We have seen Disney and the Florida government battle it out over many different issues in the past few months. One of those includes lowering the drinking age on Disney property to 18 years old. You can read that story here. Disney is taking that issue to the Florida courts. Now, Florida is striking back at Disney in the courts, suing them to keep Splash Mountain as is and not retheme the ride.
As you may know, Splash Mountain is set to close forever in a week. It will be rethemed to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. The ride structure will remain the same, but it will have a new theme. However, this retheme has caused outrage among many Disney fans who love the ride and don’t want it changed. Because of this, Disney canceled the retheme, which we reported here. But apparently, it’s now back on. Disney can’t seem to make up their mind.
It comes as no surprise Disney is struggling to close Splash Mountain and retheme it. After all, it’s the most popular attraction at Disney World. Because of this, there was a petition on change.org to keep Splash Mountain as is. That petition has almost 100K supporters, while the petition to change Splash Mountain only has 20K. Yet again Disney isn’t listening to what their guests really want. They’re going with their own agenda, which is ruining the Disney experience.
Since Disney isn’t listening to their guests, the Florida government is stepping in to sue Disney over the Splash Mountain retheme. According to court documents, Florida is suing Disney to make Splash Mountain a historical landmark in the state of Florida. If Splash Mountain were to be approved as a historical landmark in Florida, it would bar Disney from destroying the attraction. This is clearly a big deal for Disney World to have a national landmark and would come with future tax benefits as well.
Typically the state of Florida by law requires a building to be at least 50 years old to qualify for a historical landmark. The Florida government however is looking to be flexible on this for Splash Mountain for two reasons. First off, the state has jurisdiction over approval for historical landmark applications, so they can make the final call on approval. Second, they see great significance in Splash Mountain making it worth saving.
What is Florida’s argument to Keep Splash Mountain as is?
The Florida government claims that Splash Mountain holds historical significance for the African American community. James Baskett played Uncle Remus in Song of The South, which is the movie Splash Mountain is based on. Baskett was the first African-American male actor to win an Academy Award. This was truly a historical event and the start of progress.
Splash Mountain also is the all-time most-ridden ride across all of Disney parks. The Florida government argues that is a compelling enough reason to keep Splash Mountain at Disney World and not retheme it. In fact, we recently saw a Florida state representative speak out against the retheme.
Florida is essentially making the case that Splash Mountain holds historical significance and that destroying it would have a negative impact on the state. The underlying argument comes down to the value the ride brings to Disney World and the state of Florida. If the Florida Government can convince the courts that Splash Mountain plays a significant role in the state and retheming it would have a negative impact, they might win.
This is another ongoing battle between Disney and the Florida government. While it is not clear that Florida will win the case, we can only hope they do. Saving Splash Mountain and not retheming it would clearly make more people happy than it would disappoint. At the very least, we can hope this legal battle defers the closing date of Splash Mountain for another few months or years while it is being fought in court.
What do you think of the retheme of Splash Mountain? Are you excited or disappointed? Let us know in the comments below.
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