Disney censors 'Zip-a-dee-doo-dah' from parks over origin in 'racist' Song of the South

"Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay/ My, oh, my, what a wonderful day/ Plenty of sunshine headin' my way/ Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay!"

Joshua Young North Carolina

Disney recently removed the song "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah" from its in-park parades because the song originated from the 1946 live-action/animated hybrid film Song of the South, a motion picture set in Georgia during Reconstruction that has been described as "steeped in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes."

Fox News reports, "Disney made the change due to the phrase's origin in the 1946 film 'Song of the South,' long criticized for its idealistic portrayal of the post-war South and racial stereotypes."

The in-park parades in which the song was included were known as the "Magic Happens" parades, and were celebrations of many moments from cherished Disney films and stories. The parades stopped when the Covid lockdowns closed Disney parks. 

The song's lyrics are "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay
My, oh, my, what a wonderful day
Plenty of sunshine headin' my way
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay!
Mister Bluebird's on my shoulder"

According to a Disney Parks exclusive news site, "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah" was removed when the "Magic Happens" parades resumed on February 26. The outlet reports that the song had been removed from Disneyland resort music loops in 2023 and put out a statement at the time that said, "The removal of the song from Downtown Disney's background music is part of a continuous process to deliver an environment that features stories that are relevant and inclusive."

Disney's Splash Mountain was shut down in January 2021 because of its basis on the film after a fan petition said "its history and storyline are steeped in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes from the 1946 film Song of the South."

A new interpretation of the ride is set to open in 2024 based on The Princess and the Frog.

Disney said in a statement at the time, "With this longstanding history of updating attractions and adding new magic, the re-theming of Splash Mountain is of particular importance today. 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."


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