Splash Mountain closes amid talks of racism versus nostalgia


Disney World’s well-known Splash Mountain will be retired, set to be replaced by Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. The log flume ride itself will stay the same.

Editors Note: Zara Lantzman is a former intern under the Disney College Program at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.

“Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay. My, oh, my, what a wonderful day.” Walt Disney World fans hear these lyrics and think of the nostalgia of the water ride, Splash Mountain. It is time to move on.

Splash Mountain is a log flume boat ride that focuses on Brer Bear and Brer Fox’s pursuit of Brer Rabbit. The ride has three lifts and five drops with a five-story drop going at 40 mph. During the big drop, you will get wet and sometimes soaked. 

With my firsthand experience of Disney adults, I have witnessed people completely break down riding Splash Mountain for the last time. 

Newsflash: it is going to be the exact same ride. Disney is changing the ride to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. It will be a “Princess and the Frog” themed ride as it will cater towards a younger audience. Splash Mountain closed for good on Jan. 23 and Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is opening up in late 2024.

If we are being honest, most people who like Splash Mountain have never even seen “Song of the South.” 

Disney adults do not like change, and that is clear, but this ride absolutely needed to be changed. The ride itself was falling apart as an absurd amount of the animatronics did not work. The ride also constantly broke down, but the worst part of all is that the ride is based on an extremely racist movie. 

Are you considered racist if you still want this ride? The short answer is no. Is it wrong to want this ride to still exist? Yes. “Song of the South” was completely removed from all platforms and for good reason. 

“Song of the South” focuses on a Black man reminiscing of the “good times” of being a slave. 

What good times? Why is Disney portraying this movie as being a slave is okay and good? This is just wrong and this movie should have never been a thing. So yes, one is considered wrong if they want this ride to still exist. 

The claim is “the ride is not racist at all.” While this may be true, as mentioned, the movie that the ride is based on is racist and that should be enough to open up people’s eyes.

Over 92,000 have signed a petition to save Splash Mountain. These people need to get a grip on reality. 

Aside from the fact that the theme is racist, Disney is trying to bring in new crowds and cater to the younger and newer audience as Disney is changing their parks to focus on the newer princesses instead of the older ones. 

Disney removed Belle from the parks as they replaced her statue and section in the France pavilion at EPCOT. They replaced it with Remy the rat from “Ratatouille.” Disney is paving the way for a new Moana attraction as well. 

Splash Mountain was not in Disney’s plan moving forward as it was part of the “old” Disney. Disney is changing and the guests need to accept it and move on. 

You are not racist if you want the ride to exist on the surface. If you like the ride because of the nostalgia, then that is fine. If you preach about how there is nothing wrong with the ride and theme of it, then yes, you are indeed racist. Memories are memories and that is it. You can always make new memories and this new theme looks beautiful.

The only worry that I have about Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is the fact that it does not fit in Frontierland in Magic Kingdom. Frontierland has this western style theme whereas “The Princess and the Frog” is set in the Bayou’s of New Orleans. 

On Splash Mountain’s last day, the posted wait time on the My Disney Experience app was 220 minutes. That wait time is absurd and over three hours long. 

Disney adults need to evaluate themselves if they are truly distraught about this ride being reimagined. The ride is not changing. It is just improving. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will be better than ever and I am so excited for it.