Disney World in Orlando, Florida, has opened a new ride inspired by the movie "The Princess and the Frog." The ride, which started previews on June 28, replaces the old Splash Mountain, a ride based on the 1946 Disney film "Song of the South." This change comes after Disney announced the project in 2020 amidst nationwide protests.

Fans React as Disney Transforms Iconic Ride with Princess Tiana

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Disney Ride Shifts to Inclusive Theme

The structure of the log-flume ride remains the same, but the theme is completely new. Splash Mountain was criticized for its depictions from "Song of the South," which many viewed as racist due to its portrayal of African Americans and a romanticized view of the South. 

The new ride, called Tiana's Bayou Adventure, features Disney's first Black princess, Tiana, and aims to provide a more inclusive experience.

During the preview, theme park content creator Victoria Wade, who is Black, shared her emotional response to the ride. She appreciated the representation and said it was meaningful to see characters that look like her. She also noted the Disney team's effort to incorporate Louisiana culture into the ride's design.

However, not everyone is satisfied with the new theme. According to CNN, some fans miss the old Splash Mountain and have even started petitions to bring it back. Critics argue that while the new ride is visually appealing, it lacks a compelling storyline.

Despite these mixed reactions, Disney continues to update its attractions to reflect more diverse and culturally sensitive themes. 

This transformation of Splash Mountain into Tiana's Bayou Adventure at both Disney World and Disneyland in Anaheim, California, which is set to open later, marks a significant shift in how Disney addresses cultural representation in its theme parks.

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Disney Plans Massive Investment in Florida

Disney and Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis' appointees have reached an agreement allowing Disney to invest $17 billion in its Florida properties. The significant deal also hints at the possibility of a new theme park. 

The agreement follows a lengthy legal dispute between Disney and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, formerly the Reedy Creek Improvement District. The dispute was primarily about the oversight of the district that provides essential services like fire suppression and law enforcement at Disney World.

On Wednesday, the district's board, appointed by DeSantis, voted unanimously to move forward with the agreement. 

As per ABC News, the decision paves the way for a final approval in a public meeting scheduled for June 12. Disney aims to make substantial investments over the next 10 to 20 years, with a planned $8 billion within the first decade. 

This includes contributions to local businesses and funding for affordable housing projects.

The deal marks a turning point in Disney's relationship with Florida's governance, following a contentious period where Disney opposed a state law restricting classroom discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

The conflict led to changes in the district's governance, culminating in Disney suing the state alleging retaliation for its opposition to the law. The lawsuit was eventually dropped, leading to the current development agreement.

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