Disney’s Splash Mountain — based on the company’s highly controversial film Song of the South — is getting a complete revamp, the company announced Thursday. Instead of being based on the 1946 movie, Splash Mountain will be retooled to be based on 2009’s Princess and the Frog, the first Disney movie to feature a Black princess.
Splash Mountain debuted in the 1980s in both Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Disneyland in California, drawing inspiration from the Br’er Rabbit story from Song of the South. For those unfamiliar, Song of the South is a highly controversial movie that presents a glorified view of slavery and reductive and offensive portrayals of Black characters. Even when the ride debuted in 1989, the movie was considered controversial, as then-CEO Michael Eisner stated that it would not be getting a home release in America. To this day, there has been no home video release of Song of the South, and the movie is absent from streaming service Disney Plus.
A petition to change the theme of Splash Mountain started circulating a few weeks ago, as the racial justice movement swept the country and titles like Gone With the Wind have been reconsidered and removed from streaming platforms.
Though the petition is only a few weeks old, Disney stated that it has allegedly been working on this revamp for over a year now. The company said that the new Splash Mountain would pick up after the events of the movie (and thus, feature Tiana as a human and not a frog) and follow Tiana and her trumpet-playing alligator friend Louis on a musical adventure, as they prepare for a Mardi Gras performance. The ride will feature music from the movie.
“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.”
There is no date for the revamp.