Disney Changing Theme Of Splash Mountain To Princess And The Frog
It's one of the most popular rides at both Magic Kingdom in Florida and Disneyland in California, but Splash Mountain is going to be getting a complete overhaul, Disney hes announced.
Though currently still in the conceptual phase, the overhauled ride will be completely reimagined with a theme based on Princess Tiana from The Princess And The Frog, a 2009 animated Disney film.
The ride will apparently pick up after the film's final kiss, with riders joining Princess Tiana and trumpet-playing alligator Louis on a musical journey featuring the film's voice cast - and, of course, music from the soundtrack. See the artist's impression for the ride below:
On the official Disney Parks blog, the company announced the change with the following statement: "Tiana is a modern, courageous, and empowered woman, who pursues her dreams and never loses sight of what's really important.
"It's a great story with a strong lead character, set against the backdrop of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou.
"In 1966, Walt himself opened New Orleans Square when it became the first new 'land' added to Disneyland park, so it feels natural to link the story and the incredible music of The Princess And The Frog to our parks."
Actress Anika Noni Rose, who voiced Princess Tiana in the movie, was ecstatic about the news.
"It is really exciting to know that Princess Tiana's presence in both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom will finally be fully realised!" she said.
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"As passionate as I am about what we created, I know the fans are going to be over the moon. The Imagineers are giving us The Princess And The Frog Mardi Gras celebration we've been waiting for, and I'm here for it!"
The main reason for the change in theme is Splash Mountain's ties to a problematic 1946 film made by Disney called Song Of The South.
Song of the South won an Oscar for its famous song 'Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah', but in the years since it has attracted criticism for its depiction of Black people. In his book Disney's Most Notorious Film, academic Jason Sperb called it 'one of Hollywood's most resiliently offensive racist texts'.
Richard B Dier is also quoted as calling it 'as vicious a piece of propaganda for white supremacy as Hollywood ever produced' in The Afro-American.
In March 2019, Disney's then-CEO Bob Iger said Song of the South would not be included among the titles streaming on Disney+, adding that it would never again be available for purchase.
He said: "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. 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."
In light of the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests that were sparked as a result, the company has made the decision to update the ride's theme.
Commenting on the change, Charita Carter, the senior creative producer leading the project at Walt Disney Imagineering said: "Like Princess Tiana, I believe that courage and love are the key ingredients for wonderful adventures. I am delighted to be a part of bringing this fun-filled experience to our guests."
Featured Image Credit: Disney