(ORLANDO) — A new attraction featuring Disney’s first Black princess is opening at the company’s U.S. theme park, and some Disney fans think it’s a fitting replacement for an older ride based on a movie that contains racist stereotypes.

The park’s new attraction features the story of Tiana from the 2009 animated film The Princess and the Frog (The Princess and the Frog), installing itself in the space previously occupied. Splash Mountain.

The theme of the water ride is Southern Melody (Song of the South) is a 1946 Disney film full of racist tropes about African Americans and plantation life.

charm Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Preserve the DNA of Splash Mountainwhich involves a log walk, but is infused with music, scenery, and animatronic characters inspired by the following: The Princess and the Frogset in New Orleans in the 1920s.

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It is scheduled to open to the public at Walt Disney World in Florida later this month and at Disneyland in California later this year.

“For a little black girl, Tiana means so much. It’s important for a little kid to see someone who looks like them,” said Neil Lester, an English professor at Arizona State University, who has written about Tiana.

Disney announces plans to relaunch long-running attraction Splash Mountain in Tiana’s Bayou Adventure It was created in June 2020 in response to social justice protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and Disney said at the time that the change was already underway, but it came as companies across the U.S. rethought or rebranded decades-old brands amid global protests.

This is not the first review

film Southern Melody The film, a mix of live action, cartoons and music, centers on an older black man who works on a plantation and tells animal fables to a white town boy. The film, which has been criticized for its racist stereotypes, has not been released in theaters for decades and is not available on the company’s online streaming platform, Disney+.

Disney has been criticized for racist stereotypes in films made over the past few decades, such as the crow character in the 1941 film “Dumbo”; The Jungle Book (The Jungle Book) After 1967, it was considered a caricature of African Americans. Peter Pan The 1953 film and the Siamese cat, a common stereotype of Asians in film. Lady and the Tramp (Lady and the Tramp) from 1955 was also criticized.

Not everyone is convinced that the opening of a ride based on Tiana’s story will address Disney’s past problematic racial portrayals.

By renovating Splash Mountain in Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Instead of completely dismantling the attraction, Disney linked it. Southern Melody Have The Princess and the FrogKatie Capaci, a professor of English at Texas State University who has written extensively about Disney, said both stories say little about the racial realities of the segregated eras they depict.

“Maybe we can see this urge to replace rather than demolish and rebuild as a metaphor for structural racism,” she says. Again, this is not intentional on Disney’s part, but the observation gets to the heart of how Disney sees America as reflecting back at itself.

Include everyone

Carmen Smith, senior vice president of creative development at Walt Disney Imagineering, said Disney ride designers are always looking at attractions with fresh eyes and trying to tell new stories “so that everyone feels included.”

“We don’t want to perpetuate stereotypes or misconceptions,” M explained.myself Smith Monday. Our purpose is to tell great stories. »

Charita Carter, general creative producer at Walt Disney Imagineering, who oversaw the attraction’s development, added that it was also important for creators to tell different stories to a global audience.

“Society changes and we develop different sensitivities,” she explained. “We change the focus of our stories based on the needs of society.”

Transformation Splash Mountain in Tiana’s Bayou Adventure It’s one of several retconning rides being made at the entertainment giant’s theme parks whose storylines are deemed outdated or offensive.

Disney announces renewal in 2021 Jungle Cruiseone of the original Disney park rides, has been criticized in the past for being racially insensitive due to its animatronic depiction of Native Americans.