In a recent announcement made by Disney, the company is getting ready to overhaul the Splash Mountain ride at both its California and Florida theme parks. The reason being is that the ride was based on a movie that Disney now acknowledges was offensive.
Splash Mountain has long been famous for its five-story log drop that soaks park visitors. The theme of the ride was centered around an old 1946 movie entitled Song of the South, which follows a young boy who visits his grandmother at her plantation after the Civil War. The movie even won an Oscar for the song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”. Those against the film have heavily criticized its romanticism of the Civil War era and its depiction of black people.
Disney stated that the ride designers have been contemplating the idea of re-theming Splash Mountain since last year, though they now feel that it is even more crucial to do it today. The log ride is now set to pay tribute to the bayou-inspired Princess and the Frog film, which came out in 2009 and featured the very first black princess in a Disney film.
“With this longstanding history of updating attractions and adding new magic, the re-theming of Splash Mountain is of particular importance today,” said Michael Ramirez, a PR director for Disney.
The brand new concept for the ride is supposed to feel inclusive. It should be one that all guests feel inspired by and it is a collection of the millions of diverse humans who walk through the parks every year.
Disney has heard the calls of petitioners over the past few weeks who are asking for the company to ditch the old concept for the ride. Much of the outrage is due to the recent deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, as well as the longstanding systematic racism, which has become so prevalent in the U.S.
Bob Iger On the Matter
In a statement from last year, Bob Iger, Disney’s chairman, said that Diseny+ would not make Song of the South available for streaming, nor would the company be selling it.
“I’ve 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,” Iger said. “It’s just hard, given the depictions in some of those films, to bring them out today without in some form or another offending people, so we’ve decided not to do that.”
The head of inclusive strategies and creative development for the Walt Disney Imagineering team, Ms. Carmen Smith, said that she was very proud and excited to watch the new version of Splash Mountain come into fruition. She feels that all park guests should be able to see a version of themselves in the experiences that the team creates.
As of now, we know that the conceptual design work and creative development process is well underway. Soon enough, Imagineers will be able to conduct preliminary reviews and develop a timeline for the ride’s transformation.