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Controversial, Potentially Offensive Names Removed From Disney World Attractions

The term offensive in front of Magic Kingdom's Cinderella Castle
Credit: Disney / Canva

In the past couple of years, Walt Disney World has removed names from some of its most iconic and long-standing attractions in an effort to remain culturally sensitive and rid the attraction of the dated terms.

tom sawyer island, magic kingdom

Credit: Disney

Related: Magic Kingdom Guest Jumps From Water Attraction While Visiting Tom Sawyer Island

Tom Sawyer Island

In January 2022, Disney World Cast Members removed wording that referred to “Injun Joe” at the Tom Sawyer Island attraction at Magic Kingdom.

There was originally a sign that labeled a cavernous area of the attraction as “Injun Joe’s Cavern,” as well as a raft with the name “Injun Joe” on it. The plank on the raft on which Injun Joe’s name was painted was simply painted over, meaning that both references were removed from the attraction.

Disney also painted over the planks on the rafts that had the names “Becky Thatcher” and “Tom Sawyer” on them.

tom sawyer island becky thatcher raft

Credit: Becky Burkett, Disney Dining

In the story The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by author Mark Twain, it is Injun Joe who is the villain–a half-Native American who robs graves, is guilty of murder, and commits other crimes throughout the story.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer': Plot Summary

Credit: ThoughtCo

According to a post at ComicBook.com, “Twain wrote the character as a fundamentally evil and irredeemable character, with multiple characters in the book claiming that his evil nature was due to his Native American heritage.”

Not only is the character portrayed as villainous, but his acts are often attributed to the fact that he is a Native American. The name “Injun Joe” also includes a term considered derogatory by many Native American men and women.

Why the change? In September 2021, Disney pledged to be more diverse and more inclusive in its efforts as an organization.

Jungle Cruise

The Jungle Cruise attraction at Adventureland in Magic Kingdom was also updated in an effort to remove potentially harmful and hurtful stereotypes from the attraction.

Jungle Cruise Disneyland

Credit: Disney

It was in 2021 that Disney unveiled a new lookĀ for several parts of the Jungle Cruise attraction. With the removal of tribal animatronics such as the popular Headhunter, Trader Sam, Disney attempted to remove any components that may not provide theĀ ā€œinclusionā€ visionĀ The Walt Disney Company is aiming for.

Splash Mountain

As many know by now,Ā  the Splash Mountain attraction at Frontierland in Magic Kingdom is being completely reimagined for the same reasons as Tom Sawyer Island’s name removals. Splash Mountain was based on the Disney film from 1946, Song of the South.Ā 

disney's song of the south

Credit: Disney

Related: ā€˜Princess and the Frogā€™ Star Calls Out Disney For ā€œHateful and Hurtful Rideā€

According to Disney:

Song of the South is aĀ 1946 American musical filmĀ released byĀ RKO Radio Pictures, based on theĀ Uncle RemusĀ stories by Joel Chandler Harris. The live actors provide a sentimental frame story, in which Uncle Remus relates the folk tales of the adventures ofĀ Br’er RabbitĀ and his friends. These anthropomorphic animal characters appear in animation. The hit song from the film was “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”, which won theĀ 1947 Academy Award for Best Song and is frequently used as part of Disney’s montage themes, and which has become widely used in popular culture.”

Br'er Fox Br'er rabbit splash mountain disney parks ride attraction characters song of the south

Credit: Disney

Related: Should Disney Be Reimagining Haunted Mansion Instead of Splash Mountain?

But Song of the South has received major backlash over the years from those who say the film harbors racist themes and is full of stereotypes against African Americans. For this reason, producers at Disney decided it would not be added to the streaming line-up on Disney+, and it is almost impossible to find it in digital form anywhere in the United States.

Because the Splash Mountain attraction was inspired by the film, it was decided that the entire attraction would be reimagined and take its inspiration from the delightful story of Princess Tiana from Disney’s 2009 The Princess and the Frog.

The new attraction, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, is scheduled to open in the summer of 2024.

Country Bear Jamboree

Most recently, Disney has dropped a controversial 53-year-old Disney character, opting for a politically correct replacement.

Country Bear Jamboree is now closed as Disney prepares to reopen the attraction with a fresh and reimagined production called the Country Bear Musical Jamboree.

Country Bear Jamboree at Magic Kingdom

Credit: Disney

While most characters from the original Country Bear Jamboree attraction bear band, including Big Al and Teddi Barra, will be making a comeback, Liver Lips will not be joining the new Grizzly Hall ensemble. Liver Lips will be remodeled and reintroduced as Romeo McGrowl.

Why is Liver Lips being removed? The term Liver Lips refers to ā€œsomeone with unusually red or swollen lips, often due to excessive drinking or alcohol-related conditions. The term is considered impolite and derogatory.ā€

Which Attraction is Next?

While there has been some controversy surrounding other Magic Kingdom attractions, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Haunted Mansion, Disney has yet to make any further name/attraction-changing announcements for the time being.

Are you glad Disney is attempting to change controversial, potentially offensive names from their attractions? Let us know in the comments.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!

2 comments

  1. Plain & simple…. NO!

  2. The TSI attraction was called “Injun’ Joe’s Cave!”

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