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Western River and Splash Mountain are alike in one unfortunate way

mharrington

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I have seen DSNY Newscast's video on how Splash Mountain should have been replaced not with something related to "The Princess and the Frog", but finally with Western River. You can watch the video here:

The video argues, as others have, that Splash Mountain and "The Princess and the Frog" both make mince of the "westward expansion" concept that goes from New England (Liberty Square) all the way to the Southwest (Frontierland). "Song of the South" and "The Princess and the Frog" are both set in the Deep South (Georgia and Louisiana, respectively) and thus not geographically appropriate. The video then tosses out some ideas for other IP-based properties instead, including "Pocahontas" and "Brother Bear", only to nix these without skipping a beat for the same reason: that these are no more geographically correct than "Song of the South" or "The Princess and the Frog" ("Pocahontas" is set in Virginia and "Brother Bear" in Alaska somewhere).

As such, the video proposed doing something that WDW hadn't done in a long, long time: namely, do something NOT related to any preexisting IP, so that they wouldn't have to worry about being geographically correct. Thus, a new version of that legend of abandoned theme park concepts, Western River Expedition, was proposed as a more suitable replacement. The video provides more information if you are interested. But I digress.

I actually would argue against Western River and let that sleeping dog lie for one simple reason: this and Splash Mountain are sadly alike in one unfortunate way: being politically incorrect. The original Western River contained Native Americans done as cartoonishly stereotyped as in something like "Peter Pan". Had it been built as Marc Davis had envisioned it, it would have surely persisted into the present day and put the ride in a tough spot. Even in the 1970s, the plight of Native Americans was being brought to light and we as a society have become more sensitive to them.

The ride would have had similar, if not identical, problems to Splash Mountain if it had been built. Remember, movies like "Peter Pan" have been pulled from kids' accounts on Disney Plus, while adding annoying "warning" labels about "negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures" to those same movies on regular accounts that you must sit through before you can watch the movie.

Disney would have to deal with the Indian problem in Western River, just as it has to deal with the problems of Splash Mountain's connection to "Song of the South". What are your thoughts?
 
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Cmdr_Crimson

Well-Known Member
At least one scene from Western River made it into the former World Of Motion...
a61223d5dffa78552027d3470d8f0436.jpg
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
I have seen DSNY Newscast's video on how Splash Mountain should have been replaced not with something related to "The Princess and the Frog", but finally with Western River You can watch the video here:

The video argues, as others have, that Splash Mountain and "The Princess and the Frog" both make mince of the "westward expansion" concept that goes from New England (Liberty Square) all the way to the Southwest (Frontierland). "Song of the South" and "The Princess and the Frog" are both set in the Deep South (Georgia and Louisiana, respectively) and thus not geographically appropriate. The video then tosses out some ideas for other IP-based properties instead, including "Pocahontas" and "Brother Bear", only to nix these without skipping a beat for the same reason: that these are no more geographically correct than "Song of the South" or "The Princess and the Frog" ("Pocahontas" is set in Virginia and "Brother Bear" in Alaska somewhere).

As such, the video proposed doing something that WDW hadn't done in a long, long time: namely, do something NOT related to any preexisting IP, so that they wouldn't have to worry about being geographically correct. Thus, a new version of that legend of abandoned theme park concepts, Western River Expedition, was proposed as a more suitable replacement. The video provides more information if you are interested. But I digress.

I actually would argue against Western River and let that sleeping dog lie for one simple reason: this and Splash Mountain are sadly alike in one unfortunate way: being politically incorrect. The original Western River contained Native Americans done as cartoonishly stereotyped as in something like "Peter Pan". Had it been built as Marc Davis had envisioned it, it would have surely persisted into the present day and put the ride in a tough spot. Even in the 1970s, the plight of Native Americans was being brought to light and we as a society have become more sensitive to them.

The ride would have had similar, if not identical, problems to Splash Mountain if it had been built. Remember, movies like "Peter Pan" have been pulled from kids' accounts on Disney Plus, while adding annoying "warning" labels about "negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures" to those same movies on regular accounts that you must sit through before you can watch the movie.

Disney would have to deal with the Indian problem in Western River, just as it has to deal with the problems of Splash Mountain's connection to "Song of the South". What are your thoughts?

Marc Davis designed a version of the ride without the Native American stereotypes.
 

mharrington

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Marc Davis designed a version of the ride without the Native American stereotypes.
Although DSNY Newscast doesn't say so, it should be noted also that, according to Jim Hill, Western River was apparently given a western theme. And when I say "western", I mean "western genre" (i.e., movies and TV). Unfortunately, the western genre was on the wane as viable entertainment in the 1970s (due in no small part to the aforementioned plight of Native Americans) and has never truly returned to the glory it once had in the early half of the 20th century. There hadn't been a single hit western movie for years. Even television's most popular horse opera, "Gunsmoke", was finally cancelled in 1975 after an impressive twenty-year run. Thus, the fact that this ride is based on what was becoming an outdated genre is another reason why it's best to just let it go.
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Although DSNY Newscast doesn't say so, it should be noted also that, according to Jim Hill, Western River was apparently given a western theme. And when I say "western", I mean "western genre" (i.e., movies and TV). Unfortunately, the western genre was on the wane as viable entertainment in the 1970s (due in no small part to the aforementioned plight of Native Americans) and has never truly returned to the glory it once had in the early half of the 20th century. There hadn't been a single hit western movie for years. Even television's most popular horse opera, "Gunsmoke", was finally cancelled in 1975 after an impressive twenty-year run. Thus, the fact that this ride is based on what was becoming an outdated genre is another reason why it's best to just let it go.

Frontierland, as a whole, is still popular 50 years after opening in WDW. Big Thunder Mountain opened in 1980.

The decline of Western movies has not impacted people's enjoyment of this or similar lands (like at Knotts Berry Farm).
 

flynnibus

Premium Member
Frontierland, as a whole, is still popular 50 years after opening in WDW. Big Thunder Mountain opened in 1980.

The decline of Western movies has not impacted people's enjoyment of this or similar lands (like at Knotts Berry Farm).

Yet the theme really isn't a draw in itself nor is it even really promoted all that much anymore. People like the area for the big successful attractions. The wilderness/frontier aspects? they keep shrinking... with more and more elements being retired all the time.
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Yet the theme really isn't a draw in itself nor is it even really promoted all that much anymore. People like the area for the big successful attractions. The wilderness/frontier aspects? they keep shrinking... with more and more elements being retired all the time.

But would a ride like Western River Expedition have declined in popularity strictly on the basis that it was frontier themed?

Pirates of the Caribbean was popular despite Pirate movies being long dead by the time it opened and now Disney running that franchise into the ground.
 

mharrington

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Frontierland, as a whole, is still popular 50 years after opening in WDW. Big Thunder Mountain opened in 1980.

The decline of Western movies has not impacted people's enjoyment of this or similar lands (like at Knotts Berry Farm).
Unfortunately, in today's society, this ride, had it been done without Native Americans, would have been accused of white washing, which is the other side of this double-edge political sword. I think it's just too problematic as a ride, the kind of situation where you just can't win and you're going to have problems no matter what you do.
 

ohioguy

Well-Known Member
I have seen DSNY Newscast's video on how Splash Mountain should have been replaced not with something related to "The Princess and the Frog", but finally with Western River You can watch the video here:

The video argues, as others have, that Splash Mountain and "The Princess and the Frog" both make mince of the "westward expansion" concept that goes from New England (Liberty Square) all the way to the Southwest (Frontierland). "Song of the South" and "The Princess and the Frog" are both set in the Deep South (Georgia and Louisiana, respectively) and thus not geographically appropriate. The video then tosses out some ideas for other IP-based properties instead, including "Pocahontas" and "Brother Bear", only to nix these without skipping a beat for the same reason: that these are no more geographically correct than "Song of the South" or "The Princess and the Frog" ("Pocahontas" is set in Virginia and "Brother Bear" in Alaska somewhere).

As such, the video proposed doing something that WDW hadn't done in a long, long time: namely, do something NOT related to any preexisting IP, so that they wouldn't have to worry about being geographically correct. Thus, a new version of that legend of abandoned theme park concepts, Western River Expedition, was proposed as a more suitable replacement. The video provides more information if you are interested. But I digress.

I actually would argue against Western River and let that sleeping dog lie for one simple reason: this and Splash Mountain are sadly alike in one unfortunate way: being politically incorrect. The original Western River contained Native Americans done as cartoonishly stereotyped as in something like "Peter Pan". Had it been built as Marc Davis had envisioned it, it would have surely persisted into the present day and put the ride in a tough spot. Even in the 1970s, the plight of Native Americans was being brought to light and we as a society have become more sensitive to them.

The ride would have had similar, if not identical, problems to Splash Mountain if it had been built. Remember, movies like "Peter Pan" have been pulled from kids' accounts on Disney Plus, while adding annoying "warning" labels about "negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures" to those same movies on regular accounts that you must sit through before you can watch the movie.

Disney would have to deal with the Indian problem in Western River, just as it has to deal with the problems of Splash Mountain's connection to "Song of the South". What are your thoughts?
Glad those "annoying" warning labels are there so that my kids don't have to sit through racist animated movies.
 

John park hopper

Well-Known Member
Frontierland, as a whole, is still popular 50 years after opening in WDW. Big Thunder Mountain opened in 1980.

The decline of Western movies has not impacted people's enjoyment of this or similar lands (like at Knotts Berry Farm).
Hollywood has declined to make westerns but there are TV channels dedicated to all the old western movies and western TV series. They must be popular or they would not be viable channels
 

Musical Mermaid

Well-Known Member
One of my main arguments for Princess and the Frog not being placed in Frontierland is unrelated to where it’s geographically set. The genre is a fairytale and there is already a perfect land for fairytales: Fantasyland. Rip out Fairytale Hall and place it there. Then you could make it a dark ride and appeal to smaller children. Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland needs more dark rides.

At least Western River Expedition wasn’t tied to any IPs. I wish they were more creative these days and could come up with something that fits the land better.
 

mharrington

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
One of my main arguments for Princess and the Frog not being placed in Frontierland is unrelated to where it’s geographically set. The genre is a fairytale and there is already a perfect land for fairytales: Fantasyland. Rip out Fairytale Hall and place it there. Then you could make it a dark ride and appeal to smaller children. Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland needs more dark rides.

How would that work, considering that "The Princess and the Frog" is set in early 20th century America? It would seem out of place in what is predominantly a representation of European stories.
 

Cmdr_Crimson

Well-Known Member
At least Western River Expedition wasn’t tied to any IPs. I wish they were more creative these days and could come up with something that fits the land better.
Could you imagine if this movie was a success we could have seen them slap these characters in it...
pp_homeontherange_herobanner_19911-1_96c18e06.jpeg

How would that work, considering that "The Princess and the Frog" is set in early 20th century America? It would seem out of place in what is predominantly a representation of European stories.
The idea of New Orleans makes more sense with the DL version...Just not sure how that aspect will work in the frontier area unless it gets reflected but, I'm not getting my hopes up..
 

mharrington

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The idea of New Orleans makes more sense with the DL version...Just not sure how that aspect will work in the frontier area unless it gets reflected but, I'm not getting my hopes up..

Exactly, it's a lot easier to accept something like this in Disneyland because of the ride's proximity to New Orleans Square, although it does bring up the question of the Pooh ride across the way, especially if the "Princess and the Frog" ride was to be integrated into New Orleans Square, as some have speculated. The Pooh ride, themed to classic English stories, strains credibility a bit given that it's in an area otherwise devoted ostensibly to the Deep South. If New Orleans Square annexes Critter Country, the credibility of Pooh will be strained even more. But that's another topic for another thread.
 

Magicart87

〝𝘙𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘺-𝘖!〞
Premium Member
How would that work, considering that "The Princess and the Frog" is set in early 20th century America? It would seem out of place in what is predominantly a representation of European stories.

Then why is Pooh there? Same could be said for plopping PatF in Fronterland. The difference there is +- 80 years.
 

Cmdr_Crimson

Well-Known Member
Exactly, it's a lot easier to accept something like this in Disneyland because of the ride's proximity to New Orleans Square, although it does bring up the question of the Pooh ride across the way, especially if the "Princess and the Frog" ride was to be integrated into New Orleans Square, as some have speculated. The Pooh ride, themed to classic English stories, strains credibility a bit given that it's in an area otherwise devoted ostensibly to the Deep South. If New Orleans Square annexes Critter Country, the credibility of Pooh will be strained even more. But that's another topic for another thread.
Perhaps just renaming Critter Country to Pooh Corner as it's in......Well, a corner
 

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