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Disney World to Remove Racist Themes from Splash Mountain Ride

This week, World closed its popular Splash Mountain ride to remove references to a 1940s movie with racist themes.

January 25, 2023
3 minutes
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Disney is a leading entertainment company. They are known for their movies, theme parks, and merchandise. Disney stock is a good investment for those looking for long-term growth.

This week, World closed its popular Splash Mountain ride to remove references to a 1940s movie with racist themes.

The last Disney fans took a turn through the ride on Sunday, Walt Disney Co. said on its website. Splash Mountain, one of the theme park’s most famous rides, features music and characters from the controversial 1946 film, “Song of the South.” The ride will be closing permanently on January 10, 2021, the company announced.

The movie follows a young boy at a plantation in Georgia during the Reconstruction era. The film has been criticized for its use of racist stereotypes and its glorification of plantation life.

The log-flume ride at Disney World in Florida will be reopened next year as “Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.” The ride is beloved by some Disneygoers and will be a welcome addition to the park.

The 2009 movie "The Princess and the Frog" focuses on Tiana, a New Orleans waitress who becomes a restaurant owner. Disney has announced that the ride will follow Princess Tiana as she prepares for a Mardi Gras party. This is the only original Disney film that stars a Black princess.

Disney did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

In 2020, Disney announced that it would be redesigning its Splash Mountain rides in response to Black Lives Matter protests. The company explained that the changes had been in the works for more than a year.

Riders on the Splash Mountain log flume ride at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom are treated to a musical journey through the world of Disney's "Song of the South." As they float past animatronic frogs and other animals, they hear classic songs like "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah." Then, riders plunge five stories down and are drenched in water.

Robert Iger, Disney's chief executive, has said that the movie isn't appropriate in today's world. The film isn't available to stream on Disney+ or to purchase on home video.

"Song of the South" has largely been erased from Disney's catalog, but the film has loomed for decades over the company's parks. In Florida, Splash Mountain's wooden spire has towered over Magic Kingdom Park since 1992. Disneyland's version of the ride opened in 1989.

Disneyland's Splash Mountain ride is set to close this year, but the company has not given a specific date. They have said that the ride will reopen next year with a Princess Tiana theme.

Japanese riders have also taken a spin on Splash Mountain at Tokyo Disney Resort. However, it is unclear if Disney will redesign the ride in light of the recent controversy.

This isn't the first time Disney has redesigned an attraction with a controversial theme. In 2018, the company removed a scene from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride that featured a "wench auction."

Some Disney fans are mourning the closure of Splash Mountain. Crowds lined up for hours on Sunday to take one last plunge down the mountain, social-media posts show. Dozens of people outside the ride that night counted down the seconds until it closed. Containers of water from the ride were listed on eBay Inc. this week for as much as $5,000.

Eric Ng
Eric Ng
John Liu
Editorial Board
Bryan Curtis
Adan Harris
Managing Editor
Cathy Hills
Associate Editor

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