Last year Disney confirmed that Splash Mountain, it's iconic log flume ride, would be getting a major overhaul. While the core of the ride itself would remain intact, the theming of the attraction would change entirely. The story inspired by the controversial Disney film Song of the South, is set to be replaced by a new story following the events of The Princess and the Frog. While we have no timeline yet on when the ride will undergo the update, Magic Kingdom has made one related change already, as a statue of Song of the South and Splash Mountain character Br'er Rabbit has disappeared from the park.
The statue, seen above in a picture taken earlier this year while CinemaBlend was in the theme park, could be found on the outer edge of the hub area between the end of Main Street U.S.A. and the entrance to Adventureland. Laughing Place has confirmed that while the pedestal is still there, the bronze statue itself is gone.
The removal of the statue itself isn't all that surprising. I remember when we saw it on our recent trip thinking that it would likely be replaced around the time that Splash Mountain saw its redesign. The reason for the removal now is pretty obvious. Disney World's 50th anniversary celebration is just about one month away and part of the celebration is the Disney Fab 50 Character Collection, a set of 50 golden statues of different Disney characters that will be placed all over all four of Disney World's theme parks. To make room for the new statues, there's almost certainly a need to remove some of the current ones.
Having said that, while there's a good chance that anything else that gets removed to make room for special 50th anniversary displays might one day return, it seems more than likely that Br'er Rabbit is gone for good. It's been confirmed time and again that Disney is not going to be promoting Song of the South. It has never seen a domestic video release. It is not now, nor will it likely ever be, on Disney+. And with Splash Mountain being redesigned the last place these characters were seen will soon be gone.
The 50th anniversary statues will be on display for 18 months since that's how long the event is set to last. Whether Splash Mountain will undergo its updating in that period or not is unclear. Magic Kingdom may not want to see a major attraction close during such an event, but it would seem likely that even if it waits a year and a half, the update will start soon thereafter. The 50th anniversary statues may remain after the event is over, but if they are removed, odds are that space will be taken up by something else new.
Perhaps, since The Princess and the Frog is taking over Splash Mountain, Princess Tiana or Louis the alligator could get a statue in the spot where Br'er Rabbit once stood.
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CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.