Splash Mountain is gone forever at Magic Kingdom. The iconic ride closed forever on January 23, 2023 to make way for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, but that doesn’t mean all traces of it have disappeared.
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Amid accusations that the ride doesn’t hold true to Disney’s ideals of inclusion, many fans clamored for its removal due to its ties to a movie many deemed racist, Song of the South. They claim the film softened slavery and glossed over the horrors that slavery caused. They disagree with the idea of a “happy former slave” and say the film paints too rosy a picture on one of our nation’s worst periods.
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Others, though, had a different point of view and found the film endearing and rebuffed the accusations of racism. They point to comments from the films stars (the first two African-Americans to ever win an Oscar) as proof of their claim with both of them (James Baskett and Hattie McDaniel) expressing support for the film and finding nothing racist about it. McDaniel even went so far as to say, “If I had for one moment considered any part of the picture degrading or harmful to my people, I would not have appeared therein.”
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Whichever side of that argument you fall on, Splash Mountain is gone, never to return. That doesn’t mean it has been totally erased though. Fans were surprised to hear a reminder of it though when walking through Magic Kingdom this week. The song “Laughin’ Place” is still part of the musical loop in Frontierland, the area that formerly housed Splash Mountain.
No one is sure whether the song will remain part of the area’s music or whether Disney just has not replaced it yet. One fan said “It makes my heart happy to still hear the song from a ride my family and I loved so much.” Another expressed concern that not immediately removing the song sent a mixed message about Disney’s values.