The lyrics to «Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah» have been quietly removed from the set list for Disneyland’s Magic Happens Parade. The tune originates from the 1946 feature film «song of the south”, which has been criticized for featuring racist images and themes.
Disneyland officials confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that a lyric of the song was removed from the soundtrack of the Magic Happens parade, which is held twice daily at the Anaheim resort. The Magic Happens Parade returned to the park on February 24, ending a three-year hiatus caused by the Covid pandemic. According to the report, «Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah» has been replaced with a song from the 1953 feature «Peter Pan.»
Disneyland representatives were not immediately available for comment.
The change to the parade follows plans to close the park’s classic Splash Mountain ride, which was styled with references to «Song of the South.» The attraction will be reconfigured to feature themes and iconography from the 2009 show «The Princess and the Frog.» Splash Mountain closed at Florida’s Walt Disney World resort in January, though the Anaheim edition is still in operation.
Plans to remake Splash Mountain were first announced in June 2020, a time when Black Lives Matter protests gathered across the country to protest the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and more Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement.
Set in the American South during the Reconstruction era, “Song of the South” follows a white boy who befriends an older black man who works on a plantation. During its release in the 1940s and in subsequent re-releases, the film drew criticism for its use of racist stereotypes and its ahistorical conception of the plantation system as a consensual, harmonious partnership between white owners and black slaves.
Disney CEO Bob Iger has stated that «Song of the South» «is simply not appropriate in today’s world.» The film has not been released in any format in recent years.