Disney announces official closing date for iconic Splash Mountain ride
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Disney fanatics hoping to have one last splash at one of the company's most popular rides will not have much longer to do so.
Disney first announced it would be shutting Splash Mountain more than two years ago as the company aims to move away from criticism that the ride promotes 'racial stereotypes'.
Before Disney officially announced it would be revamping the popular ride, several petitions popped up online calling for the company to ditch the current theme.
The current Splash Mountain theme is based off the 1946 musical Song of the South, which has been controversial to say the least.
NAACP - or The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People - showed its disapproval of the film because of its portrayal of African-Americans.
In a statement, the organisation added that it 'regrets, however, that in an effort neither to offend audiences in the North or South, the production helps to perpetuate a dangerously glorified picture of slavery … [the film] unfortunately gives the impression of an idyllic master-slave relationship, which is a distortion of the facts.'
A petition with more than 21,000 online signatures in 2019 called for Disney to 're-theme' the ride, reading: "Disney parks should be a home for all to enjoy regardless of race, age, whatever your background may be.
"There is a huge need for diversity in the parks and this could help fill that need."
Disney CEO Bob Iger said in March 2020 that 'I’ve felt, as long as I’ve been CEO, that 'Song of the South' was – even with a disclaimer – was just not appropriate in today’s world.'
Following the announcement, the company has since confirmed that Splash Mountain in Disney World, Florida will close on 23 January next year.
In June 2020, Disney announced it would be rebranding the long-running ride to The Princess and the Frog.
When the revamp opens in 2024, it will become Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.
However, there are some fans that are disappointed with Disney's decision, with one petition with over 93,000 signatures calling for Splash Mountain to remain.
The petition reads: "Splash Mountain is an iconic ride at Magic Kingdom, loved by millions of fans all over the world for over 30 years.
"Re-theming such an iconic ride would erode the nostalgia that lives in Disney World and take away a little bit of the magic."