A petition has been going around calling for Disney to update its popular Splash Mountain attraction. This log flume ride was inspired by the Disney film Song of the South and is located in Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.
Song of the South was released in 1946 and is considered to be Walt Disney Pictures most racist film for its stereotypical portrayal of black people and sentimental view of the antebellum South. According to IMDb, the film centered on Uncle Remus, played by James Baskett, telling the son of a plantation owner “stories about trickster Br’er Rabbit, who outwits Br’er Fox and slow-witted Br’er Bear.” Disney even decided not to release Song of the South on Disney+ due to its racist themes.Other older films on the streaming service such as the 1941 Dumbo have content warnings that state the films “may contain outdated cultural depictions.” Song of the South practically doesn’t exist. There’s no VHS, DVDs, soundtracks, or legions of loyal fans.
Although Splash Mountain does not feature Uncle Remus or the boy, the animatronic critters including Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear, speak in the same dialect utilized in the film. Most memorably, the ride highlights the film’s song “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” as guests view Br’er Rabbit’s escape from Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear.
Fans have noticed the attractions controversial connections and have been asking for Disney to re-theme the ride. The most popular idea has been to give the ride a Princess and the Frog makeover. Disneyland cast member Fredrick Chambers shared his ride concept on social media. Chambers noted that while the images are not his, the idea is all his own. Keep in mind that this is a fan made concept and has no connections or reflects the ideas of the Walt Disney Company.
In his concept, guests travel through the Princess and the Frog story. The queue as well as the loading area would be Mama Odie’s place. The ride’s drops would act as transitions between various aspects of the story. Guests would then ride through the bayou, New Orleans, and even “the other side”. Chambers even added a few Easter eggs referencing Splash Mountain so the ride doesn’t completely disappear from the parks.
Chambers also shared a video posted by fellow fan Brad Ruwe. Ruwe used current Splash Mountain ride footage and overlaid songs from Princess and the Frog to give people a glimpse of what a ride might be like.
A petition on Change.org was started in an attempt to bring light to this topic. User Dis Fan started the petition and agreed with Chambers and Ruwe that Splash Mountain should be re-themed to Princess and the Frog. As of this article’s posting, it already has over 20,000 signatures. Dis Fan stated “There is a huge need for diversity in the parks and this could help fill that need. Princess and the Frog is a beloved princess movie but has very little representation in the parks. Tiana could be one of the first princesses with a thrill ride, as well as giving her a much deserved place in the parks.”
However, not all fans want Splash Mountain to be changed. The ride has been in parks since 1989 and has been with fans for generations. A re-theme would mean that the ride would be closed until the upgrades could be finished. There’s no telling how long that would take or how much money Disney would have to spend. In the past, Disneyland’s Tower of Terror was closed from January 2nd, 2017 to May 25th, 2017 for its Guardians of the Galaxy re-theme. Getting rid of a classic would be a difficult decision, but could be one that Disney might have to make.
What do you think of this idea? Do you have a concept for what you think Splash Mountain should look like? Let us know in the comments!