At long last, Disney has announced it will overhaul its Splash Mountain ride—which draws its inspiration from the infamously racist film Song of the South. The new ride, CNN reports, will be themed after The Princess and the Frog, and will follow Princess Tiana and her alligator, Louis, on a “musical adventure.”
Disney has kept its 1946 film in the vault for years, and declined to include it among its Disney+ library offerings, for obvious reasons: The film’s chipper view of the antebellum South, combined with its stereotypical portrayals of Black people, are deeply offensive. And yet Splash Mountain, one of the most popular rides in both the Anaheim-based Disneyland and Orlando’s Disney World, contain references to the film and its most recognizable song, “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.” The log flume ride’s problematic history has long been a topic of casual discussion—but protests following George Floyd’s death have inspired re-examinations of racist artifacts across the entertainment world, including films like Gone with the Wind and series including 30 Rock and Scrubs, both of which have removed episodes that include blackface. More than 20,000 people signed a Change.org petition last week to have the ride re-imagined—and although Disney claims these changes have been in the works since last year, this still feels like a win.