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Disney to 'completely reimagine' Splash Mountain ride due to connections to controversial movie

A petition claims ride has ties to a 1946 movie "steeped in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes."

Patrick Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Disney will overhaul the Splash Mountain ride following calls to remove the iconic attraction because of its connections to a controversial movie that many say is racially insensitive.

Disney announced Thursday that major changes are coming to the Splash Mountain theme park ride at Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida. Disney said the Splash Mountain ride would be "completely reimagined" with a new story inspired by "The Princess and The Frog" movie. Disney shared an artist's rendering of what the possible new log flume attraction could look like.

The new ride will be based on "The Princess and the Frog," the 2009 animated film featuring Princess Tiana, the first Black Disney princess. In a news release, Disney said they have been working on revamping the ride since last year.

"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 statement read.

A Change.org petition went viral earlier this month, calling for Disney to remove the Splash Mountain ride due to its ties to the "Song of the South" movie. The petition, which has over 20,000 signatures, states that the 1946 live-action animated film is "steeped in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes."

Disney executive chairman Bob Iger said in March that "Song of the South" would not appear on the Disney+ streaming service because it is "not appropriate in today's world." The movie had previously been tagged with a disclaimer warning that read: "Outdated cultural depictions."

Splash Mountain opened in 1989 at Disneyland and 1992 at Walt Disney World.

The retheming of Splash Mountain comes at a time when companies are ditching any remotely problematic aspects. Brands such as Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben's, and Eskimo Pie have promised sweeping changes to stop using marketing that could be deemed as racially charged.

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