Splash Mountain has less than 48 hours until it’s “gone for good” at Magic Kingdom. The ride will have its final day of operation on January 22, 2023, before closing to be reimagined into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.
Splash Moutain is themed around the 1946 film Song of the South. The film has been criticized for employing racist stereotypes for some of the characters. In a March 2020 shareholder meeting, Disney CEO Bob Iger talked about Song of the South when a shareholder asked if it would be included in the Disney+ catalog. Iger said, “I’ve felt as long as I’ve been CEO that Song of the South — even with a disclaimer — was just not appropriate in today’s world…It’s just hard, given the depictions in some of those films, to bring them out today without in some form or another offending people, so we’ve decided not to do that.” Just a few months later, Disney would announce that Splash Mountain would be closed permanently.
In the initial announcement in the summer of 2020, Disney noted that the retheme was due to their Diversity & Inclusion initiative to tell more relevant stories in their theme parks:
The approach to retheming or “plussing” attractions (as Walt Disney referred to it) begins with Imagineers asking the question, how can we build upon or elevate the experience and tell a fresh, relevant story? It’s a continuous process that Imagineers are deeply passionate about. And with this longstanding history of updating attractions and adding new magic, the retheming of Splash Mountain is of particular importance today. The new concept is inclusive – one that all of our guests can connect with and be inspired by, and it speaks to the diversity of the millions of people who visit our parks each year.
Splash Mountain originally opened in 1989 at Disneyland and 1992 at Walt Disney World.
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