Disney announced the official closing date for its iconic Splash Mountain attraction this week, more than two years after the company first announced it planned to close the ride due to the continuation of “racial stereotypes.”
Splash Mountain, based on the movie Song of the Southwill conclude on January 23, 2023. The film has come under fire in recent years for its depiction of plantation life.
“I’ve felt, as long as I’ve been CEO, that ‘Song of the South’ – even with a disclaimer – just wasn’t appropriate in today’s world,” So said Disney CEO Bob Iger at a shareholder meeting in March 2020.
The company announced in June 2020 that it planned to reinvent the ride at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, set one year after the film’s conclusion. The Princess and the Frog.
“With this long history of updating rides and adding new magic, the Splash Mountain re-theme is of particular interest today,” Disney said in a previous statement. “The new concept is inclusive — one that all our guests can relate to and be inspired by, and it is appeals to diversity of the millions of people who visit our parks every year.”
A petition to save Splash Mountain in the wake of Disney’s initial announcement garnered more than 93,000 signatures.
“Splash Mountain is an iconic ride in Magic Kingdom, loved by millions of fans around the world for over 30 years.” read the petition. “Re-theming such an iconic ride would erode the nostalgia that lives in Disney World and take away a little bit of the magic.”
In contrast, a 2019 petition calling for the attraction to close received more than 21,000 signatures.