It’s been two years since Disney officially announced that the iconic Splash Mountain attraction would be rethemed at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. It will be about two more years before the work is done and the Princess and the Frog themed Tiana’s Bayou Adventure actually opens. However, the removal of all things Song of the South has been an ongoing process, and another change has taken place at Magic Kingdom that removes another element of the controversial film from the park.
Last weekend saw the first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party of 2022 and with it the first Boo To You parade. It was the first parade of its kind since 2019, and so one certainly expects there to be some change from the last version, but one notable change, recognized by Blog Mickey, was that the Splash Mountain characters Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Fox, and Br’er Bear, who were there last time, were MIA this time around.
Certainly, while some changes to parades are just done to keep things fresh and interesting, in this case the part that was changed was the part that was going to be an issue anyway if it had appeared. The last time these characters showed up in the parade there was no indication that anything was going to happen with Splash Mountain, but in the two years since then we’ve seen the characters' appearances systematically removed from Magic Kingdom. This is the second parade we’ve seen Song of the South characters removed from this year.
At this point it seems quite clear that Splash Mountain itself will probably be the last thing that includes Song of the South characters to be replaced, and once the ride shuts down everything else that connects to the problematic Disney film will already be gone. This isn’t exactly surprising or unwelcome.
Back in 2020, when Disney Parks were still closed following the initial pandemic outbreak, fans began to ask for a redesign of Splash Mountain due to the ride’s connection with Song of the South, a 1946 live-action/animated hybrid movie that painted a very rosy picture of post-Civil War society in the United States for African-Americans, much more rosy than was ever realistic. Disney has been distancing itself from Song of the South for years. The film has never been available domestically on home video and it cannot be found on Disney+.
Disney eventually made the somewhat surprising move of giving those fans exactly what they had been asking for, a new version of the ride based on The Princess and the Frog, a film showcasing Walt Disney Animation’s first Black Princess. Although, Disney claimed there were already plans to re-theme the ride that way before the outcry began.
Ultimately, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, as the new ride will be called, will still be a classic log flume ride so fans of the ride itself have nothing to worry about. The new Princess and the Frog attraction is set to open in late 2024. Exactly when the Disneyland or Disney World rides will close down to begin the transformation is unclear. Rumors have indicated it could happen as early as this fall. If that’s the case we could get a closure date, and one that isn’t too far away, at next month’s D23 Expo.
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