In a video interview with Indiana University College of Arts + Sciences, Disney CEO Bob Chapek incorrectly claimed that Splash Mountain is “over 60 years old.” Chapek is an alumni of Indiana University. The video, posted in March, recently surfaced on Twitter.
In one part of the interview, Chapek discusses the announced changes to Splash Mountain to make it more inclusive by retheming the attraction to The Princess and the Frog. In addition to claiming that Splash Mountain has been around “for over 60 years,” says that “super fans” of the parks are resistant to changes in attractions and other legacy aspects of the parks.
In the interview, Chapek says:
“We made a decision to change some of our attractions that are in our parks that have been around for a long long time. Again now this goes back to the legacy issue and, you know, super fans not wanting anything to change. But when you really take a hard look at an attraction that’s been there for over 60 years, and you realize it’s based on Song of the South, and Song of the South is based on a story which depicts happy slaves… That is probably not, you know, a place that we all want to be, and a place that Disney wants to be.
“So you have to have, again, wrapping all this up, you have to have the courage to go ahead and change something that’s been, you know, pleasing a good number of people, has really high guest ratings for the last 60 years, and make the change so that you could not only talk about making positive change, but really get into it, and make those changes.
“And so we’re going to walk the talk and we’re going to hire people that have… diverse, the people that are working on the conversion of that to the Tiana story are very diverse. And so we’ll make sure that it’s not somehow lost interpretation in terms of how that story should be told in a very uplifting and accurate way.”
Splash Mountain opened in Disneyland in September 1989, making it not quite 32 years old there. It is even younger in the Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland, opening in October 1992 in those two parks.