Splash Mountain is getting a makeover! Fans of the popular Disney log flume ride will find the theme changed to one inspired by the movie The Princess and the Frog after over 20,000 people signed an online petition.
The ride, which debuted at Disneyland in 1989 and is also at Walt Disney World in Florida and Tokyo Disneyland will be “completely reimagined” at its US locations, Disney said in press release Thursday. The original ride is based on Disney’s 1946 Song of the South, a controversial movie due its portrayal of Blacks and what some call a romanization of the antebellum south. The film, which features the song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” is not available on Disney +.
“While the ride is considered a beloved classic, it’s history and storyline are steeped in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes from the 1946 film Song of the South,” reads the petition.
“There is a huge need for diversity in the parks and this could help fill that need. Princess and the Frog is a beloved princess movie but has very little representation in the parks.”
Disney said that the new ride, which Imagineers have been working on since last year, will pick up after the final kiss in The Princess and the Frog and take guests on a “musical adventure” through the Bayou as they prepare for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance.
“Tiana is a modern, courageous and empowered woman, who pursues her dreams and never loses sight of what’s really important,” says the press release. “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.”
So far there is no date set for the ride’s debut, but Disney has said that conceptual design is already underway.
Walt Disney World has been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic and is set to reopen July 11. Another petition, asking for the park to delay its reopening, has already gotten more than 10,000 signatures after Florida has seen an uptick in cases of COVID-19.