Iconic Disney Ride Reopening With Theme Seen as Fitting

Splash Mountain features Black princess Tiana instead of 'Song of South' stereotypes
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 11, 2024 8:40 AM CDT
Iconic Disney Ride Reopening With Theme Seen as Fitting
Work continues on Tiana's Bayou Adventure, the reimagined former Splash Mountain ride in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida. It opens June 28.   (Joe Burbank /Orlando Sentinel via AP)

A new attraction starring the first Black Disney princess is opening at the company's US theme park resorts, and some Disney followers see it as a fitting replacement to a former ride based on a movie that contained racist tropes, per the AP. The new theme park attraction updates Tiana's storyline from the 2009 animated film The Princess and the Frog and is opening this month in the space previously occupied by Splash Mountain. The water ride had been themed to Song of the South, a 1946 Disney movie filled with racist cliches about African Americans and plantation life.

Tiana's Bayou Adventure keeps Splash Mountain's DNA as a log-flume ride, but it's infused with music, scenery, and animatronic characters inspired by the film set in 1920s New Orleans. It opens to the public on June 28 at Walt Disney World in Florida and at Disneyland in California later this year. "For little Black girls, Tiana has meant a lot. When a little child can see somebody who looks like them, that matters," said Neal Lester, an English professor at Arizona State University, who has written about Tiana.

Disney's announcement that it would transform its longstanding Splash Mountain ride into Tiana's Bayou Adventure was made in June 2020 following the social justice protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. At the time, Disney said the change had already been in the works. But it came as companies across the US were reconsidering or renaming decades-old brands amid worldwide protests. Read the full story.

(More Disney stories.)

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