Splash Mountain's theme will be changed from "Song of the South" to "The Princess and the Frog." (Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Company)
Buena Park High School

Why the Disneyland ride ‘Splash Mountain’ is being remodeled

Splash Mountain has been a Disney fan favorite for many. In fact, this ride is featured at Disneyland, Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland. However, many people are not aware of the story behind this famous ride. In fact, this log-ride is based on the 1946 film, “Song of the South.” This film depicts the life of a seven-year-old boy, Johnny, who visits his grandmother’s plantation.

However, there are many underlying issues that have been noticed by the public. First off, the movie glorifies the plantation as an idyllic and peaceful place. The movie does not address the problems of racism and segregation, but rather chooses to depict the plantation as a warm “home.”

Second, the movie does not specifically address the relationship between the Black and white characters. Rather, it depicts their relationship as harmonious and cordial. The use of racist dialects has also been noted.

Third, in a particular scene, Br’er Fox (an animated character) plans to capture Br’er Rabbit using a golem made of black tar. Br’er Fox refers to this as the “tar baby.” Many critics were shocked at the use of this phrase in this context.

Because of the controversy surrounding the film, it was last shown in theaters in 1986 and has not been made into a VHS or DVD in North America. It has also been excluded from the Disney+ showings.

Despite the controversial topics, this film has gotten critical acclaim. First of all, the song, “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah” won the Best Original Oscar. Actor James Baskett was awarded an honorary Oscar for his role as Uncle Remus.

However, two weeks ago a petition started on Change.org that asked the Walt Disney company to change the ride’s theme from “Song of the South” to “The Princess and the Frog,” to bring diversify the park. Since, then, it has gotten more than 20,000 signatures.

Therefore, on June 25 Disney Parks released a statement, saying that the log ride’s theme would be getting changed to the 2009 film, “The Princess and the Frog.”