Splash Mountain, one of Disney’s most beloved rides at Walt Disney World in Florida, Tokyo Disneyland, and at Disneyland in California, is being criticized by social media users and Change.org supporters who say the ride’s racial overtones need to be “re-themed.”
The ride is based on the 1946 Disney film Song of the South, featuring characters such as Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear, and Brer Fox, and has been widely criticized for its depiction of blacks and romanticized view of the post-Civil War South.
The animated characters are best known for their appearance in the song “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah.”
Splash Mountain and Song of the South were trending on social media on Wednesday.
“While the ride is considered a beloved classic, it’s history and storyline are steeped in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes from the 1946 film Song of the South,” states a Change.org petition.
The petition, which had more than 1,500 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon, calls for the ride to be transformed into a theme based off the 2009 movie the Princess and the Frog, the first Disney film to introduce a black princess.
Former Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger previously said Song of the South would not be featured on Disney’s streaming service Disney+, even with an “outdated cultural depictions disclaimer,” according to Deadline.
Iger added the movie is “not appropriate in today’s world.”
The nationwide protests against racism are reviving years-old debates about how art in previous decades should be viewed. Other Disney films like Dumbo feature a content warning on the Disney+ streaming service that says the film “may contain outdated cultural depictions.”