Companies across the U.S. are renaming racially charged, decades-old brands in the wake of protests for racial justice around the globe following the death of George Floyd and in support of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement. Disney Parks announced plans to rename and re-theme Splash Mountian which is tied to a racist film.
What We Know:
- Splash Mountain, a famous ride known for its huge drop, is based on animated sequences from 1946’s Song of the South, a film that has been widely criticized for its racist depictions of Black people and its plantation setting that romanticizes life after the Civil War.
- “With this longstanding history of updating attractions and adding new magic, the re-theming of Splash Mountain is of particular importance today,” wrote Michael Ramirez, Disneyland Resort’s public relations director. “The new concept is inclusive—one that all of the 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.”
We’re thrilled to share Splash Mountain at @Disneyland & @WaltDisneyWorld will be completely reimagined with a new story inspired by an all-time favorite Disney Animation film, “The Princess & The Frog.” Learn about what Imagineers have in development: https://t.co/ZDa3TiFlZr pic.twitter.com/sK4NOpR8FE
— Disney Animation (@DisneyAnimation) June 25, 2020
- Disney released a statement announcing that the ride at the California and Florida Disney theme parks will be reworked to become based around 2009’s The Princess and the Frog, which features Disney’s first-ever Black princess, Tiana.
- “Tiana is a modern, courageous and empowered woman, who pursues her dreams and never loses sight of what’s really important,” Disney said on Thursday. “It’s a great story with a strong lead character, set against the backdrop of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou.”
- The move comes after fans urged Disney to re-theme Splash Mountain because of the racial stereotypes from Song of the South. More than 21,000 people signed an online petition asking Disney to change the ride’s theme to The Princess and the Frog. The petition stated, “While the ride is considered a beloved classic, its history and storyline are steeped in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes. There is a huge need for diversity in the parks and this could help fill that need.”
- Disney had previously removed Song of the South from its library as groups, including the NAACP, protested the film’s initial release. The film isn’t available to the millions of subscribers of the company’s new Disney Plus streaming service, and it hasn’t been released in theaters in decades with CEO Bob Iger saying at a shareholders meeting that the film is “not appropriate in today’s world”.
- No date has been given for the unveiling of the new Princess and the Frog ride or when it will be open to the public, but Disney has released an artist’s rendition of what the ride will look like.
It is currently unclear if the Splash Mountain ride at Tokyo Disneyland will also be reworked.