Controversial Disney rides must be removed


Photo courtesy of Flickr

Disneyland’s Splash Mountain is being remodeled because of the ties to a racist film.

Disneyland holds a special place in the hearts of many people. From the fun rides to great food to meeting life-size Disney characters, it’s easy to consider it to be – as Disney keeps telling us – the Happiest Place on Earth.
But there’s a dark side to Disney that has been often ignored and overlooked. For years, many Disney parks around the world have had inappropriate rides with depictions of racism, suicide, sexism, and more.
Because of various controversies, a lot of these rides have been revamped, with the latest example of this being the infamous Splash Mountain.
Splash Mountain’s closure was first announced in June of 2020. The ride, which opened in 1989, was officially shut down on Jan. 22 for remodeling.
Splash Mountain is a water ride based on the 1946 live-action/animated musical “Song of the South”. This ride is one of the most popular attractions at Disneyland in Anaheim.
But “Song of the South” is a controversy in itself because the plot revolves around a former slave readjusting to society with animal-like animated characters. Disney has made it nearly impossible to view this movie on all platforms because of its racist stereotypes, undertones, and microaggressions.
But this raises the question: If Disney is trying so hard to get rid of the movie, why not the ride?
This isn’t Disney’s first known controversy regarding their amusement park rides. They’ve had plenty of rides consisting of harmful content.
Some examples used to be seen on the long-time popular rides Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. The Pirates of the Caribbean ride had scenes deemed as sexist, such as one depicting a line of women with a banner above them that read, “Auction: Take a Wench for a Bride”.
The Haunted Mansion has also had its fair share of insensitive moments, such as someone committing suicide in one of the many scenes. Both of these depictions were seen as dehumanizing, so Disney removed them.
Furthermore, Disney’s classic Country Bear Jamboree, which shows a stage of animatronic animals singing along to songs, playing instruments, and dancing, has been considered racist because the lyrics of several songs involved racial stereotypes of Native Americans being discussed as “savages”.
These are only some of many controversial rides Disney has created that have been an issue with the public.
It’s no surprise that these have brought issues to park-goers because of Disney’s racist past. These are traced back to racist depictions in movies released in the 1900s such as “The Aristocats”, “Peter Pan”, and, of course, “Song of the South”.
Many harmful stereotypes can be seen in Disney’s past movies as the creation of the company goes back to before the Civil Rights Movement when segregation was supported by law and racist depictions were mostly ignored.
Walt Disney himself wasn’t always the kind and heartwarming man he is known as. His racist and sexist nature was well known throughout the workplace.
Along with the racist stereotypes and depictions in his movies, Walt Disney was also known for not hiring minorities and women at Disneyland. He didn’t believe these groups were useful or didn’t have creative ideas, according to a story in New York Vulture Magazine.
While some people might not support changing Splash Mountain, if it means one less racist or insensitive ride then remodeling the popular water ride so it no longer reflects a racist film is the right decision.
Plus, park-goers will get more out of the remodeled ride, which is to be called Tiana’s Bayou Adventure that is based on the film “Princess and the Frog”.
It’s about time we had a ride for “Princess and the Frog” because it will open up more opportunities for diversity and inclusivity in Disney’s parks.
It’s exciting to see steps taken in changing rides that depicted the racist history of Disney and our country into something more inclusive.