As “zip-a-dee-doo-dah” is a line from a film that has drawn fire for its racist depictions of Black Americans, Disneyland has decided to remove it from its park parades. The song’s “Magic Happens” parade featured the line when it was first released in March 2020. Because of the Covid-19 outbreak, the procession has only recently returned after an almost three-year absence.
Visitors to the twice-daily procession, which is billed on its website as “celebrating wonderful moments from iconic Disney stories,” now hear the line from “Peter Pan,” “think of the happiest things,” in its stead. The OC Register was the first publication to report on the lyrics modification for the parade.
The 1946 movie “Song of the South,” which has long been criticized for its portrayal of “spiritual” Black males in stereotypical ways and its seeming nostalgia for the antebellum South, is where the song “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah” first appeared. Disney is working to remove all references to the movie from its other theme parks.
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Given that the log flume ride’s inspiration came from “Song of the South,” Disney Parks and Resorts declared in 2020 that Splash Mountain would be “totally rebuilt” at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The characters from the 2009 animated movie “The Princess and the Frog,” which includes Disney’s first Black princess, will appear in the remade version.
The new Splash Mountain concept is “inclusive” and “one that all of our guests can connect with and be inspired by,” according to Disney (DIS), who stated this at the time. Walt Disney (DIS) World in Orlando has already closed the Splash Mountain ride for renovations. Both US resorts anticipate opening the new attraction in 2024.
The elimination of the “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” song from the theme park resort is part of a continual process to deliver an atmosphere that emphasizes stories that are relevant and inclusive, Disneyland executives told the OC Register in 2020. The OC Register further notes that the song was taken off the playlists played in the King Arthur Carrousel and Downtown Disney, the dining and shopping area of the Disneyland resort, respectively, in 2020 and 2021.
Because “Song of the South” is so divisive, Disney has kept it hidden for years and even excluded it from the vast Disney+ archive. After the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in 2020, which sparked in-depth discussion and reflection about how race is represented in popular culture, changes to the log flume ride were made.