Disney is set to close its iconic attraction Splash Mountain on January 23, 2023, due to accusations that it promotes “racial stereotypes.”
Splash Mountain, which opened in 1989, is themed around Disney’s 1946 film “Song of the South,” which has been described as racist due to its portrayal of plantation life during the reconstruction era.
The ride will be replaced by another attraction themed around the animation “The Princess and the Frog,” which is starred by black heroine Tiana.
Disney’s announcement that the attraction would be re-themed was made in June 2020, as protests in response to George Floyd’s death swept across the nation.
“I’ve felt, as long as I’ve been CEO, that ‘Song of the South’ was – even with a disclaimer – was just not appropriate in today’s world,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in March 2020.
Disney’s announcement did not mention growing pressure from activist groups to re-theme Splash Mountain, which included a 2019 petition with more than 21,000 signatures.
In contrast, a petition calling for the ride to remain unchanged reached 93,000 signatures.
“Splash Mountain is an iconic ride at Magic Kingdom, loved by millions of fans all over the world for over 30 years,” said the counter-petition. “Re-theming such an iconic ride would erode the nostalgia that lives in Disney World and take away a little bit of the magic.”