a history "steeped in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes" to be replaced. Song of the South relies heavily on Black vernacular and other stereotypes, and erases painful history via Disney-style avoidance of politics and commitment to keeping things "light."
Disney seems to agree. The company acknowledged the problem in 2010, when then-Disney CEO Robert Iger called the movie “fairly offensive."
"While the ride's storyline is not an exact version of the movie's plotline it is derivative from it, the characters, the songs and locations are all main features of the ride," reads the petition, which called for Splash Mountain, built in 1989, to be replaced with a ride featuring the entertainment company’s first Black princess, Tiana.
"There is a huge need for diversity in the parks and this could help fill that need," the petition reads. "Princess and the Frog is a beloved princess movie but has very little representation in the parks."
Charita Carter, the senior creative producer leading the project at Walt Disney Imagineering, is quoted as saying that she believes "courage and love are the key ingredients for wonderful adventures," and that she is "delighted to be a part of bringing this fun-filled experience to our guests” in the company's Thursday announcement.