The petition suggests framing the ride around Princess and the Frog.
Many people consider Disney’s Song of the South, released in 1946, the studio’s most racist film.
Disney fans started petitions demanding the Disney parks change the popular ride Splash Mountain since its inspired by the movie.
Splash Mountain stars Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox, along with all the ducks & chickens & frogs who share their Southern home, and culminates in a tall drop that sends riders straight through the thorny briar. But the animated characters that appear throughout originated in the 1946 film, “Song of the South,” best known for the song “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah.”
The film has long been criticized for its romanticized view of the post-Civil War South. The Guardian’s Scott Tobias wrote in 2019 that the “world and themes of both [the live-action portion and animated segments starring Brer Rabbit] reinforce a nostalgia for a plantation in the Reconstruction era.”
Brer Rabbit’s history is controversial, too.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, he was a figure in African folklore that traveled with slaves to the US. Then, in the mid-19th century, author Joel Chandler Harris took the character and popularized it in stories that adopted the dialect he picked up from slaves.
Harris’ stories were narrated by an old black man named Uncle Remus, who regales the son of a plantation owner with stories about Brer Rabbit and his animal companions. Those stories formed the basis for “Song of the South.”
The petition on Change.org encourages Disney to change Splash Mountain around Princess and the Frog, which showcases Tiana, Disney’s first black princess:
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.
Princess and the Frog takes place in New Orleans, which fits the ride’s location. It’s placed in the Critter Country/Frontierland portion of the park, which is near New Orleans Square in Disneyland.
Over 2,000 people have signed the petition.
Disney has acknowledged the backlash of the film. The studio never gave it “a wide at-home release” and did not include it in Disney+.
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