LOS ANGELES - The once iconic Splash Mountain ride in Florida's Disney World is officially closed.
The ride, which first opened in 1992, closed Sunday after it was announced in 2020 that Disney had plans to "reimagine" the ride after numerous complaints due to its associations with the 1946 movie "Song of the South."
With racist stereotypes and Old South tropes, "Song of the South" is a mix of live action, cartoons and music featuring an old Black plantation laborer named Uncle Remus who enchants a white city boy with fables of talking animals.
Groups including the NAACP protested the film’s initial release. The NAACP in 1946 called it an "idyllic master-slave relationship which is a distortion of the facts." Its characters appeared as animatronics in Splash Mountain, which also featured songs from the film.
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A Change.org petition quickly gained steam with over 21,000 signatures stating that the ride is "steeped in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes."
Splash Mountain at Disneyland in Anaheim which opened in 1989, will also close soon. The date for that TBD.
Both rides will reopen as Tiana's Bayou Adventure – featuring Disney's first Black princess – in late 2024. The new ride will be based on the 2009 animated film "The Princess and the Frog," which debuted Tiana, the first Black Disney princess.
The redesign is a continuation of Disney's "longstanding history of updating attractions and adding new magic," according to the original announcement, and the new ride will be "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."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.