Disney to Refurbish Splash Mountain to Eradicate Link with Racist Film
The Splash Mountain ride of Disney is probably the most famous log flume that is a favorite at the theme parks of both Disney World and Disney World is going to get a refurbishment. Moreover, it is not just any other petty reconditioning, but quite a major one. The change is happening to snap all the connection between Splash Mountain and a film called Song of the South. It was a very insensitive movie made by Walt Disney a long time back in 1946.
As a part of an official announcement by the Walt Disney Parks, on June 30, we got to know that the work of reimaging the theme started back during 2019 only. The brand wants to scrap off the old them, and bring in a modern vibe. Next, the theme will be based on the popular Disney movie The Princess and the Frog. This one was released a decade back in 2009 and became a favorite of all Disney lovers.
Tiana is the only black princess whom Disney has introduced ever since Snow White began the journey of princess tales 72 years back. Further, there is no more news of when we will get to see the launch of the new theme. Besides, none of the representatives working for Disney are willing to give out any information. Moreover, nobody knows for how long Splash Mountain will remain closed due to the refurbishment.
It is quite evident that the entire refurbishment and transformation process is to react to a long-standing complaint. Disney is facing severe backlash for quite a few years due to the association of the park theme with the Song of the South. So, it seems that the company is now quite triggered, and are taking the transformation quite seriously.
History of the Splash Mountain
The launch of the Splash Mountain tool place back in 1989, and it features woodland characters. In the story, the Br’er Rabbit is on an adventure in which he tries to escape from the Br’er Bear and Br’er Fox. The visitors in this park have to sit on boats that start moving slowly. It is a beautiful journey in which the visitors can enjoy every scene of the story, and finally, there comes a point when the boats slide down a very steep waterfall.
They further land in a “briar patch.” Although almost no one can make out the connection between the theme and the movie, the real story is different. The theme is a proper representation of the 1946 movie in which Uncle Remus narrates the story of the Br’er Rabbit. The character of Uncle Remus is a worker in a plantation during the South American Era of Reconstruction. Uncle Remus was a creation of a storybook in 1981.
It used to narrate Aesop’s Fables type stories that were penned by Joel Chandler Harris, a white author. In his stories, he wrote about the struggle of the Black people who were living in the South back then. Although the intention of creating Uncle Remus was not bad, it is now nothing, but an example of racist entertainment. By the time the release of Song of the South took place, the character of Uncle Remus almost vanished in the air. The film’s story brought it back to prominence once again.
Racism and insensitivity
Walt Disney made quite a few changes to the character to maintain Remus’ deference to the White plantation owners. Remus was shown to work for these owners and their families, and also had a typical Black Southern diction. Several black directors and writers and directors were brought on-board to analyze the movie’s level of racial insensitivity, and there was severe criticism too. The level of insensitivity was evident enough, but still, the movie became a massive hit. Moreover, it won the 1948 Oscar for the best original song, for Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah. However, it does not shock anyone now, because it is no secret that Hollywood had segregations back in the 1940s.
The entire United States of America during the phase of Pre-Civil rights was prejudiced towards black people. After the movie’s release, there was heavy criticism by the black activists who were fighting for anti-racism. The fact that Song of the South glorified slavery was a big-time disappointment.
Contradictory judgment regarding Song of the South
Disney launched Song of the South in several theaters much after its original release. The brand did the same in case of other popular movies under their banner. The last public screening of Song of the South was held in 1986 to celebrate its 40th anniversary. It was almost three years after the making of Splash Mountain had started. During the discussion of the idea, the ride Imagineers (Park engineers of Disney) were given a brief for log flume theme ride. The engineers decided on recreating Song of the South. Therefore, they started creating the animals present in the movie.
The movie, Song of the South never had a home video release, and more so after so much controversy regarding the racist content. By the time Splash Mountain launch took place, Disney had officially disowned the movie, the theme of the ride kept receiving backlash till recent times. It is all a part of several organizations that are now taking drastic steps to deal with years of encouragement towards racism. In light of all the recent incidents including the death of George Floyd, there is massive change all around.
The movement of #BlackLivesMatter has become one of the greatest ever to date. Every organization that was oblivious regarding the oppression of black people and racial injustice are now changing minds. On the other hand, Disney has a glorious history of successful renovations and refurbishments. Therefore, there are huge expectations from the present transformation of the Splash Mountain ride as well. Apart from the reconditioning work, both Disney World and Disneyland have remained closed since March. It is due to the worldwide lockdown following the coronavirus outbreak.