Disney announces major change to theme park ride based on ‘offensive’ film

Disney have revealed they are in the process of re-imagining the popular Splash Mountain rides at their Florida and California theme parks.

The rides, in Disneyland and Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, are currently based upon the 1946 movie Song of the South.

The controversial live action/animated musical film has been kept out of circulation by Disney for years, as it has been heavily criticised for being racist.

Splash Mountain will instead be re-themed and the log flume ride will be based around the 2009 film, The Princess and the Frog.

A spokesperson for Disney explained on the Disney Parks Blog that this change “is of particular importance today”.

They continued: “The new concept is inclusive – one that all of our guests can connect with and be inspired by, and it speaks to the diversity of the millions of people who visit our parks each year.”

The re-themed ride will be based on The Princess and The Frog

Robert Iger, Executive Chairman of The Walt Disney Company has previously branded Song of the South ‘offensive’ and ‘not appropriate’.

Speaking at Disney’s annual shareholders meeting earlier this year, Iger explained that the film would not be added to the streaming site Disney Plus.

He said: “I’ve felt, for as long as I’ve been CEO, that Song of the South – even with a disclaimer – was just not appropriate in today’s world.

“Given the depictions in some of those films, to bring them out today without some form or another, without offending people. So we’ve decided not to do that.”

Anika Noni Rose, the voice of Princess Tiana, is excited for the new ride

The re-imagined ride is set to pick up the story of The Princess and the Frog after the final kiss, and visitors will be able to join Tiana and her alligator pal Louis on a musical adventure – featuring some of the “powerful music” from the film – as they prepare for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance.

A spokesperson for Disney added: “Tiana is a modern, courageous, and empowered woman, who pursues her dreams and never loses sight of what’s really important.

“It’s a great story with a strong lead character, set against the backdrop of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou. In 1966, Walt himself opened New Orleans Square when it became the first new ‘land’ added to Disneyland park, so it feels natural to link the story and the incredible music of The Princess and the Frog to our parks.”

According to the Disney Parks Blog, Disney Imagineers have been working on the idea for the re-themed ride for the last year.

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Anika Noni Rose, who was the voice of Princess Tiana in the movie, said: “It is really exciting to know that Princess Tiana’s presence in both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom will finally be fully realized!

“As passionate as I am about what we created, I know the fans are going to be over the moon. The Imagineers are giving us The Princess and the Frog Mardi Gras celebration we’ve been waiting for, and I’m here for it!”

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