Following along the lines of outgoing Disney CEO Bob Iger when he told shareholders in March that Song of the South, the 1946 Disney film long criticized for its racist depictions, would never be coming to Disney+, the company is reconfiguring its famous Splash Mountain away from associations with that film, which Iger said is "not appropriate in today’s world."
According to a Disney Parks blog post, the theme park ride — which is at Disneyland and Walt Disney World — will be rebranded away from the film and toward 2009's The Princess and the Frog. The announcement comes amid ongoing anti-racist protests and a renewed conversation on racial justice and equality. Disney says that these plans have been in the works since 2019.
"We pick up this story after the final kiss, and 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," writes Michael Ramirez, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort.
"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," the blog post says, noting that the film's New Orleans ties fit perfectly with one of the original "lands" in Disneyland.
Disney has added a disclaimer to several offerings on its Disney+ streaming service, which warns of “outdated cultural depictions." The company has also focused attention on other controversial depictions found in its theme parks, evident in a recent overhaul of sexist elements in its Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
A Change.org petition requesting the exact change to Splash Mountain — ditching Song of the South for The Princess and the Frog — gained over 21,000 signatures.