This Classic Disney Ride Is Being Changed Due to Its Racist Associations
Splash Mountain will be redesigned to feature The Princess and the Frog characters.
When Disney finally reopens, it'll look quite different than it did before. While the parks will implement new health and safety protocols due to the coronavirus pandemic, one major update to a classic Disney attraction comes in the wake of the recent Black Lives Matter protests across the country. On June 25, the Imagineers at Disney announced that Splash Mountain will be redesigned to feature characters from the beloved 2009 animated film The Princess and the Frog.
The log flume ride, which was built in 1989, is based on the 1946 movie Song of the South. The controversial film faced swift backlash due to its racist stereotypes, and although the movie was removed from Disney's catalog, its famous song "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" remained popular. Now, the House of Mouse is coming to terms with the offensive content.
"With this longstanding history of updating attractions and adding new magic, the retheming of Splash Mountain is of particular importance today," Disney said in a statement. "The new concept is inclusive—one that all of our guests can connect with and be inspired by, and it speaks to the diversity of the millions of people who visit our parks each year."
The new attraction will center around Tiana, Disney's first Black princess. The magical adventure will pick up where the movie's storyline left off after the final kiss between Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen. Along with her trumpet-playing alligator pal, Louis, the ride will feature "some of the powerful music from the film as [Tiana and her friends] prepare for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance."
The project—which was under wraps for a year and has no release date yet—drew extra attention as more than 21,000 fans petitioned Disney to revamp the ride. Set in Louisiana, The Princess and the Frog would fit right in as Splash Mountain is located near New Orleans Square at Disneyland and on the Rivers of America, across from Tom Sawyer Island, at Disney World's Magic Kingdom.
"Tiana is a modern, courageous, and empowered woman, who pursues her dreams and never loses sight of what's really important," Disney said in the statement. "It's a great story with a strong lead character, set against the backdrop of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou." And for more things being reexamined, check out 10 Disney Classics That Have Been Called Out for Racism.