Disney to Remove Racist Characters From Splash Mountain, America Hoping White House Follows Suit in November

Photo: Disney

Over the years, Disney has added many of its catalogue of films to its self-imposed “Disney Vault.” The aforementioned vault doesn’t actually exist. It’s just a way for Disney to hype up its movies. For years, they would release a movie on VHS, DVD, or on-demand and then they’d snatch it back up and make it unavailable for purchase. Then, years later, they’d release it again. But, while movies have gone into and come out of the “vault,” one movie has remained in the deepest, darkest, back corner of the vault, never ever to be released again. This film is the highly controversial Song of the South. But, while this 1946 offering featuring racially insensitive content, including the song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” is locked away forever, never to be re-released, Splash Mountain (based on the film) remained. Until now.

Long after it was deemed socially unacceptable, Disney opened the ride at Disneyland in 1989 and the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Tokyo in 1992. Splash Mountain and its premise remained largely unnoticed until recently when Disney announced it would be rebranded and reimagined for the 2009 animated film The Princess and the Frog.

While the timing seems appropriate, Disney claims that this change was in the works for years. But, it did correspond with a Change.org petition that was signed by over 20,000 people asking for the ride’s theme to change.

While there’s no timetable for the ride to open, Disney says that it will take place after the end of the movie. It will consist of Princess Tiana and her trumpet-playing alligator Louis on a “musical adventure.” We’re stoked to see what they come up with while they make this long-overdue change.

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