Liking Splash Mountain Doesn’t Make Someone a Racist

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Many people are upset that Splash Mountain has closed at Walt Disney World. Of course the internet is quick to pounce, calling anyone who is sad about the closure, a “racist.” In my opinion this is simply absurd.

The idea that enjoying an attraction, made to be enjoyed, makes someone a racist is ridiculous. Disney knew that basing an attraction on “Song of the South” was likely a bad idea when they did it, but they reportedly had a lot of animal animatronics after “America Sings” closed down so they found a way to repurpose them into “Splash Mountain.”

Changing the attraction to be Tiana themed was likely not a choice made due to “racism.” The rumor that a ‘Princess and the Frog’ retheme could happen at Splash Mountain was going on for years. In Disneyland Splash Mountain is located near New Orleans Square and the movie takes place in New Orleans. Disney has been changing attractions and adding attractions to push more IP for awhile now. Of course they were trying to make this for a long time. Usually when the rumor would resurface people would demand they not change it and they wouldn’t.

When the incidents of 2020 happened Disney used current events to push the changes through. Not surprising since it’s Hollywood’s “go to” to use “racism” as a shield. If you don’t like something it is because you are a “racist.” And that is exactly what happened. It’s kind of tacky to use something like that to push through a redesign that they wanted to do for years, but that’s how it comes across.

Remember Disney also replaced the natives in the Jungle Cruise with chimpanzees and removed Trader Sam to replace him with a Lost and Found from which he is allegedly selling items that don’t belong to him. Because that’s such an improvement.

But I digress.

Simply liking an attraction that doesn’t actually feature “racism” does not make someone a “racist.” Just like not liking a female character in a movie makes one a real “misogynist,” (except on social media.) Yet here we are. I keep seeing post after post attacking people for liking an attraction that has been around for 30 years.

For many it’s simply because they have family memories about the attraction. Or it was thrilling to them as children and they still love it. Some people just don’t like change. Others grew up on the brer animal stories and they remind them of their childhood or a family member. (Guess what a lot of people who are sad about it’s closure aren’t white.)

Are some people legitimately racist. Yes. There are people out there who are, but the majority of people really aren’t. Social media has us believing that bigots and Nazis are around every corner, and most people aren’t those things.

If someone says they feel bad that the ride is closing it doesn’t mean they are “racists” anymore than it means someone who uses a treadmill thinks it’s okay to torture prisoners, or anyone who buys produce is fine with chemical warfare. A lot of things we find unproblematic today came from a problematic place.

Things change, people change, society changes too. A lot of people have never even seen ‘Song of the South.’ Many didn’t even know that the characters were connected to it. In fact, there were comics books simply about the characters with no ties to the controversial film. So the idea that enjoying a cute, fun attraction (that Disney presented that way) makes someone “racist” is as silly as saying using a treadmill makes someone pro-torture.

Intent matters.

Calling people “racist” because they are sad that something they like is being closed is unfair and it diminishes the meaning of the word. It’s an easy way to dismiss someone, while claiming you have the moral high ground.

At this point it’s all moot anyway. Disney has closed the attraction to reskin it to what they’ve wanted to do for a decade.

Sadly attractions change all the time, be it for the better or for worse. It’s the nature of the theme park business. I for one am curious to see what Disney creates but I understand why many are mourning the loss of the old attraction. I will not stoop to calling someone a “racist” for feeling sad over it, because I know that’s disingenuous.

At the end of the day I do not envy Disney, because they will have to make the new attraction leagues better than the old one. I hope they do. However we are already seeing a lot of cuts from the concept art to the D23 model.

Splash Mountain is slated to get a Princess and the Frog re-theme in Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. [Image: Disney]

But I know if people don’t like the new version, even if they said nothing about the closure of the old one, they will also  be labeled “racist.”

It’s ridiculous.


Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.