Disney World has revamped several of its most popular rides in recent years to bring them more in line with the modern world. “Jungle Cruise” had a big makeover, for example, when a movie changes starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was released in 2021.
The company didn’t make a big issue out of the improvements, but it’s safe to assume they were significant. Walt Disney (DIS) – Get Free Report also made sexier tweaks to its “Pirates of the Caribbean” rollercoaster.
In addition, Disney has begun transforming the former “Splash Mountain” at Walt Disney World and Disneyland into “Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.” According to the Los Angeles Times, the ride will no longer be themed to “Song of the South,” a film that “Bob Iger told shareholders in 2020 was “just not appropriate in today’s world,” as it “employed racist tropes and painted a rosy picture of race relations in the antebellum South.”
The attraction will now be themed to “The Princess and the Frog,” a 2009 Disney animated picture, while retaining the same core log flume experience. The tune “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” which was also used in “Song of the South,” has also been deleted from Disney’s parades and in-park soundtracks.
Disney has made some adjustments very openly and others very discreetly, but when a ride closes for an extended period of time and that ride has problematic source material, it typically indicates a change is on the way. That’s why it’s shocking when Disney shut down one of its most popular roller coasters earlier this year for a major improvements yet didn’t modify its concept.
The Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster Featuring Aerosmith first premiered in 1999, when the rock band was far more popular than it is now. The ride’s original material’s fading popularity would have been reason enough to make a change on its own, but Aerosmith also comes with some extra baggage these days.
Lead singer Steven Tyler is also facing new claims that he assaulted a minor. Tyler has denied those charges, according to Billboard and the band is currently on a long “final” tour.
It was generally assumed Disney would exploit the extended shutdown of Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster to either eliminate or minimize Aerosmith’s position in the attraction. That has not occurred.