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Wed Jun 10, 2020, 10:26 PM

Disney fans say Splash Mountain, a ride inspired by 'Song of the South,' should be re-themed

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/disney-splash-mountain-theme-racist-trnd/index.html

(CNN) — One of Disney's best-loved rides is based on a film widely considered the studio's most racist.

Splash Mountain, a mainstay at both Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California, stars the animated characters from "Song of the South," the 1946 film long criticized for stereotypes of "spiritual" black men and its seemingly nostalgic view of the antebellum South.

Fans want to keep the ride. But they're asking Disney to scrap all mention of the movie.

A number of suggestions have cropped up urging Disney to retheme the popular ride. The most widely shared one proposes retooling it for "The Princess and the Frog," the first Disney film to introduce a black princess. Some of them have turned into Change.org petitions.

The petitions come at a time when companies -- and the country -- are reckoning with their own biases and, on occasion, racist histories.

The problems with 'Song of the South'

Splash Mountain stars Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox, along with all the ducks & chickens & frogs who share their Southern home, and culminates in a tall drop that sends riders straight through the thorny briar. But the animated characters that appear throughout originated in the 1946 film, "Song of the South," best known for the song "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah."

The film has long been criticized for its romanticized view of the post-Civil War South. The Guardian's Scott Tobias wrote in 2019 that the "world and themes of both [the live-action portion and animated segments starring Brer Rabbit] reinforce a nostalgia for a plantation in the Reconstruction era."

Brer Rabbit's history is controversial, too.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, he was a figure in African folklore that traveled with slaves to the US. Then, in the mid-19th century, author Joel Chandler Harris took the character and popularized it in stories that adopted the dialect he picked up from slaves.

Harris' stories were narrated by an old black man named Uncle Remus, who regales the son of a plantation owner with stories about Brer Rabbit and his animal companions. Those stories formed the basis for "Song of the South."

Today, scholars and readers say Harris' stories employ unquestionably racist stereotypes.

Disney, which unearthed dozens of forgotten films to stream on Disney+, decided to keep "Song of the South" in the vault. It never got a wide at-home release in the US either because of criticisms of racism.

But Disneyland opened Splash Mountain in 1989, decades after the film debuted and was denied a video release. Uncle Remus doesn't appear anywhere in the ride, but the country animals still speak in the same dialect Harris used in his stories and Disney used in the film.

CNN reached out to Disneyland and Walt Disney World for comment and is waiting to hear back.


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Reply Disney fans say Splash Mountain, a ride inspired by 'Song of the South,' should be re-themed (Original post)
Dial H For Hero Jun 2020 OP
BlueTsunami2018 Jun 2020 #1
hunter Jun 2020 #2
TheBlackAdder Jun 2020 #3
murielm99 Jun 2020 #4
TeamPooka Jun 2020 #5

Response to Dial H For Hero (Original post)

Wed Jun 10, 2020, 10:32 PM

1. Nah, the ride is perfect the way it is.

The ride has no references to Uncle Remus, there’s nothing questionable about it. And really, the movie should be on Disney plus. It could be used as a teaching tool. One of the Looney Toons sets I have has people taking about the racial problems before they show the cartoons.

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Response to Dial H For Hero (Original post)

Wed Jun 10, 2020, 11:48 PM

2. Disney will make a new movie based on the ride...

... and "Song of the South" will be history.


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Response to Dial H For Hero (Original post)

Thu Jun 11, 2020, 12:33 AM

3. It should just be renamed to Flash Mountain for all of the topless pics taken on it.

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Response to Dial H For Hero (Original post)

Thu Jun 11, 2020, 12:57 AM

4. My parents took me to see that movie when I was a kid.

My mother has commented since about the racist nature of the film. She says they did not realize it until years later.

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Response to Dial H For Hero (Original post)

Thu Jun 11, 2020, 03:09 AM

5. Throw up a few pictures of Tom Hanks and Darryl Hannah and still call it SPLASH Mountain.

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