Disney Caught Profiting off of Splash Mountain despite Controversy

in Disney Parks, Walt Disney World

Folks enjoying the now-defunct Splash Mountain

Credit: Disney

Despite closing earlier in 2023, Splash Mountain can still be found within the Disney parks.

Folks enjoying the now-defunct Splash Mountain
Credit: Disney

Related: Goodbye! Disney World Theme Park Closure Begins Imminently, No Reopening Date in Sight

If you’ve spent any amount of time online in the last year, then you most likely have heard the news that Disney closed its Splash Mountain attractions. For decades, guests could find this iconic log-flume ride at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, with the attraction itself becoming synonymous with the Disney parks. The ride itself was fun and brilliantly themed, featuring dozens of animatronics, immersive environments, and incredible music throughout. The attraction was also fairly intense, sending guests on a 50-foot drop straight into a briar patch. However, as we stated earlier, Splash Mountain closed permanently at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World in 2023, but this is far from where the story ends.

Br'er Fox and Br'er Rabbit
Credit: Disney

Splash Mountain was heavily inspired by Disney’s 1946 film Song of the South. This motion picture blended live-actin elements with hand-drawn animated sequences, similar to what fans see when they watch movies like Mary Poppins (1964). The film itself is beautiful to watch, and the music that comes from it is ever-so-catchy and comforting. However, the subject matter and certain plot points are incredibly problematic.

Shortly after the film was released, it drew mass criticism. This criticism sometimes turned into full-on protests, as illustrated by Picture This:

“They were protesting as part of a nationwide boycott that sought to ban the Disney movie Song of the South because of its racist messages about African Americans.”

In the time since The Walt Disney Company has effectively erased Song of the South from its entire catalog. The film has not been available for purchase in decades, and fans will certainly not find it streaming on Disney+.

One may wonder why Disney chose to base a theme park attraction on a movie so controversial and while we may never truly know the answer, it’s obvious Disney simply expected the controversy to die down at some point.

Credit: Disney

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This is far from where Splash Mountain’s story ends, of course, with a brand-new ride on the way. Instead of tearing down Splash Mountain, The Walt Disney Company announced it had plans to retheme the attraction into an experience based on its 2009 film The Princess and the Frog. This new ride would be called Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, and while the thing, music, story, and characters would all change, the actual ride layout and track would not, meaning guests would still be able to experience Splash Mountain.

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is set to open sometime in 2024 at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, and we could not be more excited to see how it turns out.

However, despite erasing Splash Mountain’s history from the parks, Disney seemingly forgot or chose not to remove a crucial character.

The "Tar Baby" scene in Song of the South
Credit: Disney

Br’er Rabbit became Splash Mountin’s unofficial mascot, with the character plastered on all pieces of advertising. Br’er Rabbit was inescapable if you were visiting the Magic Kingdom or Disneyland and was the main character of the ride itself.

However, as we said, all pieces of Splash Mountain merchandise, music, and theming were systematically removed from the Disney parks, that is, except for certain articles of clothing. A recent post on Reddit highlighted a shocking discovery one guest made while visiting EPCOT in Walt Disney World.  You can take a look below:

Wait, they’re still selling merch with Song of the South characters on it? (Picture taken at Creations Shop at Epcot)
byu/Pink_Pens inWaltDisneyWorld

As you can see, the Walt Disney World Resort is still selling shirts with this controversial character on its front and center, indicating there are still ways that Song of the South is seeping into the parks. Among Goofy, Mickey Mouse, Alice in Wonderland, and Cinderella, Br’er Rabbit can be seen on the shirt. We’re pretty surprised to see merchandise featuring characters from Splash Mountain, with the ride itself being closed since January 2023 in Magic Kingdom.

This closure sparked a lot of controversy within the Disney theme park community, with some loving the idea of getting a new ride and others hating the idea entirely. Some fans were so “passionate” that they started a petition to stop Disney from closing Splash Mountain. These petitions, of course, went nowhere but showed just how outspoken a certain part of the Disney Park community can be.

Are you excited about Tiana’s Bayou Adventure? Will you miss Splash Mountain?

in Disney Parks, Walt Disney World

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