Walt Disney World’s Splash Mountain attraction, located in the Magic Kingdom park, will be closed down starting Jan. 23, 2023, as the ride undergoes a long-awaited rebranding.
From its inception, the Splash Mountain ride used music and characters from the racially controversial 1946 Disney animated and live-action film “Song of the South.”
The movie drew controversy for its depiction of postbellum plantation life and has never been released on home video or streaming as a result.
“I’ve felt, as long as I’ve been CEO, that ‘Song of the South’ was — even with a disclaimer — was just not appropriate in today’s world,” recently returned Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a 2020 shareholder’s meeting.
Despite the long-standing controversy, Disney used the movie for the three Splash Mountain rides at California’s Disneyland in 1989, Japan’s Tokyo Disneyland in 1992, and the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, also in 1992.
A closing date for California’s Splash Mountain has not yet been announced.
When the attraction reopens in 2024, it will revolve around characters from the animated 2009 movie “The Princess and the Frog”, changing its name to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.
The ride will revolve around a planned Mardi Gras celebration for the city of New Orleans. A new score for the ride has also been written in the New Orleans zydeco style, which Disney emphasized as a key part of the new theme.
“It’s emblematic of what we’re always striving for with our attractions — bringing people of different backgrounds together through timeless Disney stories,” Disney wrote in an announcement.