It will no longer be a “Zip-a -Dee-Doo-Dah” day as Disney officials have announced the popular ride, Splash Mountain will be getting a makeover.
The source material the ride is based on, the 1946 film “Song of the South” has come under fire for the way it shows a stereotypical and romanticized antebellum South.
The ride itself will stay, but the theme will be changed from B’rer Bear, B’rer Rabbit and B’rer Fox to that of the 2009 film “The Princess and The Frog,” CNN reported.
The film features Tiana, who is Disney’s first African-American princess.
The push to change the ride’s “Song of the South” theme came weeks after the death of George Floyd and protests over police brutality and racism began with a Change.org petition asking Disney to change the ride which debuted in 1989, had more than 20,000 signatures, CNN reported.
Organizers of the petition said the change would correct two issues and “remove the offensive stereotypical theming [of] the ride currently has and bring a much needed diversity to the parks. As well as a much bigger merchandising opportunity for Princess and the Frog.”
A Twitter user, who says he is a Disney employee, posted potential ideas for a way to change the ride’s theme without changing the ride’s footprint.
Disney said the new ride will be inclusive and “one that all of our guests can connect with and be inspired by,” CNN reported.
Park officials said they had been planning for the refurbishment since last year, and will pick up after the end of the “The Princess and the Frog” movie’s last kiss, CNN reported.
The actress who gave Tiana her voice, Anika Noni Rose, said “It is really exciting to know that Princess Tiana’s presence in both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom will finally be fully realized,” USA Today reported.
Disney officials have said the film will remain in its vaults, not to be shown on its streaming service Disney+ or released to be added to a personal film library.
“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,” Bob Iger said earlier this year, according to The Washington Post. “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.”
The film won an Oscar for Best Original Song for “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah” and the man who portrayed Uncle Remus, James Baskett, was awarded an honorary Oscar. Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American to win an Oscar for her role in 1939′s “Gone With the Wind” also had a small part in “Song of the South.”
In 2010, Iger called the film, which includes about 20 minutes of animation mixed in with a majority of live-action, “fairly offensive,” Cinema Blend reported.
There is no date for when the new ride will be open or even when work will start on the change. Visitors to the parks once they reopen after the coronavirus forced the shutdown will see the “Splash Mountain” characters, USA Today reported.
Cox Media Group