The online petition is aiming to have at least 25,000 signatures.

By Andrea Romano
June 12, 2020
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An online petition that is seeking to change the theme of Splash Mountain is gaining steam online, USA Today reported. People wish to change the ride to center around Disney's "The Princess and the Frog."

Disney parks should be a home for all to enjoy regardless of race, age, whatever your background may be. ... While (Splash Mountain) is considered a beloved classic it’s (sic) history and storyline are steeped in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes from the 1946 film 'Song of the South,'” it says on the petition on Change.org. So far, the petition has gathered over 17,000 of its goal of 25,000 signatures.

The film, "Song of the South," was created during the Jim Crow-era, which lasted from 1877 to the mid-1960s, and uses characters, tropes, and plotlines that depict racist stereotypes, some of which appear in the Splash Mountain ride. The film centers around a Black man named Uncle Remus, a former slave, who tells tales of “Br’er Rabbit,” outsmarting “Br’er Fox” to a young white boy. The animal characters from the film make up the storyline of Splash Mountain, with some songs from the film.

Petitioners are calling for this theme to be updated and changed to a ride centered around Princess Tiana, Disney’s first Black princess, and her adventures in "The Princess and the Frog."

“This change could kill two birds with one stone, remove the offensive stereotypical theming the ride currently has and bring a much needed diversity to the parks. As well as a much bigger merchandising opportunity for 'Princess and the Frog,'” it says on the petition.

Changing rides at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland are nothing new. Many rides and attractions in the parks have been updated over the years to reflect Disney’s newer films and commodities. For example, the former Maelstrom log ride, located in the Norway section of Epcot, closed in 2014 only to be reopened two years later with a new "Frozen" theme.

Updating Splash Mountain to a "Princess and the Frog" theme would also make Tiana the first Disney princess with a thrill ride, according to the petition. The petition organizers also note that changing the theme would not require too much money, nor would it compromise “the integrity of the ride.”

According to USA Today, Disneyland employee Frederick Chambers actually drew up a mock design of what the "Princess and the Frog" ride would look like. He told USA Today that his mock up was originally made “just for fun” and he has not only the “utmost respect” for his employer, but also Splash Mountain Imagineer Tony Baxter who conceived the ride.

“Disney is definitely aware of the idea and I am by no means the first person to dream up the concept,” he told USA Today. “The bones of the attraction are good but I think it is time for us to take a serious look at where our stories come from and how people of color are represented on screen and in the parks.”