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News Splash Mountain retheme to Princess and the Frog - attraction discussion only

_caleb

Well-Known Member
It may simply be a matter of bad timing by WDW but they made the announcement and tried to kill two birds with one stone.
Yes. I think the opportunity to speak into (and capitalize on) the current social was too big for them to pass up.
The petition was to retheme Splash. Not replace it with the wrong attraction.
What makes you think the announcement of the retheme was in response to the petition? I don't think it had much to do with it at all.

Yes, I think we agree on a lot here.
I appreciate the discussion!
 

_caleb

Well-Known Member
Song of the South was re-released to theaters twice in the same decade the ride opened at Disneyland.

The controversy over the movie pre-dated its original release, but it was never a deterrent to Disney until the 90s. Even then, that was only for releasing the whole thing uncut in the USA. Clips and foreign tapes were still considered fine until the 2000s.
I see a pattern: Disney sees the potential to make money with the film, their marketing dept. does a great job of promoting the film, lots of people pay to see/buy the film. But then the audience pushes back on the racial insensitivity and Disney backs off/puts it in the vault.

Then, a few years later, someone at Disney sees potential to make money with the film, and the pattern repeats. On one cycle, they even went so far as to try to separate the animated characters from the film and that's how we got Splash.

But the cycle didn't stop with Splash, it continues. And the "vault it" approach didn't work as well to take the film out of the public eye after home video/dvd/digital releases and the internet.

So now, Disney is trying to stop the cycle. Here, we're discussing the merits of their approach to stopping the cycle, and I think there's lots of room to disagree on how they've handled it.
 

puckett26

Member
Yes. I think the opportunity to speak into (and capitalize on) the current social was too big for them to pass up.

What makes you think the announcement of the retheme was in response to the petition? I don't think it had much to do with it at all.

Yes, I think we agree on a lot here.
I appreciate the discussion!
The timing of the announcement certainly can be perceived as a reaction to current issues - it at least makes it appear as if they were responding to the petition. And the lack of action to date, which admittedly, was probably due to political and social climate not being as intense and scrutinized in the past and Splash Mountain is obviously not an attraction they want to change (concept is fine just bad choice of source material).

Replacing Splash (in FL) with PATF just screams reaction. They may have been planning for awhile but should have announced ahead of the curve. Don't be afraid to be innovative and take the first step. They waited to make this announcement and I can picture the scene from National Lampoon's Xmas Vacation where Clark expects the drum roll when lighting the house. Disney execs expected a big moment with the announcement and it really hasn't generated the expected impact/affect IMO.

Other issue is Disney no longer isolates decisions between CA and FL. PATF may work much better thematically in CA given SM is based in a land themed to New Orleans. I don't think it works thematically in FL. This solution should follow the Tower of Terror model and not the Galaxy's Edge/MMRR model. Again, WDW has the opportunity to create two inclusive attractions and dedicate a space in Fantasyland to properly represent Tiana. I think representation is an issue for Tiana in Frontierland. It feels forced, isolated and easy/cheap alternative.
 

_caleb

Well-Known Member
The timing Caleb, if you think it was pure chance, well. "come on man!" lol
Good point. I think both the announcement of the Splash retheme and the petition were prompted by the public discourse on race, but you're right- the announcement did come just after the petition was talked about.

And I do say "Come on, man" a lot! Sorry.
 

_caleb

Well-Known Member
The timing of the announcement certainly can be perceived as a reaction to current issues - it at least makes it appear as if they were responding to the petition. And the lack of action to date, which admittedly, was probably due to political and social climate not being as intense and scrutinized in the past and Splash Mountain is obviously not an attraction they want to change (concept is fine just bad choice of source material).

Replacing Splash (in FL) with PATF just screams reaction. They may have been planning for awhile but should have announced ahead of the curve. Don't be afraid to be innovative and take the first step. They waited to make this announcement and I can picture the scene from National Lampoon's Xmas Vacation where Clark expects the drum roll when lighting the house. Disney execs expected a big moment with the announcement and it really hasn't generated the expected impact/affect IMO.

Other issue is Disney no longer isolates decisions between CA and FL. PATF may work much better thematically in CA given SM is based in a land themed to New Orleans. I don't think it works thematically in FL. This solution should follow the Tower of Terror model and not the Galaxy's Edge/MMRR model. Again, WDW has the opportunity to create two inclusive attractions and dedicate a space in Fantasyland to properly represent Tiana. I think representation is an issue for Tiana in Frontierland. It feels forced, isolated and easy/cheap alternative.
Well said! I can see how the timing could make it seem like the petition was more of a factor than I'd thought.

On the "lack of action to date," I see lots of action on Disney's part toward inclusion and sensitivity. The changes to Pirates over the years (the pirates chasing women scenes and the auction scene) are examples and have been happening for a while now- with some significant pushback from fans.

We can likewise see it in the tv/film side of things, where Disney has made a very intentional (and risky) push to diverse casts and creative leadership. In 2017, Iger named Latondra Newton CDO. Back in Sept. of 2019, Iger committed to addressing the lack of inclusion and diversity in the company, and launched The Inclusion and Diversity Task Force (or whatever its called). This year, they announced the changes to Splash and added the "Inclusion" Key to CM training.

To me, this looks like a lot more than just a knee-jerk reaction to a petition.
 

puckett26

Member
Well said! I can see how the timing could make it seem like the petition was more of a factor than I'd thought.

On the "lack of action to date," I see lots of action on Disney's part toward inclusion and sensitivity. The changes to Pirates over the years (the pirates chasing women scenes and the auction scene) are examples and have been happening for a while now- with some significant pushback from fans.

We can likewise see it in the tv/film side of things, where Disney has made a very intentional (and risky) push to diverse casts and creative leadership. In 2017, Iger named Latondra Newton CDO. Back in Sept. of 2019, Iger committed to addressing the lack of inclusion and diversity in the company, and launched The Inclusion and Diversity Task Force (or whatever its called). This year, they announced the changes to Splash and added the "Inclusion" Key to CM training.

To me, this looks like a lot more than just a knee-jerk reaction to a petition.
Sorry meant lack of action regarding Splash. The changes detailed above are similar to what I would prefer for Splash and the other moves are good for WDW and consistent with what most major corporations are doing in this country. I have no issues with those moves at all (I was on the fence regarding PoTC but riding after the change has not negatively impacted my opinion of the attraction).

Devil’s advocate - creating a team like that within your organization kind of is a reaction to current climate. However, WDW is at least acknowledging ignorance and identifying issues that need to be considered and moving forward to reach a broader audience. I think people often misperceive diversity and inclusion and fear wholesale changes. The idea is to encourage everyone (unlikely but you want the spectrum as wide as possible) to enjoy your product but shoving PATF into SM just reinforces the aforementioned fear.
 

doctornick

Well-Known Member
Disney was sufficiently aware of the film’s baggage to change the tar-baby scene and remove any reference to the human characters. It was locked away in the vault around the same time that Splash Mountain opened. Again, bad planning given what they already knew.
Not for nothing, but there are references to Remus in the DL queue IIRC.
 

LastoneOn

Well-Known Member
There's annual refurb. They could have just kept quiet, gone into a refurb, extended it and then brought out the new look in a very ordered, high profile manner. completion dates the whole bit. That they announced this so early, with no real plans or concepts to show, shows they sought political advantage and actually blew a big marketing opportunity - and just made them seem even more insincere and $$ motivated than they already were.
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
There's annual refurb. They could have just kept quiet, gone into a refurb, extended it and then brought out the new look in a very ordered, high profile manner. completion dates the whole bit. That they announced this so early, with no real plans or concepts to show, shows they sought political advantage and actually blew a big marketing opportunity - and just made them seem even more insincere and $$ motivated than they already were.

Or they could have announced this back in 2009 when PatF was first released to capitalize on a then new movie.
 

NelsonRD

Well-Known Member
They could just take those out instead of retheming the whole attraction.

Welcome to the Streisand effect. They could have quietly made some changes. Instead, announced a remake, which is years away, which in turn brought attention to the attraction, and the Song of the South, which most people don't even know what it was. In my opinion, this brought more negative PR (from people looking up Song of the South that would otherwise not have, people needing any path for outrage anyway they can find, and those who want to preserve the attraction) rather than the positive.
 

_caleb

Well-Known Member
Welcome to the Streisand effect. They could have quietly made some changes. Instead, announced a remake, which is years away, which in turn brought attention to the attraction, and the Song of the South, which most people don't even know what it was. In my opinion, this brought more negative PR (from people looking up Song of the South that would otherwise not have, people needing any path for outrage anyway they can find, and those who want to preserve the attraction) rather than the positive.
The Disney blog/Twittersphere has been posting “Did you know...?” posts about the connection between the ride and the film for years. The announcement didn’t kickstart public awareness in the connection.
 

LittleBuford

Well-Known Member
The Disney blog/Twittersphere has been posting “Did you know...?” posts about the connection between the ride and the film for years. The announcement didn’t kickstart public awareness in the connection.
I also think we as Disney fans are apt to imagine far more public interest in and awareness of these things than is actually the same. Given everything else that's been happening this year, I'm sure the news of Splash Mountain's retheme passed the vast majority of people right by.
 

Donaldfan1934

Well-Known Member
I also think we as Disney fans are apt to imagine far more public interest in and awareness of these things than is actually the same. Given everything else that's been happening this year, I'm sure the news of Splash Mountain's retheme passed the vast majority of people right by.
To be honest, I thought this news was going to reach far beyond the Disney fandom when it broke, but there really hasn’t been much acknowledgement of the situation outside of Disney or theme park centric sites in the months since. Unless you follow those sites or were paying close attention to the news the day this was announced, there’s a good chance you have no idea it even happened.
 

NelsonRD

Well-Known Member
The Disney blog/Twittersphere has been posting “Did you know...?” posts about the connection between the ride and the film for years. The announcement didn’t kickstart public awareness in the connection.

You don't think this helped? Do you think all people get information from Disney blogs and twitter? I am sorry, but the ones that follow Disney news, already knew. This reaches a much wider audience.
 

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