WDW Magic Kingdom: General Discussion

Discussion in 'Rest of the World Parks and Attractions' started by Rowe, 21st Jan 2015.

  1. tayspru

    tayspru TowersStreet Member

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    I keep reading that the animated segment isn’t racist as a defence for the ride remaining as it is .

    The character of Brer Rabbit - as designed by Disney for the 1946 film - is a caricature of a Black slave, mixed with the “trickster” archetype. The character is portrayed with a strong accent , and is characterised as lazy and work-shy. The animated segment he features in has a narrative of him running from Brer Fox and Brer Bear , as well as the Briar Patch , but sees the moral being that things are better staying where you are - this animated section also leads into Uncle Remus suggesting its best for the young character Jimmy (?) to stay at the plantation as things are best the way they always have been . It plays into the narrative of the movie being that things were best in the “old” days . The character of Brer Rabbit is absolutely as problematic (if not as overtly) as Thre movie Song of the South .

    Disney have made a very appropriate move by acknowledging this is the time to make change . Although Splash Mountain is iconic , we can look forward to a new iconic ride that celebrates Tiana (a hard working Black woman) and elements of Black culture including Jazz Music and Mardi Gras
     
  2. Andrew

    Andrew TS Contributor

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    I believe that the ‘Tar Baby’ also comes from the animated segment of the film which is used to trap Br’er Rabbit. This is an image which has been deemed highly racist.

    The symbol - a pivotal plot point of the film - is absent from Splash Mountain. That shows yet again that Disney are aware of the discrimination that is prevalent in Song of the South.

    Removing it just glosses over and pretends the racist elements of the film never existed. That’s why there’s an issue and that’s why I’m glad they’re changing it (let alone using a more recent film as I stated before).
     
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  3. Benjsh

    Benjsh TowersStreet Member

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    There's been petitions for years to have it changed. It's not just happened all of a sudden. There's a reason Songs of the South isn't on Disney Plus my friend. It's totally offensive, racist and has no place in 2020. And neither does the themeing to SM.

    YouTube will always have it for you to watch back. Move with the times. This upgrade is long overdue and will be amazing anyway.
     
  4. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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    You are a rude chap ain’t you. I think you will find I pointed out that Disney had pulled the film a long time ago in one of the above posts, repeating what I have already said doesn’t do much to show you have much to add to the debate.


    The tar baby is definitely one element of the animation that was concerning hence why they excluded it from the ride. I have heard the narrative that Brier rabbit is an illusion to typical racist tropes of the times, I think the issue here is an anthropomorphic rabbit can be interpreted pretty much how you want, it’s certainly not everyone’s interpretation.

    I really think having a Princess and the Frog ride is a fantastic idea as it’s a fantastic film. It would be nice for them to actually build one from scratch but there is no point stressing too much.

    One obvious question is how they will link this into WDW, at Disneyland the area is adjacent to New Orleans so fits perfectly, at WDW it’s surrounded on all sides with frontier land.
     
    Last edited: 29th Jun 2020
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  5. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    Although the retelling of the Uncle Remus stories by Joel Chandler Harris (whose books inspire Song of the South) may be problematic, the character of Brer Rabbit being a trickster is an African folkstory. Although it is the recording of an African folk story by a white man, I don't think there is any belief that the original character of Brer Rabbit tells that moral, most of them are retellings of stories about the Ananse Spider trickster.
    Wikipedia is a good starter https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Br'er_Rabbit.
    While the fact that the Uncle Remus framing does frame everything in a westernised, white format, I don't think the story as presented within Splash Mountain has any connection which itself is racist.
     
  6. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    They could have added a much better Princess and the Frog ride which is actually realistic to New Orleans (where there are no mountains or hills, so why are you going down a drop?). Imagine something more like Pirates of the Carribean (Disneyland version) with Tiana's Place restaurant overlooking the ride. I agree PatF should have a ride, I just don't think that ride should be a log flume. It also with the Splash retheme works better in Disneyland where they have a new Orleans area that could be extended, whereas in Florida it will be part of a wild west themed land.

    With ToT I think its very different though, Disney attached the Twilight Zone IP to the ride, but it doesn't need it, it can stand alone as a "haunted" hotel drop ride. The guardians ride is fantastic too, but I love that we now have the original ToT and the new GotG mission breakout, both coasts should have different rides.

    I think some things are classics and shouldn't be changed, but other things need updates, or just pure demolition.

    Epcot is a whole different issue and should have moved with the times a lot more, as it is called Future World, but once they could no longer get companies to sponsor pavillions as a "worlds fair" concept it didn't work out long-term. Now instead they are just shoving movie characters on everything instead of trying to build a modern future world.
     
  7. Andrew

    Andrew TS Contributor

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    Going to the point about fitting the rethemed Splash into Disney World (as it can fit into New Orleans at Disneyland easily), I presume it could be merged into Adventureland and can form its own mini New Orleans area.

    Splash at Magic Kingdom does sit between two areas so it doesn’t exactly fit into anywhere at the minute. It probably makes more sense to try and integrate it more in Adventureland and just expend that area out with the odd themed food cart etc if possible
     
    Last edited: 29th Jun 2020
  8. tayspru

    tayspru TowersStreet Member

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    None of that is untrue, however the attraction isn't based upon the original folklore, nor is it based on any books. It is based on the depiction of Brer Rabbit that was created by Disney as part of the racist narrative of Song of the South.

    The fact that parts of the original animation were ommited when creating the ride, is enough to suggest that the Imagineers knew the source material was harmful. Therefore, seeing that specific creation of Brer Rabbit is inherently a problem for many in the Black community. This isn't a new issue either, there's been discussions around the subject for years now. When I worked at WDW in 2015, I spoke to colleagues who refued to ride "that racist log ride" , and in fact theres a majority of white CMs at the attraction because many minority cast members don't feel comfortable working there. We white people don't get to decide what is or isnt offensive to oppressed groups, we should listen to the reasons they have presented and share them where possible.

    Disney have listened to valid criticism and made the correct decision.
     
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  9. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    I'm not going to argue against you that people have found the ride objectional for years.

    But having ridden it a few times, I always just thought Brer Rabbit was running/hiding from Brer Fox and tricked him into entering the Laughing Place and then throwing him where he wanted to go (the Briar Patch). Never thought anything about him being a slave or running away from anything other than a fox. In isolation without Song of the South I don't think there is anything obviously racist within the ride itself, so I am just interested as to different understandings of the storyline within the ride.
    Yes it definitely shouldn't be up to white people to decide what is racist, but other than the link to Song of the South I haven't seen a description of why it is racist, so if people have links to articles about it (preferably written by people of colour) it would be interesting to see them.

    Its also interesting that a ride built to recycle animatronics from a show and named to promote a movie that has nothing to do with the ride (Splash), using the characters from a film Disney knew at the time was problematic has taken on a life of its own as a classic theme park ride and a majority of riders have no idea about Song of the South, just the log ride with a rabbit and the zip-a-dee-doo-dah song.


    Just reading the interpretation of the rides story on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Splash_Mountain#Story) I get why it could be seen that there are other reasons br'er rabbit is leaving home and being chased, but I think it can be seen exactly as it is as well.
     
    Last edited: 29th Jun 2020

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