Petition calls for Disney’s Splash Mountain to be re-themed due to “racist tropes”

A new Change.org petition calling for Disney’s “Splash Mountain” attraction to be re-themed has gathered nearly 17k signatures.

The petition reads:

Disney parks should be a home for all to enjoy regardless of race, age, whatever your background may be. The classic log flume ride Splash Mountain is featured in Disneyland, Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland. 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.

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. Tiana could be one of the first princesses with a thrill ride, as well as giving her a much deserved place in the parks. The framing of the ride is such that it could be easily changed to tell the story of Tiana while not compromising too much of the ride/costing a fortune in remodeling for Disney. This change could kill two birds with one stone, remove the offensive stereotypical theming the ride currently has and bring a much needed diversity to the parks. As well as a much bigger merchandising opportunity for Princess and the Frog. 

Splash Mountain is located in Critter Country/Frontierland in the parks, an area very close to New Orleans Square in Disneyland. It would be fairly easy to transition the ride into the bayou of New Orleans considering the location of the ride in each park.

While the rides storyline is not an exact version of the movies plot line it is derivative from it, the characters, the songs and locations are all main features of the ride. Disney has removed Song of the South from its library, refusing to share it on DVD or their streaming services. The best next step to remove all traces of this racist movie would be to re-theme Splash Mountain into a Princess and the Frog themed ride. 

Since this has gotten so much attention I just want to throw in this edit with a few things. I really didn’t think this would get any attention. I saw the discussion on twitter about retheming the ride, was speaking with friends about how there should be a petition to have a count on how many people actually support that idea and decided to make one since I couldn’t find one. I appreciate everybody who supports it however as always with things that get attention like this there is a lot of nastiness. If you’re willing to have a discussion and potentially educate from a different perspective I appreciate that as well. However this is just a log ride in a theme park, abbeloved one yes, but at the end of the day it’s just a ride, there are more pressing matters in the world currently. If your here to hurl mean comments your energy would be much better spent doing something else more productive, there are plenty of petitions on this site and plenty of foundations that need support right now.

Yahoo reports Yahoo Entertainment has reached out to a Disney Parks spokesperson for comment and will update this story when we get a response.

Some who say they are current and past cast members — the term Disney uses for its employees — are voicing their approval for the makeover. Frederick Chambers even shared a thorough plan for executing the redo.

The ride opened at Disneyland in 1989 and at Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland in 1992. It varies a little from park to park, but each version shows scenes taken from the animated segments of Song of the South, with characters including Br’er Rabbit. The ride is set to “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” which won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Interestingly, the descriptions of the ride vary on the different parks’ websites. While Disneyland notes that it’s inspired by Song of the South, Disney World doesn’t mention the controversial film.

Song of the South, a live-action/animated film, has remained unreleased for decades due to its racially insensitive portrayal of African-Americans in the Reconstruction era. When Disney+ launched, the company made clear it was making changes to some historical content — like the Jim Crow character from the original Dumbo being edited out and Toy Story 2 cutting a casting-couch joke from its credits. However, Song of the South remained locked away — and former Disney CEO Bob Iger said at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in March that it would remain that way due to its “outdated cultural depictions.”

In the wake of George Floyd’s death, there have been calls for widespread change. We’ve already seen Gone With the Wind being taken off the HBO Max streaming site for romanticizing slavery. With police brutality at the forefront of the news, Cops and Live P.D. have been canceled. (The latter was because a Live P.D. film crew was shooting during the fatal arrest of 40-year-old Javier Ambler last year. Like Floyd, Ambler cried “I can’t breathe” as well as “I am not resisting” and “I have congestive heart failure.”)