ANAHEIM (CBSLA) — Splash Mountain at Disneyland and Walt Disney World in Florida is getting a princess makeover.
The ride’s theme had been criticized recently because of the racist undertones of the 1946 animated film it was based on, “Song of the South.” Critics say the film stereotyped Black characters.
Thursday’s news release announcing the change said Imagineers had been working on the project since last year. The park did not give a timeline for when the ride’s transformation might begin or be completed.
Without addressing the recent criticism, Disney officials say the ride will be “reimagined” and themed after the 2009 film “The Princess and the Frog,” which features Disney’s first and only Black princess, Tiana. “Tiana is a modern, courageous, and empowered woman, who pursues her dreams and never loses sight of what’s really important,” a statement from Disneyland said.
The ride’s new theme will feature Tiana and Louis as they prepare for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance. Actress Anika Noni Rose, who was the voice of Princess Tiana, said it was exciting that Disney’s Black princess would finally have a presence in Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom.
“As passionate as I am about what we created, I know the fans are going to be over the moon,” she said in a statement. “The Imagineers are giving us ‘The Princess and the Frog’ Mardi Gras celebration we’ve been waiting for, and I’m here for it!”