Disney to 'reimagine' Splash Mountain with 'Princess and the Frog' theme

Artist concept of what the new "Princess and the Frog" themed ride may look like. (Disney)

Disney's Splash Mountain ride -- which is based on the 1946 film "Song of the South" -- will be "completely reimagined" with a "Princess and the Frog" theme, the company announced Thursday.

The changes will happen at both Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. and the Magic Kingdom park in Orlando.

Splash Mountain -- which first opened at Disneyland on July 17, 1989 -- features characters from "Song of the South" a film many have deemed as racist based on its portrayals of Black Americans during the Reconstruction Era in the South following the Civil War.

Disney's streaming service Disney+ refuses to carry the film.

Now, Splash Mountain will be based on 2009's "Princess and the Frog" which features Disney's first and, so far, only Black princess, Tiana.

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Carmen Smith, creative development and inclusive strategies executive at Walt Disney Imagineering says:

We continually evaluate opportunities to enhance and elevate experiences for our guests. It's important that our guests be able to see themselves in the experiences we create. Because we consider ourselves constant learners, we go to great lengths to research and engage cultural advisors and other experts to help guide us along the way. I am incredibly proud to see this work continue to move forward with great support from leadership across Disney."

The park unveiled some artist renderings of what the new ride may look like.

In a blog post, Disneyland's Public Relations Director Michael Ramirez says of the ride:

We pick up this story after the final kiss, and join Princess Tiana and Louis on a musical adventure – featuring some of the powerful music from the film – as they prepare for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance.
Tiana is a modern, courageous, and empowered woman, who pursues her dreams and never loses sight of what’s really important. It’s a great story with a strong lead character, set against the backdrop of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou. In 1966, Walt himself opened New Orleans Square when it became the first new “land” added to Disneyland park, so it feels natural to link the story and the incredible music of “The Princess and the Frog” to our parks.