In the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, Disney is one of many companies taking action. Recently, they announced exciting plans for one of the theme park’s most popular attractions.
Disney has received massive amounts of criticism over the years for the ride’s theme, which is actually based on the controversial 1946 film Song of the South. Over the past few weeks, many petitions have been circulating the Internet urging Disney to reimagine the theme of the popular ride, as its current theme based on the film has been criticized for its problematic portrayal of the post-Civil War South, as well as its capitalizing on racist stereotypes.
One petition, titled, “Retheme Splash Mountain to Princess and the Frog,” has reached over 21,000 signatures and counting and has clearly made a major impact. Moreover, Disney happily obliged and granted the wishes of thousands who signed petitions, as it was just announced yesterday that Splash Mountain will be completely reimagined at both Disneyland in California and the Magic Kingdom in Florida.
Furthermore, The ride will feature a brand new theme based on the 2009 Disney animated film The Princess and the Frog, which also features the first Black Disney princess, Tiana.
In a press release shared with many outlets, this reimaging is “a project Imagineers have been working on since last year.” Adding to that goes on to say, “The retheming of Splash Mountain is of particular importance today. 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 release also confirmed that the ride’s storyline will pick up “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.”
Before the announcement was made, Disney had been distancing itself from the Song of the South movie for quite some time, even stripping it from the Disney+ streaming platform. Earlier, in March during a shareholder meeting Former Disney CEO Bob Iger addressed the decision to exclude the film from Disney+, saying, “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. 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.”
Many fans are ecstatic upon hearing the news about Splash Mountain, taking to social media to voice their approval. Anika Noni Rose, who voices Princess Tiana in the film, also shared her excitement in an Instagram post, writing, “It is really exciting to know that Princess Tiana’s presence in both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom will finally be fully realized! As passionate as I am about what we created, I know the fans are going to be over the moon. The Imagineers are giving us the Princess and The Frog Mardi Gras celebration we’ve been waiting for, and I’m here for it!”
The good news comes just days after Disneyland in California announced that they will be pushing back their reopening date from the original plans of allowing guests in the park as early as July 17th as Disney World in Florida is still set to reopen in mid-July as COVID.