Disney is getting called out on social media over the Splash Mountain ride at its theme parks. As many people are pointing out, Splash Mountain may be a log flume ride, but its entire decorative theme is based on the 1946 Disney movie, Song of the South. That live-action/animated musical has become a blemish on Disney's filmography, as it depicts a Disney-esque vision of Plantation culture (and slavery) in the American South, following the Civil War. Disney has largely buried the film in modern times, but the Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Fox, and Br'er Bear characters from the film are still major features of Splash Mountain to this day.
In light of international protests over racism in the last few weeks, there are now calls going out for Disney to address the legacy of Splash Mountain's connection to Song of the South, and do something about it.
Change The Theme
Princess and the Frog Splash Mountain retheme for Disneyland thread. Just put on the soundtrack and a splash ridethrough while reading this. pic.twitter.com/8z5wOalyB7— Frederick Chambers (@FreddyFromBatuu) June 9, 2020
One of the biggest points of consensus is that Splash Mountain the ride is okay, but the theme needs to change. Disney fans think The Princess and the Frog would be both practical and appropriate as a new theme.prevnext
That's Not It
I’m ALL FOR Princess and the Frog in the parks but they deserve an original boat ride/experience concept.
Not some rethemed Splash Mountain, as the attraction concept doesn’t fit the narrative of the movie. https://t.co/xmlx34Jn37— DSNY Newscast (@DSNYNewscast) June 10, 2020
Others feels that Princess and the Frog, the first black Disney Princess movie, doesn't need to be attached to the legacy of Song of the South in any kind of way.prevnext
If the #DisneyParks were to ever retheme Splash Mountain as a way to disengage from the legacy of Song of the South, why not do 'Pocahontas' Riverbend Adventure?' Canoe ride vehicles, Meeko & Flit work great for Critter Country, a big set piece with Grandmother Willow, etc. pic.twitter.com/7z7sl9zQkN— The Man in the Cotton Mask (@spfarrelltweets) June 10, 2020
I just saw a post where someone said they should replace the "theme" of Splash Mountain (Song Of The South) with a less problematic Disney movie... Like Pocahontas. pic.twitter.com/iQUQStzjol— Justin McDaniel 🏳️🌈 (@JUSTINtime4aLAF) June 10, 2020
Some people thought that Pocahontas would be a great replacement for Splash Mountain's theme. That ideas quickly got... problematic.prevnext
I Never Knew...
splash mountain is based off of that fucked up racist song of the south movie?? and disney never changed it? i thought they just made some random ass animatronics for the ride— 〚 dani 〛 was thesiivertongue (@azulasreign) June 10, 2020
A lot of new awareness has come out of these recent events. You'd be surprised how many people never knew the dark history of Splash Mountain and Songs of the South.prevnext
...But I Know Now
When we went there years ago, my father loved seeing that ride. I was always confused why I'd never heard of the characters. Like, they weren't even in House of Mouse.— Sapphibian (@TheElectricFrog) June 10, 2020
Of course, now I'm fully aware that my father is a blatant racist, so there's no confusion anymore.
Other people are realizing that they probably should've made this connection long ago.prevnext
Let's Get Goofy
If we’re gonna re-theme splash mountain.. how about a water based thrill ride thet ends with heart pic.twitter.com/feG0OgIfjy— Jess Siswick (@tinymallet) June 9, 2020
A Goofy Movie is a Disney classic - and has a pretty intense river sequence. Problem solved?prevnext
What's the History?
To be fair the ride Slash Mountain focuses on the parables of Br’er Rabbit, which is based in Afro-American/enslaved fables derived from African Rabbit trickster stories in the Akan Tradition. I don’t think that’s inherently problematic— mattyo 🌹 (@Dublinerscraic) June 10, 2020
Disney may have made Song of the South, but (like so many of its movies) Disney did not originate the story of Br'er Rabbit. That story goes back to the trickster deities of West, Central, and Southern African cultures. Some historians even believe that early Americanized versions of the story may have served as metaphors for the perseverance of black people enslaved in the plantation system. Disney may have taken that story and twisted for Song of the South, so instead of completely paving over it with a new theme, the Africana origins of the story should be highlighted on the attraction?prevnext
(Can We) Just Enjoy The Ride?
But don't you think that's incredibly selfish given the reality of what it is? Don't you think you could have splashy fun without the racist part? They could change it easily to like a Moana or Princess and the Frog ride or something.— Mark Benson (@InventAnxiety) June 10, 2020
This exchange may be the epitome of what's been going on in 2020. Can the joy of riding Splash Mountain be separated from the problematic nature of the material it is themed after?prev