The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World has reportedly removed the iconic song “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” originally voiced by a black man, from its entrance loop.
“Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” entered the American zeitgeist in 1946 when black American actor James Baskett performed it in the part-animated/part-live action movie Song of the South. Baskett would make history by becoming the first black man to win an Oscar for his portrayal of Uncle Remus and “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” would go on to earn its rightful place in the American songbook. Unfortunately, the Song of the South became a taboo title for the Disney brand as the years pushed on due to its outdated depictions of race and slavery and the movie was eventually blacklisted, available only in bootleg form. Despite the cancelation, Song of the South lived on through the beloved ride “Splash Mountain” which officially closed this week to make way for a new Princess and the Frog ride. That means no more “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.” Per WDWNT:
“Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” has been removed from the Magic Kingdom entrance music loop. Today is the final day of operations for Splash Mountain at Walt Disney World, which features the song.
This isn’t the first instance of the song being removed, as it was notably absent from the Festival of Fantasy Parade upon its return in March 2022. The song was removed from the Disneyland Resort esplanade in 2020, and later from Tokyo Disneyland in September 2022.
The initiative to close “Splash Mountain” started three years ago with a Change.org petition that called for its cancelation. It garnered just a little over 21,000 signatures while a counter-petition defending the ride garnered over 99,000 signatures.
“Splash Mountain has never included depictions of slaves or any racist elements and is based solely on historical African folktales that families of all ethnicities have been enjoying for nearly a century,” the petition stated. “It is absurd to pander to a small group of ‘Disney haters’ that don’t understand the story, and re-theme such a nostalgic ride.”