According to Disney, the Imagineers (Disney’s magical ride creators) have been working on how to retheme the ride to celebrate The Princess and the Frog, a 2009 instant hit starring Disney’s first Black princess, since last year. The ride will now follow the story right after “the final kiss” as Princess Tiana and Louis embark on a musical adventure. Music from the film will surround the pair as they prepare for their very first Mardi Gras performance.
Though the blog post announcing the decision makes no mention of it, the film that the Splash Mountain ride is based on has been surrounded by controversy. Song of the South features what many people view as racial stereotypes, as a young white boy hangs out with a Black plantation worker in the South after the Civil War.
Disney’s Imagineers often task themselves with recreating an experience to tell a fresh, relevant story. There’s arguably no better way to fix up the magic than replacing ride with racism origins with one that celebrates Black representation and stories.
The ride is still in its conceptual stage, so it will still be a while before we’re singing along to “Down in New Orleans,” but the Imagineers will soon be able to develop a timeline for when it can be expected.