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Disney to rebrand Splash Mountain theme park ride amid racial concerns

Officials said the ride would be recast to make it based on The Princess And The Frog, a 2009 Disney film with an African American female lead.

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A character from the movie Song Of The South is depicted near the entrance to the Splash Mountain ride in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida (AP/John Raoux, File)

A character from the movie Song Of The South is depicted near the entrance to the Splash Mountain ride in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida (AP/John Raoux, File)

A character from the movie Song Of The South is depicted near the entrance to the Splash Mountain ride in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida (AP/John Raoux, File)

Disney is to rebrand its Splash Mountain theme park ride because of its ties with the 1946 movie Song Of The South that many view as racist.

Officials said the ride would be recast to make it based on The Princess And The Frog, a 2009 Disney film with an African American female lead.

The changes to the ride will be made at Disneyland in California and the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida, the company said.

Disney said the changes had been in the works since last year, but the announcement comes as companies across the US are renaming racially-charged, decades-old brands in the wake of protests for racial justice around the globe following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minnesota.

“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.

The ride first opened at Disneyland in the late 1980s.

With racist stereotypes and Old South tropes, Song Of The South is a mix of live action, cartoons and music featuring an old black plantation labourer named Uncle Remus who enchants a white city boy with fables of talking animals.

PA