Florida's Disney World Resort To Rebrand Splash Mountain Ride To Make It More 'Inclusive'

Toby Hazlewood

More evidence of a 'woke' corporate agenda

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Governor Ron DeSantisPhoto byTwitter of GovRonDeSantis

On December 2, the Disney Corporation announced on Twitter that in January 2023 the Splash Mountain ride at each of its two U.S. theme parks will be closed for rebranding to make the ride more 'inclusive'.

As part of this rebranding, the rides will be renovated to include references, music and characters from the film 'The Princess and the Frog', while removing the styling associated with 'The Song of the South' that has been the basis of the ride for many decades.

Accordingly the ride will no longer feature the characters Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Bear whose story was narrated by the character Uncle Remus. According to a statement issued by Disney when the rebranding was first announced:

The new concept is inclusive – one that all of our guests can connect with and be inspired by, and it speaks to the diversity of the millions of people who visit our parks each year.

While some may welcome a refresh to the styling of the ride, there's a sense that this is further evidence of what Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis has termed the 'woke' corporate agenda.

The 'war on woke'

2022 was the year when Governor DeSantis went to lengths to hinder the spread of the so-called 'woke' political agenda in the Sunshine State. Indeed, he went as far as to state that Florida is "where woke goes to die" in a speech earlier this year, and has since introduced legislation to hinder the influence of such matters in the lives of Floridians.

The 'Stop WOKE' act was signed into Florida law this year, and prohibits the teaching of topics such as critical race theory in public-school classrooms.

Tackling 'woke' corporations

DeSantis has a long-running feud with the Disney Corporation, going back to its reaction to the so-called 'Don't Say Gay' legislation which was resisted by Disney and protested against by many of its employees when it first came into law. In reaction, DeSantis threatened to revoke Disney's special tax status, although there have since been rumors as recently as December 4 that this could be reinstated.

Disney isn't the only corporation to have fallen foul of Governor DeSantis' focus on eradicating 'woke' politics.

No more 'woke' investing

In July of this year he announced that the state would be cracking down on corporations that are overtly focused on ESG matters and which discriminate against Floridian individuals and businesses on the basis of religious, political or social beliefs. Further to that intention, on December 2 it was confirmed that $2 billion of state money had been withdrawn from funds operated by investment firm BlackRock Inc, based on their operation of ESG Investment Funds.

ESG stands for 'Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance', and ESG funds are those that place investors' money with corporations who are driven by these priorities.

The rebranding of Splash Mountain at Disney World to make it more inclusive may be seen by some to be the right thing to do. For many though, it could well seem like unnecessary changes to a well-loved institution, for what seems like a fairly poor reason.

Do you think that Governor Ron DeSantis has become too fixated on the woke political agenda? Should Disney be preserving Splash Mountain as it is, rather than trying to make the ride more 'inclusive'? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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