By Lori Perkins
I’m a sort of Disney adult. For most of my life I have gone to one of the two U.S. parks once a year (excluding the COVID years) and I’ve been to DisneyParis (where there is no Splash Mountain because French culture doesn’t care about the American South) three times. I wear an Evil Queen leather jacket and my favorite pair of shoes has Disney’s version of the Cheshire Cat on them.
This weekend, Disney permanently closed their Splash Mountain rides in both California and Florida which have been at the park for more than 30 years. I personally have always disliked Splash Mountain. It is the tamest of the adult water rides, one that I would go in with my elderly mother or very young nieces and nephews. It always had a musty smell and I even disliked the animated figures, which I knew where from a movie that was no longer shown, or even available for purchase. As the controversy around the closing of this ride grew, I became more and more aware of the reason the movie it was based on hadn’t been seen in years. Song of the South is a racist film that featuring freed slaves in the South as happy servants.
So, I was glad to see it go. Especially when I learned that it would be replaced by a new water flume ride based on The Frog Princess, Disney’s only film featuring a black princess, and also set in the south.
But Disney fans went a little crazy for Spalsh Mountain on its last days. Lines for the ride were five and half hours long. Some riders went right back on the line after they rode (one guy interviewed went on with his mom and then again his kids). Some people were selling what was purported to be water from the ride in plastic bags on eBay (until they stopped the auctions).
I’m glad Disney finally closed the ride and are reimagining the space. This should have been done when they realized they had to stop showing and selling the movie it was based on.
The new ride should open in 2024. That’s one I am looking forward to!