Goodbye Splash Mountain, Hello Tiana

Splash+Mountain

Brookelle Barnes , Reporter

On June 11th, 2020, a petition started on change.org to retheme the Splash Mountain raft ride in all US Disneyland parks, but why? Since Splash Mountains opening on July 17th, 1989, in Anaheim California, it has been a Disneyland staple in the park. (Including Disneyworld and Tokyo Disney) With Disney confirming this change and predicted to be completed in late 2024, why would Disney want to change this ride? Why would people fight to have it be rethemed? To understand where everyone stands, we must go into the deep history of Splash Mountain, and where it originated from.  

As some may not know, Splash Mountain is based around the animated sequences of the 1946 Disney Movie ‘Song of the South’. The movie is about a boy named Johnny who travels with his parents from an unknown Georgia location to a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia for an extended stay. The movie covers Br’er Rabbit folklore stories, told from the perspective of Uncle Remus who works on an old plantation farm that Johnny’s grandparents own. It is important to note that Uncle Remus is a black male, although he is technically not enslaved at this plantation but seems to keep a subservient relationship with Johnny’s family throughout the movie. Although the movie is predominately a film, it has only about 20 minutes of animated scenes throughout the 94-minute movie.  Today, the movie is seen as outdated and problematic because of its references to a surreal time where black people lived as slaves. Francis White, Executive Secretary of the NAACP (The National Association for Advancement of Colored People) states “…In an effort neither to offend audiences in the North or South, [Song of the South] helps to perpetuate a dangerously glorified picture of slavery.”  

But what does this have to do with the actual Splash Mountain ride? If the ride was purposely created around only the animated scenes throughout Song of the South, and makes no mention of Uncle Remus, or slavery throughout the actual ride, why is it being taken down? In simple words, Song of the South is not appropriate for today’s world. The Splash Mountain ride was a failed attempt to remove racism from a movie based on racist motives which then continued to carry controversy with it. Disney stopped airing Song of the South completely and it cannot be found on more recent sights like Disney+ for its blatant outdated and racist remarks and backstory. The biggest problem people have within the ride (and the parks) is one of the most popular Disney songs of all time, “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah”. Most of the songs in Song of the South are played throughout the ride, and people have a hard time separating the songs from the racism throughout Song of the South.  

What’s next? Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is on the way! Carmen Smith (Senior vice president of creative development at Walt Disney engineering) states that “To be able to join New Orleans in the celebration of Black joy as we bring Tiana’s story to its roots is a full-circle moment I’m so proud to realize.” Although some, if not most people are upset about this change, it has struck a conversation about removing racism in other rides throughout the Disneyland parks and caused conflict. (there’s a lot) These even started opposing petitions to save Splash Mountain. Regardless of anyone’s opinion, Splash Mountain’s time has come to an end. Hello Tiana.

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Should Splash Mountain be changed?

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