Disney has announced that Walt Disney World will renovate its Splash Mountain theme park ride to feature “The Princess and the Frog.”
The announcement follows criticism of the current theme for Splash Mountain, which is based on 1946 film “Song of the South.”
The movie is based on the Uncle Remus stories of Joel Chandler Harris, a white Southern author who purported to have heard the stories from black Americans in the 19th century. Song of the South depicts what critics say is an overly idealized view of the Reconstruction-era South.
The move follows a Change.org petition calling for Disney to re-imagine the ride as something different.
Splash Mountain, “will soon be completely reimagined” with a story that features Princess Tiana preparing to attend a Mardi Gras performance, Disney said in a blog post.
“Tiana is a modern, courageous and empowered woman, who pursues her dreams and never loses sight of what’s really important. It’s a great story with a strong lead character, set against the backdrop of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou,” the company said.
“It is really exciting to know that Princess Tiana’s presence in both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom will finally be fully realized!” said Anika Noni Rose, the Tony-winning actress who provided Tiana’s voice in the film.
Splash Mountain opened in 1989 and took visitors on a journey through the Old South. The ride took guests past several different scenes and includes animatronic animals singing the film’s song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” before plunging guests down a 50-foot drop.
Disney World is scheduled to reopen on July 11 after being closed since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.