Speed Reads

extreme ride makeover

Disney to reimagine Splash Mountain, its ride based on Song of the South

Disney is dropping Splash Mountain — at least, the current version of it.

Disney announced on Thursday it will revamp Splash Mountain, its log flume ride based on the movie Song of the South. Released in 1946 and set on a plantation in the Reconstruction era, Song of the South has been criticized for, as the NAACP said, helping to "perpetuate a dangerously glorified picture of slavery," and Disney hasn't released it on home video or streaming.

Now, Splash Mountain will be "completely reimagined" and instead be themed after The Princess and the Frog, the 2009 animated movie that introduced the first Black Disney princess.

"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," Disney said. The ride's story will "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," according to the announcement. The ride is getting redesigned at both Disneyland and Disney World.

Disney faced increased pressure to tweak Splash Mountain amid the recent national protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd, although Disney said it's been working on this redesign since last year. One recent petition that racked up thousands of signatures specifically called for turning Splash Mountain into a Princess and the Frog ride in light of the "extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes" present in Song of the South.

"There is a huge need for diversity in the parks and this could help fill that need," the petition said.