BIPOC Voices, News & Events

Disneyland to rid rides of racist undertones

About time.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Jul 8, 2020

Although not everyone has hopped on the anti-racism train, I’ve been very happy to see a significant amount of change – even if it’s been a long time coming. Like Disneyland, who just announced their most popular ride, Splash Mountain, will be re-themed and renamed to reflect a more accurate picture of the current times.

The decision was made after outraged fans complained about the racist stereotypes the ride depicts from the 1946 film, “Song of the South” — best known for songs like “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.” The movie shows a romanticized picture of a Georgia plantation, post-Civil War. Black servants speak in stereotypical vernacular and are shown obeying white owners. It basically glorifies slavery. 

The funny thing is, Disney was aware the film was racist. In fact, it’s the reason they’ve locked up the film and didn’t offer it on Disney + as it’s “not appropriate for today’s world” the brand said. But yet, they hadn’t changed the ride. They were more than okay making money off the racist ride.

It took over 20,000 online signatures on Change.org to reverse the theme from “Song of the South” to “Princess and the Frog,” Disney’s first Black princess. Not only will the theme change, but the Splash Mountain title will also retire. The current working title is, “New Adventures with Princess Tiana.” Fans hope it will help bring more diversity to the park. 

Disney claims they’ve been working on the new ride since last year. Once finished, the ride will show what happens to Princess Tiana after the final kiss, it will take riders on a musical adventure and feature “some of the powerful music from the film as they prepare for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance” Disney stated.

It is unknown when the ride will air at the California and Florida parks but the megabrand noted it’s “conceptual design work is well underway.” 

Although it took Disney decades to do this, I’m happy to see them right their wrongs.