Disney shuts down Splash Mountain for its racist tropes; fans selling ride water on eBay
The company plans to replace the ride with Tiana's Bayou Adventure, modeled after the 2009 animated film that established Tiana as the first Black Disney princess, at its Florida and California locations in 2024.
Splash Mountain, a popular ride operated at Walt Disney World in Florida for over 30 years, has been removed from the park, and fans are now selling its water on eBay.
According to NBC News, while some guests were sad to experience the Magic Kingdom attraction for the last time on Sunday, other enthusiasts — reportedly referred to as “Disney adults” — sought to profit. More than 70 Mason jars, bottles and plastic bags allegedly containing “Splash Mountain water” hit eBay, with some potential purchasers willing to pay more than $50 for mementos of the ride, which opened in 1992.
“I will miss you forever,” read the caption of a TikTok video with more than 1,300 likes Tuesday afternoon. “Goodbye, Splash Mountain.”
The Splash Mountain shutdown follows years of calls for modification due to the ride’s inclusion of many characters from the 1946 Disney film, “Song of the South.” In the movie, set on a Georgia plantation after the Civil War, an elderly Black man known as Uncle Remus entertains white children being looked after by Black servants by telling them classic African American folktales.
The TikTok hashtag #goodbyesplashmountain had 1.6 million views by Tuesday featuring tribute videos to the water ride set to “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” the Academy Award-winning song from “Song of the South.” Some of the clips claimed to show visitors’ final experiences riding Splash Mountain’s log boats over its waterfall with a 45-degree drop.
According to another video, there was a two-plus-hour wait to board the ride before its closure.
NPR reported that Disney announced in 2020 it would redesign Splash Mountain in response to growing criticism about its connections to “Song of the South,” including a Change.org petition with more than 21,000 signatures claiming the film was embedded in “extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes.”
The petition demanded Disney replace the ride with one honoring “The Princess and the Frog,” and the company complied.
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, modeled after the 2009 animated film that established Tiana as the first Black Disney princess, will open in 2024. The Splash Mountain rollercoaster at California’s Disneyland, which debuted in 1989, will likewise be discontinued and reopened.
According to NBC, more than 99,000 people signed a counter-petition, “Save Splash Mountain,” to no avail.
“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,” that petition reads. “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.”
According to NPR, Disney has not addressed the version of the rollercoaster that also debuted in Japan in 1992.
Disney CEO Bob Iger has admitted that “Song of the South” will not be available for streaming on Disney Plus because it “is not appropriate in today’s world.”
“The new concept is inclusive — one that all of our guests can connect with and be inspired by,” Disney said in 2020, NBC reported, “and it speaks to the diversity of the millions of people who visit our parks each year.”
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