Disney Praised for Splash Mountain Revamp, 'Racist' Theme Removal

Disney theme park fans are ecstatic about the new name for Disney's Splash Mountain, praising the company on Twitter for finally removing the "racist" origins of the ride.

Disney announced on Friday that the Splash Mountain attractions in both California's Disneyland and Florida's Walt Disney World will officially be renamed Tiana's Bayou Adventure, inspired by Disney's 2009 animated film, The Princess And The Frog.

The film, which features Disney's first Black princess, will be the theme for the new ride, whose makeover was announced in 2020 and will be completed by 2024 at both parks, the company said.

Splash Mountain, which opened in Disneyland in 1989 and Walt Disney World in 1992, is a water log ride that features Brer Rabbit, and is based on the 1946 Disney movie, Song of the South.

According to Rolling Stone, the film—and subsequently, the ride—was based on the Uncle Remus books, written by author Joel Chandler Harris, a white writer from Georgia. The books were allegedly inspired by African American folktales, and critics have argued that the story portrayed shows an overly romanticized view of the Reconstruction-era South.

Song of the South was originally released in 1946, and it did face criticism following its premiere from groups such as the NAACP, Rolling Stone reported. The company did rerelease the film to theaters four times between 1956-1986, but it has not been shown since then and it has never been released on home video or streaming services.

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Fans have praised the new name for Splash Mountain as Disney plans to revamp the ride. In this photo, views of Splash Mountain are seen at Walt Disney World Resort's Magic Kingdom during the COVID-19 pandemic in Orlando on July 23, 2020. BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter users praised Disney for finally changing Splash Mountain, citing the ride's original theme's racist undertones.

"I'm so excited for the new Princess & the Frog themed attraction replacing Splash Mountain," one user tweeted. "It is about damn time that ride caught up with the times. Goodbye racial undertones! It's my favorite and re-theming will only make it better. Sorry not sorry."

One Twitter user wrote, "FYI they changed the theme of Splash Mountain, which was Song of the South, a movie no kids today remember and so racist that Disney locked it in the vault forever, to Princess & the Frog which introduced the first Black Disney Princess. That's what republicans are mad about."

Some users questioned the rebranding of the ride though, as it has been a household name in Disney parks, both in the U.S. and internationally, since the 1990s.

"Disney is really taking the Splash Mountain name away entirely? A household name? Part of the Magic Kingdom Mountain Range?" one Twitter user questioned. "This might be the worst possible marketing decision they could make here."

Still, the praise outweighed the criticism. "I think it's neat that Disney is changing Splash Mountain, based on an infamously racist movie, to being themed around a princess of color," another Twitter user said.

Disney said that the ride will take riders on an adventure through the bayou with Tiana, Naveen, and Louis the alligator "as they prepare to host a one-of-a-kind Mardi Gras celebration where everyone is welcome."

Newsweek reached out to Disney for further comment.