Although most of Disneyland Resort is currently closed, any guests who might find some way of stepping on its grounds will note an absence in the list of melodies played throughout the park. Wherever the song Zip-a-dee-doo-dah was previously played, it has now been removed from rotation. The same is not true at Walt Disney World Resort or Tokyo Disneyland.
While this may be a temporary change (although that would be quite odd), this does coincide with several strong rumors that Disneyland will be the first park to see its Splash Mountain attraction closed for the Princess and the Frog makeover. Some sources have suggested the current plan is for Disneyland to see the first changes to the attraction, with Walt Disney World lagging significantly behind in modifying the ride.
Of course, Tokyo Disneyland will not be changing its version of Splash Mountain anytime soon, as Oriental Land Company LTE has reportedly told Disney executives they have no plans to change their ride.
The removal of the song Zip-a-dee-doo-dah would be an additional step for Disney beyond simply eliminating references to Song of the South within the Splash Mountain attraction. Song of the South has drawn criticism inside and outside Disney due to the belief of some that it represents racism and bigotry due to its benign depiction of reconstruction era deep south United States. Others view the Disney movie in a different light in part because of it resulting in the first African American man receiving an Oscar, as well as it being a retelling of slave folklore.
Should Disney go so far as to remove Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, Laughing Place, and other songs derived from the movie and/or attraction, this would indicate their desire to purge any references to the movie whatsoever. It’s almost certain this would be done without any press release or acknowledgement in order to limit controversy.
While this may seem prudent from a business standpoint seeking to limit politically incorrect material, the holdout of Tokyo Disneyland means that Disney will not be able to fully separate from the source material anytime soon. It may be odd that the remnants of African American slave folklore will be seen and heard only at an international Disney park in the future.
Should Walt Disney World follow suit in removing current Splash Mountain music from their park speakers, we’ll bring you the news here at Pirates & Princesses.
Update 10:35 AM EST, 8/27/20
The Disney Company has now publicly clarified that the Academy Award winning song has been removed out of a desire to feature background music which is “inclusive”.
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