The Woke Have Spoke — Disney’s Splash Mountain To Be Renamed And Rethemed

Like & Follow Us On Facebook!

Splash Mountain, an incredibly popular log ride with a super wet ending has closed at both the Disneyland and Disney World theme parks. It is closed temporarily while the ride is renamed and rethemed.

But why? The ride has been a major attraction for Disney for decades.

The ride is based on the scenery and characters of the 1946 animated/live action musical Song of the South. This 94-minute movie contains the song that was once recognizable around the world as pure Disney, “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”. Anyone born before 1990 in the US should be able to identify this song after only hearing a few bars, that’s how popular it was for Disney. It was included for decades in the opening to the popular TV show The Wonderful World of Disney, which entertained children every week for generations.

But, the movie is based on the Uncle Remus stories that were first published in the 1880s. These stories centered around the trickster Br’er Rabbit (short for Brother Rabbit) and his animal friends and foes. The original stories were written in a contrived African American Southern dialect by the white author, Joel Chandler Harris, who had recorded the tales during the Civil War from enslaved people working on his family’s plantation.

The Reconstruction-era books minimize the harsh realities of chattel slavery and make light of Black storytelling traditions, despite having roots in African American folklore. Sadly these same themes can be found in Song of the South as well.

Inside the ride are depictions of the animated animals from the movie, but the freedman character of Uncle Remus is absent. Because of this Disney executives didn’t expect any backlash in 1987 when the ride opened. And, since then some of the animal characters have appeared in other Disney films like Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Lion King 1 1/2 so some fans of Splash Mountain my not even know they first appeared in Song of the South.

The actual log ride itself will still be intact, with the decorations and characters changed to ones from the The Princess and the Frog (2009), the first Disney film to feature a Black princess. This change will keep the Southern theme of the ride as the cartoon is set in 1920s New Orleans. The new ride is set to re-open in late 2024 as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.