Disney announced on Thursday that it was reimagining Splash Mountain after a petition circulated explaining the coaster’s racist origins.
The themed ride is based on the movie Song of the South. People have criticized the 1946 Disney movie for years over its racist depictions of Black characters and for its glorification of plantations. A Change.org petition calling for Disney to transform the Splash Mountain ride gained over 20,000 signatures.
“Disney parks should be a home for all to enjoy regardless of race, age, whatever your background may be,” the petition reads. “While the ride is considered a beloved classic, it’s history and storyline are steeped in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes.”
The petition suggested that Disney make a new ride that’s based on Princess and the Frog, which features the media empire’s first Black princess. Apparently, Disney had been planning to do just that for about a year.
“The new concept is inclusive—one that all of our guests can connect with and be inspired by, and it speaks to the diversity of the millions of people who visit our parks each year,” Disney said in a press release.
The company made the official announcement after the petition picked up speed. Disney’s reveal also comes amid nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism and companies making changes to historically racist subtexts.
However, as with any other similar change, there was a subsequent pushback of people demanding Disney to keep the ride as is.
Petitions with names like “Save Splash Mountain” and “Leave Splash Mountain Alone” are circulating. These petitions claim that the ride doesn’t have racist subtexts and that it would be “heartwrenching” for the rollercoaster to not be at the parks. Most of the petitions have about 2,000 signatures.
The ride based on Princess and the Frog will replace Splash Mountain at the Disney parks in Florida and California.