What's new

Disney retheming Splash Mountain at WDW & Disneyland to The Princess & The Frog

Lofty

Social Media Team
Staff member
Social Media Team
Cannot believe the ignorance and cloaked racism of some of the members here.

This is amazing, great on Disney for doing the right thing. And let's face it, cinematically and musically, Princess and the Frog is one of THE best and most underrated Disney Classic movies in existence.

It's time that the movie is recognised for the greatness it is.
 

nadroJ

Well-Known Member
An interesting point I think has been brought up here is one of fantasy. If it can be clearly defined that Frontierland is a fantastical version of the American frontier, kind of like you have with the HKDL & TDL, then I think you're onto a winner in terms of moving away from the icky side of the reality of USA's past steeped in racism and conflict. To do that though you are going to have to turf up some old classics, which I don't particularly have a problem with as long as they're replaced with something else and not simply removed. And yes I'm aware SotS is technically fantasy but the world is too aware of the controversies surrounded that film and the discomfort it brings with it that no amount of showgirl chicken animatronics singing Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah can cover up.

And if that's the direction Disney want to go in then here comes the tricky part - does any factual history have a place in the Disney parks? In his speech on opening day at Disneyland, Walt said 'here age relives fond memories of the past.' Whose fond memories exactly? If you're of Black descent then suffice to say you probably don't have fond memories of the past and is there a way of showcasing positive and uplifting moments of Black American history in a theme park setting without diluting and white-washing it? For so long history books and movies and all kinds of media have been glossing over the troubling parts of American history in order to present this glossy fantasised version, which is of course incredibly disrespectful to the memories of the past of other cultures other than that of White pioneers (in the case of Frontierland and the fantasy of the American Frontier in general)

I've always been in love with the way Disney parks presented this nostalgic depiction of Frontier America, simpler wholesome times full of adventure and hope for the future. But that's me coming from a White British perspective. If you're of Indigenous or Black descent such settings are troubling because you know the atrocities are being glossed over in favour of presenting an idealised image for the sake of a nice themed land in a theme park, but when this aligns with years of White people being told it wasn't ever that bad I can see where it starts to get problematic because you simply can't have the fantasy version of Frontierland existing without it being harmful and disrespectful to the lived experiences of other cultures. Even if it is just a theme park, when you see it as just another piece of a puzzle of lies spun over years to try and downplay how terrible the US has been to Indigenous and Black communities in the past (and still to this day) it just starts to leave a bad taste in my opinion.

The Hall of Presidents is another tricky one. Personally I love it because again, I'm a little bit obsessed with the idea of American patriotism and HoP is the epitome of this. Every single man represented in that building has done something terrible for the good of his country. But the point of HoP isn't an in-depth history lesson on the presidents of the USA, it's a love-letter to the fantasy of patriotism and the American Dream. But again, like a lot of what's been discussed here, do we ignore the elephants in the room like Trump's rape allegations and Nixon's Watergate scandal in order for the HoP to exist without getting too heavy? Hell, even the damn Muppet show about the US gaining its independence does its share of whitewashing! All in a very Muppet-y kind of way of course and we know it's silly and not to be taken too seriously but still, does it have a place, even in a theme park, without acknowledging the bad stuff too? As much as the idea of losing these things saddens me, I'm not entirely sure they can have a place in our world without being problematic.
 
Last edited:

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
I had assumed I wouldn't need to post anything like this on the forums - what a shame. I will keep this short.

The BLM movement is an important, and positive, historical event happening in the world at the moment. I hope I am not alone in having found it eye-opening, humbling, jarring and much more. There is place for a healthy debate, albeit how healthy it can be given our demographic (@Snoo, help!) remains in question, but whichever way you cut it, this thread about Splash Mountain is not the place for it. In particular, supporting/defending the foul attitude of "BUT ALL LIVES MATTER" will not be tolerated.

Let us please continue the conversation about Splash Mountain (which I'm finding quite fascinating and learning a lot), including the potential motivations, but let's not let it divulge into a debate about racist members of the forums.
 

LiveForTheLaunch

Well-Known Member
it’ll still have songs. I only know the main song from an old sing a long VHS, never had any interest in watching the actual movie, and brer rabbit isn’t exactly a noteworthy character.
Same, and I lovedddd that VHS! I think I watched it 2x daily for the 3 months leading up to my first Disney trip as a kid. Grim Grinning Ghosts ❤
 

Ben

Social Media Team
Social Media Team
If some of y’all cared about black lives as much as you do a cartoon rabbit and fox maybe we wouldn’t be having this conversation...

Like honestly, it’s fine. PatF is so similar thematically to Splash anyway that you just need to swap out some animatronics and the soundtrack and you’re basically there. It’s not like they’re converting it to Star Wars so let’s calm down.

This day was coming - yes the recent events have definitely spurred it on and I think the decision has been made very quickly (hence saying it’s still in creative development and there being one bit of concept art - because they started work two weeks ago let’s face it) and then put out as a press release ASAP but, fine. It was coming sooner or later - I do just wish they’d done it organically and because they genuinely believed in it rather than this way.

Remember when they announced Tower was closing and everyone cried but now everyone knows Guardians is way, way better? It’s like that but with more racism.
 

Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
One angle I don't think we've explored yet in this thread is to turn the controversy about Splash Mountain inside out a little, for those who find the retheme controversial. So let's get right to the core of it:

What is Splash Mountain?

I feel that's a relevant question to ask about this refurbishment. The attraction is getting a makeover, so let's take a simple look at what is being changed here. The best place to start, I think, is to Google "Disney Splash Mountain", which led me to Disney's own explanations of what the attraction is:

Disneyland website said:
Hop inside a hollow log and float through a colorful bayou as you follow happy-go-lucky Br’er Rabbit to his “laughing place.” But be warned: Br’er Bear and Br’er Fox are in hot pursuit of this wayward hare.

Glide past over 100 talking, singing, storytelling Audio-Animatronics critters who inhabit Splash Mountain and offer up their own slice of down-home culture. Sing along to classic Disney ditties, including “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.”

Then, brace yourself for the big finale—this musical cruise ends in a thrilling 5-story splashdown!

This attraction includes 950,000 gallons of water, 3 dips and a 5-story drop. Where you’re seated will determine how wet you’ll get. Riders in the back may experience a sudden splash or spray; those who opt for the front can expect to get soaked.

Disney World website said:
Gently drift through a colorful Southern bayou along with happy-go-lucky Br’er Rabbit as he looks for his “laughing place.” But be warned: Br’er Bear and Br’er Fox are in hot pursuit of this wayward hare.

Glide by over 100 adorable Audio-Animatronics geese, frogs, raccoons, possums, bees, alligators and other down-home critters as they sing classic Disney ditties, including “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” and “Ev’rybody’s Got a Laughing Place.”

Then hang on to your hats—this delightful musical cruise ends in an exciting 5-story splashdown into a thorny Briar Patch!

This attraction includes 950,000 gallons of water, 3 dips and a 5-story drop. Where you’re seated will determine how wet you’ll get. Riders in the back may experience a sudden splash or spray; those who opt for the front can expect to get soaked.

So, no big surprise, really, but at its core Splash Mountain is a large log flume filled with singing animatronics. That's what the ride experience is primarily about. It is big and thrilling and a little wet and very well-themed and plays music and tells a story. A musical cruise that ends in a splashdown, as they put it.

Fundamentally, is this likely to change with the re-theme? I find it unlikely that they would modify the whole concept of the attraction. It will still be a large log flume filled with singing animatronics, that is still big and thrilling and a little wet and very well-themed and plays music and tells a story. It will be different music, and a different story too, but the things that make Splash Mountain will still be there. It will still be a musical cruise that ends in a splashdown. It will probably still have its 100 animatronics.

I daresay that Br'er Rabbit and Br'er Bear and Br'er Fox and Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah are of secondary importance. Yes, it's a fun little story and a catchy song, but it's far from the only possible story and there are many other good songs out there. Neither of them are deeply tied to the concept of the attraction. Catchy, yes, iconic, possibly, but irreplaceable, no.

So, with the makeover, I don't think we will lose Splash Mountain in any way. The name is even likely to be kept. Possibly the exterior look as well. Disney isn't going to change the winning formula of the attraction, they will just modify what it is on the surface. That surface finish, the Song of the South setting, is the problematic part. And I think it can be changed without at all diminishing how enjoyable the attraction is.
 

peep

Well-Known Member
This day was coming - yes the recent events have definitely spurred it on and I think the decision has been made very quickly (hence saying it’s still in creative development and there being one bit of concept art - because they started work two weeks ago let’s face it) and then put out as a press release ASAP but, fine. It was coming sooner or later - I do just wish they’d done it organically and because they genuinely believed in it rather than this way.
This is how I feel, the announcement felt a bit rushed out while the topic was still relevant. This isn't a bad thing but it does mean it'll probably be a few years before maybe even work starts on the retheme.

I saw a few people question Tokyo plans, I read that apparently they've "taken a look" at the situation before and still haven't decided/announced plans. Even if they were to change they'd probably announce at a separate time, because that seems to be how OLC roll (company that runs the Tokyo resort).

Jungle Cruise was announced (2017!) as having a retheme after the new movie comes out, I'd be surprised if taking out/toning down the more racist elements were not part of those plans.


As with the majority, I like the sound of these plans, might look a bit mis-placed in Magic Kingdom but I'm sure they'll make it work. The songs in PatF are fun. The announcement did say the story of the ride will take place basically at the end/after the movie but I hope they're able to work in Dr. Facilier because he's one of the better villains. Going up the final lift with "Are you ready?" would be amazing.
 

CrashCoaster

Well-Known Member
I'm guessing all of this is exclusively directed at me. I am not a racist and I'm very offended that I'm being branded as one, but my opinions on the movement are sticking and there is nothing anyone can say or do to make me think any differently. You can't say all lives don't matter. Especially when all this is going on in a time of a global pandemic.
 
Actually I must say despite some trying to take this discussion down a political route - this discussion has been really enlightening, and much more eloquent and restrained than I have seen on Social media!

I appreciate the way people have formed their 'arguments'. This is how discussions should be between people who don't necessarily agree or are at differing levels of understanding! I've been confronted, but come away with a better understanding of the bigger picture.
 
Last edited:

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
It wasn't specifically targeted at you, there have been three or four posts on the first page of this thread, but it is now.
I'm guessing all of this is exclusively directed at me. I am not a racist, but my opinions on the movement are sticking and there is nothing anyone can say or do to make me think any differently. You can't say all lives don't matter. Especially when all this is going on in a time of a global pandemic.
Consider this a warning. I suggest you go learn about what "black lives matter" means, not what you think it means. No one, not a single person, is saying what you think they're saying.
 

Ben

Social Media Team
Social Media Team
I'm guessing all of this is exclusively directed at me. I am not a racist and I'm very offended that I'm being branded as one, but my opinions on the movement are sticking and there is nothing anyone can say or do to make me think any differently. You can't say all lives don't matter. Especially when all this is going on in a time of a global pandemic.
Maybe try not posting racist things, and people will stop calling you racist? This movement has been around for long enough now that anyone with the internet could have researched it, all now you’re actively choosing a racist stand point. Maybe even look up the burning house analogy you’ve totally misunderstood. Then maybe you’ll figure out why actively opposing this important movement does in fact make you, racist. And I’m sooooo sorry that you hearing that offends you, but people are literally dying because of little ****s like you with this attitude, so you deserve to be offended.

Didn’t really help in the same post you were swapping Japan and China around like they’re the same...
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Personally, I think that this was definitely the right decision. In Walt Disney’s original manifesto for Disneyland, he said that he wanted the park to appeal to “everyone”. That word is very important; “everyone” does not mean a specific part of society. Everyone means everyone, regardless of their age, gender, race, sexuality, religion or anything like that.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Splash Mountain when I rode it last April. I thought it was a real feel-good ride, and the songs were very catchy. It’s been an icon of the Disney parks for decades. However, this is very much viewing it at face value, and I must admit that I had no idea of its links to Song of the South when I first rode it. When you’re on the ride, the songs seem harmless and to have no connotations of racism whatsoever, and I’m sure that’s the way in which it was intended by the designers, however when you view it in the wider context of the film and the fact that it apparently glamourised slavery, then it does become a lot more disturbing, and I can’t imagine how any black visitors to Disneyland or the Magic Kingdom must feel to see those songs and those ideas represented on a major attraction at a major theme park in 2020.

As much as I appreciate many people have nostalgic connections with Splash Mountain, I think we live in a very different time now to the time we lived in when the ride was first created. We are actively trying to make the world a more inclusive, accepting place for everyone who lives in it, and I frankly couldn’t be happier. I think that everyone in the world deserves to be celebrated regardless of gender, race, sexuality, religion or anything like that, and the movement has been a real eye-opener in terms of what the world needs to do in order to achieve this. I have nothing but support for what the movement is trying to achieve, and if we can put a new, more acceptable theme for a modern audience onto Splash Mountain while also maintaining the current spirit of the ride, then I’d say that it’s a win-win situation, personally! As much as I appreciate the power of nostalgia, I don’t always think it should guide everything, and the backstory & connotations of Splash Mountain are definitely a product of their time. This new version should create fantastic memories for a far wider proportion of Disney visitors than the current version of Splash Mountain, and will celebrate the world’s diversity and promote equal rights for all cultures, which I think is a hugely positive step.

Even viewing it completely outside of the lens of diversity, I have a very positive view of this development. Splash Mountain, as iconic as it is, is quite an old attraction now; it opened at Disneyland in 1989, and at Magic Kingdom in 1992. In the Disneyland version, quite a few of the animatronics were reused from America Sings, which opened in 1974. As much as I liked the ride as it is now, Disney has done some fantastic ride refurbishments recently, and with some of the modern technology they have at their disposal now (for example, their Audio-Animatronics have come on a long way since Splash Mountain was first built), I think that this could represent a huge improvement for the ride. As an example, @Ben mentioned GOTG in California; there was huge controversy when Disney refurbed ToT to Guardians of the Galaxy, and I think that Guardians looks absolutely fantastic from what I’ve seen! I seem to remember the refurbishment of Maelstrom into Frozen Ever After at Epcot being similarly controversial; when I rode Frozen Ever After last year, I was incredibly impressed with the ride and what Disney had done with it, and from watching POVs and listening to family members who remember riding Maelstrom, it certainly looks a lot more impressive than the ride it replaced, in my opinion! And I’m not even a huge fan of Frozen! My point is; “refurbishment of a Disney classic into an IP themed ride” does not necessarily mean “huge downgrade”, and I have full faith in Walt Disney Imagineering to pull off a wonderful refurbishment that really improves upon the former iteration and makes happy memories for years to come.

I appreciate that this is a very sensitive topic for many, so I apologise profusely if anything I said has touched a nerve with anyone here.
 
Last edited:

gavin

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
^ Don't waste your time. This "all lives matter" bollocks has been annihilated over all forms of media for weeks now. Anyone who still doesn't get it is deliberately choosing not to.
I'm guessing all of this is exclusively directed at me. I am not a racist and I'm very offended that I'm being branded as one, but my opinions on the movement are sticking and there is nothing anyone can say or do to make me think any differently. You can't say all lives don't matter. Especially when all this is going on in a time of a global pandemic.
And here's the problem. You're more offended by being branded a racist, despite making racist statements and "sticking" by them, than by racism itself.

Sent from my Redmi Note 7 using Tapatalk
 

TommyAlex

Member
I'm surprised it's taken Disney this long to to rebrand it. Seems a bit weird for the two most famous theme parks in the world to have one of their most famous rides themed around a film that Disney have famously tried to erase from existence because it's racist.

Whilst Disney parks do preserve their history, it can't be their priority. They're not small amusement parks where their charm and old rides are a major appeal for the average visitor - they're big, corporate theme parks, where sometimes, keeping up with the times and modernising will come before preserving their history. Ride themed around the film most people are aware of because it's banned for being racist? Yeah, this should probably be one of those times where updating is more appropriate.
 

TheMaverick987

New Member
Getting back to the topic of Splash Mountain changing. I'm probably not the olny one who's warming to it. But I dont think princess and the frog will fit in Magic Kingdom because it's in the middle of Frontierland. If they only did that theme to Disneyland and retheme the one in Florida to a modern version of the Western River Expedition concept.
 
Top