Florida Leader Hints At Splash Mountain’s Return

princess tiana glares at governor ron desantis

Walt Disney World Resort fans, Florida residents, or Walt Disney Company stockholders may all be familiar with Floridian leader Governor Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis has been at odds with Walt Disney World Resort often in the past year, particularly when it comes to the Reedy Creek Improvement District where Disney operated with significant autonomy.

Now that DeSantis has done away with this district, and put a board-managed Central Florida Tourism Oversight District in place instead, there is some concern among business owners, representatives, and Disney fans revolving around the Florida governor’s potential ability to make tangible changes in Disney Resorts or Disney Parks (not to mention Disney Animation).

Ron DeSantis

Governor Ron DeSantis recently did away with the Reedy Creek Improvement District in Florida, where Walt Disney World Resort was a law unto itself, and put the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District in its place. Credit: ABC

This concern was made clear recently by State Representative Rita Harris, who said the following when debating the changes to the Reedy Creek Improvement District: “Are we going to see board members vetoing projects that are considered to go against any governor? For instance, Walt Disney just changed Splash Mountain. They made it Tiana’s Bayou”.

“What if the governor didn’t like that?” Harris asked. “Would the board then be able to push a company into changing their business model just so that they don’t misalign [with] them?”

Br'er Rabbit Splash Mountain

Br’er Rabbit and Splash Mountain. Splash Mountain was a Magic Kingdom Disney Park ride based on the 1964 Disney film ‘Song of the South’. Now, the ride is being replace by Tiana’s Bayou Adventure which is a Magic Kingdom ride that is coming to Walt Disney World Resort in 2024.

There are many Disney fans who would be thrilled to see the Splash Mountain ride return to the Magic Kingdom — despite the notoriously-racist film that led to its inception — but there are also many Princess and the Frog fans who are very excited to see the 2009 film’s New Orleans heroine, Princess Tiana, getting a more substantial platform.

Tiana's Bayou Adventure concept art/Courtesy of Disney

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure concept art. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is a Magic Kingdom Disney Park ride that is coming to Walt Disney World Resort in 2024, and that will focus on the adventures of New Orleans heroine Princess Tiana (alongside characters like Prince Naveen or Louis the alligator) in the bayous of Louisiana. Credit: Disney

Many Disney customers would find the Oversight Board’s ability to change Disney Park offerings to be very troubling, however, whether or not Splash Mountain’s return was involved.

Talk show host and celebrity Stephen Colbert mocked the new role that supporters of Governor Ron DeSantis are supposedly going to play in Walt Disney World Resort operations in a satirical video, shown below, which includes a portrayal of Disney World as a “newly de-wokeified magical kingdom.”

How do you feel about the changes that have been made to Disney’s autonomy and the business’s special district?

Do you think that Governor Ron DeSantis and any of his supporters might actually have the ability to bring Splash Mountain back — and would you want them to?

About Sharon

Sharon is a writer and animal lover from New England. Sharon's two main focuses in her work are Disney's correlations with pop culture and the significance of Disney princesses (which was the basis for her college thesis). When she's not writing about Disney, Sharon spends her time singing, dancing, and cavorting with woodland creatures!

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