Disney is Cutting Ties with Unpopular History

Disney is making strides to remove racist ties at both Disneyland and Disney World by 2024.

Splash Mountain first opened at Disneyland in the summer of 1989. The iconic log ride features animatronics with audio as the patrons sail along the river being brought back in time to the scenes of “Song of the South.”

The Walt Disney live action film with animation was released in late 1946. The original story was written by Joel Chandler Reymond and later drafted for a movie by Dalton Reymond. 

The movie was based around the premise of Uncle Remis, played by actor James Baskett, who told a tale to Johnny, played by Bobby Driscoll. According to an IMDB.com live poll the movie ranks 23rd for The Most Controversial Movies. The movie came out after a tough year for Disney  (DIS) – Get The Walt Disney Company Report, coming out of union strikes, laying off half of its employees. Disney needed a movie that would rescue it from its current demise.

Even though the movie did rake in over $300 million, it would be Reymond’s first and last screenplay. Disney knew of the story’s controversy, and they even hired Maurice Rapf to oversee the project to remove offensive parts of the screenplay. He was known as a radical leftist, and Disney knew they he would make sure the movie would curb the ‘white Southern slant’ of the picture.

Disney had other choices for a log flume ride.

Disney had other options when it came to remaking Splash Mountain into another water-related film. They had huge success with The Little Mermaid. They instead used this movie for an attraction ride called Under the Sea, which opened in 2012 at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando. “The Little Mermaid” grossed over $235 million in revenue.

Disney also saw a huge success with Moana which opened in 2016. Moana’s fight in the water could have been a great remake of Splash Mountain, but Disney decided to take this movie and turn it into a different ‘dry’ attraction, Moana’s Journey of Water. “Moana” drew in over $645 million in sales.

Both of these movies would have been excellent replacements for “Song of the South”, turning the iconic ride into something kids and families would appreciate and love for decades. While not seeing the turn of Splash Mountain come from either of these movies, it is good to see Disney made use of these blockbuster hits with other attractions.

Given the Florida heat and California sun, many Disney patrons look at the log ride as a chance to cool off after a long walk or standing in line. The log ride was always a great way to get friends soaked, who didn’t know about the crowd splashing.

The new splash of “Song of the South” is “Down in New Orleans.”

Disney is making efforts to remove the iconic Splash Mountain’s theme and reviving it with a more appropriate theme. Disney has been working to remake the ride at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom for years now, and it will adopt a theme from “The Princess and the Frog” animated film and be called Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, opening in 2024. 

“The Princess and the Frog” Disney film opened in 2009 and has grossed over $271 million. The Disney production is loosely based on Brothers Grimm, E.D. Baker’s tale “The Frog Prince.” The story is about a young girl, Tiana, who dreams of opening her own restaurant. Tiana is voiced by Anika Noni Rose. Throughout the movie, Tiana is faced with obstacles and she overcomes each of them, showing empowerment for women and a person of color, and having a happy ending isn’t bad either.

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