Disney Nixes “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” Song from Parade Amid Controversy

The Oscar-winning song from Disney’s 1946 film ‘Song of the South’ has been criticized over its racist portrayals

There have been a multitude of recent changes at the Disney parks that visitors have chafed against and conservatives have derided.

Most recently, an alteration came to the Magic Happens Parade, which is held twice daily at Disneyland Park in Anaheim. The parade kicked back into gear on February 24 after a three-year hiatus during the Covid-19 pandemic. Upon its return, it was noticeably missing one thing: the Oscar-winning song, “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” which was recently scrubbed from th festivities over concerns about racial sensitivity. It will be replaced by another song from Peter Pan, according to Variety.

“Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” originated in Song of the South, the 1946 Disney film that has been widely criticized for its racist representations of Black people in the American South.

The reaction from conservatives on social media has been swift.

“Woke Disney isn’t working,” tweeted Nile Gardiner, a former aide to Margaret Thatcher. “Disney will sink unless it returns to its traditional roots and rejects far-Left ideology.” 

“Just when I thought that Disney was beginning to get it, Disneyland has removed the phrase “zip-a-dee-doo-dah” from the music of its in-park parades due to racial sensitivity concerns,” wrote another Twitter user. “Woke is a joke!”

Other Twitter users remarked how the woke police are working on overdrive and perhaps should expand their vocabularies: “You are obsessed with the word woke. For weeks it’s been woke this and woke that and woke the other. Investing in a thesaurus is my advice.”

Song of the South is set on a plantation and features an older Black man, known as Uncle Remus, who tells African folk tales to white children who are cared for by Black servants. Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger had previously said that the film would not appear on the streaming service Disney+ and held that the film is “not appropriate in today’s world.”

The change in the parade is related to plans to shutter the park’s Splash Mountain ride, which has built-in references to Song of the South and features several of the film’s characters. The ride will instead be turned into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, based on Disney’s first Black princess, and will be redesigned to incorporate themes from the 2009 feature  The Princess and the Frog. The new log flume attraction is set to open in 2024.

Earlier this year, the Daily Mail reported that Disney Parks were taking steps to be more inclusive, which included banning gendered greetings. Instead of “Hello, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,” staff are now encouraged to simply say, “Hello, friends.”

Last year, Minnie Mouse also made headlines after she received a makeover with a purple polka-dot pantsuit designed by Stella McCartney. When Disney debuted the new look on Twitter, users went crazy, calling it “more woke BS” from the company.

Earlier, in April 2021, the brand announced on its blog a rule change that would allow cast members to wear gender-inclusive hairstyles, jewelry, nail styles, and costume choices.

“We want our guests to see their own backgrounds and traditions reflected in the stories, experiences and products they encounter in their interactions with Disney,” the company said at the time. “And we want our cast members—and future cast members—to feel a sense of belonging at work.”

Photo by Tyler Nix / Unsplash

Other recent moves by the company that have stirred up controversy include a recent episode of the Disney show “Proud Family: Louder and Prouder,” which warned kids of their own “white fragility.”

While conservative pundits claim that Disney is becoming too socially aware for their own good, others, including organizations like The Human Rights Campaign, have praised the company’s action in support of the LGBTQ+ community, particularly after the company finally took a stance on Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which aimed to stop discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation in schools last year.

 “We have been having very productive conversations with Disney about the impact of anti-LGBTQ+ laws and policies and what they can do to help our community — specifically, what they can do to make the world safer and more welcoming for LGBTQ+ people,” said HRC spokesperson Elizabeth Bibi. “Disney has stood firm in their commitments to our community, and the company has taken real action to meet their employees’ needs and lean into their values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

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