Disney re-themes Splash Mountain

Photo by Brian McGowan, via Unsplash

By Reeva Askar

On January 23, Disney World’s Magic Kingdom closed down Splash Mountain, the very popular log flume water ride. Although Disney has not announced the closing date for Disneyland, they plan to rebrand the ride as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure inspired by “The Princess and the Frog.” 

Splash Mountain is a water ride based on the movie “Song of the South,” which came out in 1946.  In “Song of the South,” Uncle Remus tells a young boy stories about trickster Br’er Rabbit, who deceives Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear.

“Song of the South” has been criticized for the way it represented race relations and racist stereotypes. The movie romanticizes plantation life after the Civil War. This movie was withdrawn worldwide in 2001 because it is “not appropriate in today’s world,” Iger said at a 2020 shareholders meeting. He confirmed that it will never be released on Disney+. 

A petition went viral in 2020, with 21,317 supporters asking Disney to change the ride’s theme because Disneyland should be a place that welcomes all ages, races, and backgrounds. 

Disney announced after the petition that a change in theme was already in the works. The new ride is scheduled to be opened in late 2024.

The ride will not be a retelling of the movie, but it will be a continuation. It will be set a year after the movie ends and continue the story. At the end of the movie, Tiana and Naveen have opened Tiana’s Palace, the restaurant she worked so hard to create. So on the ride guests will join Tiana and her alligator friend Louis as they prepare a Mardi Gras celebration for New Orleans. 

The ride will still remain a water ride featuring scenes and characters from the movie. Some new characters will join Tiana such as an otter, raccoon, beaver, turtle, and others who will help add zydeco music to the celebration, according to the Disney website. 

True to the movie, there will also be fireflies guiding guests through the experience. 

At Disneyworld, on the last day of Splash Mountain, lines were long and full of guests anxious to say goodbye to a beloved ride. But fans are equally excited to see the newly imagined ride.