The Walt Disney Company officially announced this morning that Splash Mountain will be re-themed to Princess and the Frog. Rumours have been circulating about this possibility for a while now. There was even a petition gaining traction on the internet calling for this change, but nothing was official until today. The change will be made to both Splash Mountains in Disneyland and Magic Kingdom Parks.

Splash Mountain

Splash Mountain is an elaborate log flume ride. It follows Br’er Rabbit on his adventures of mischief. The villains, Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear spend the entirety of the experience trying to capture and kill Br’er Rabbit. Once they do so, Br’er Rabbit tricks them into simply sending him back home–to the Briar Patch. Along the way are some of the most intense and thrilling drops down waterfalls in the world. And of course, guests usually get pretty wet–if not soaked!

Where does the story of Br’er Rabbit come from? Well, these stories were told in Song of the South as subplots in the main plot. If you have never heard of the film, there is a good reason why. Even though it was released several times since the 1940s, it has always been the subject of controversy. Eventually, The Walt Disney Company hid the film in “the vault,” so it could never be released or purchased for individual or public consumption.

The reason for the controversy is pretty simple: racism. That’s not to say that Disney intentionally made a movie with weird racist undertones. We might not ever know the true intentions. However, the controversy revolves around the fact that plantation life was depicted inaccurately, almost as a strange utopian society where blacks happily served whites. Critics feared that would give impressionable minds the wrong idea about slavery, servitude, and race.

Princess and the Frog

However, a more modern movie with far less controversy would be Princess and the Frog. The film follows Tiana, an African American woman in 1920’s New Orleans. Her dream is to one day own her own restaurant and serve happy customers. Although, given her social status, gender, and race, it is much more difficult than it would be for anybody else. She works really hard, but still loses to another person for the restaurant building–because of her “background.” She wishes upon a star, meets a frog, kisses him, and becomes a frog herself. Chaos ensues. There is a happy ending, but we won’t spoil it for you.

The Change

The plot of the new attraction will take place right after the movie’s ending. Tiana and her alligator friend Louis go on a “musical adventure” as they prepare for their first Mardi Gras performance. The music will include some of the same songs from the film.

With everything going on in the world right now, many Disney fans saw the writing on the wall here. Splash Mountain needed to change, and Tiana was the perfect replacement. Since New Orleans Square is right next to Critter Country in Disneyland, it makes perfect sense to expand that area over to Splash Mountain as well.