Recent announcements from Storyliving by Disney about their Cotino community include Laughing Place Ranch, a reference to “Song of the South” and Splash Mountain.
Laughing Place Ranch
Laughing Place Ranch will be an equestrian-themed dog park with separate play areas for small and large pets. The Laughing Place is one of the stories in “Song of the South” and is referenced in Splash Mountain, which the controversial film inspired.
Nearly all references to “Song of the South” have been scrubbed from Disney Parks as Disney aims to be more inclusive, diverse, and sensitive. So it’s a surprise to see a clear reference at an upcoming Disney community.
As the park is “equestrian-themed,” it doesn’t seem to actually be inspired by “Song of the South” or Splash Mountain. The name is likely meant to be inspired by Walt Disney referring to his home in Smoke Tree Ranch as his own “laughing place.”
“The Laughing Place” was a traditional African-American folktale featuring Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Fox, and Br’er Bear that Joel Chandler Harris included in his “Uncle Remus” stories, which hit it big with white audiences and inspired “Song of the South.” While many of the stories have African-American origins, Harris’ and Disney’s adaptations of them were not approved by the African-American community and considered offensive.
‘Song of the South’ References Removed
Splash Mountain at both Disneyland Park and Magic Kingdom have closed to make way for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, although Splash Mountain remains open at Tokyo Disneyland.
A Br’er Rabbit bronze statue was recently removed from Walt Disney Studios Park in Disneyland Paris. It was identical to a statue that was also once in Magic Kingdom. Br’er Rabbit and the other Magic Kingdom statues were removed to make way for the golden Fab 50 statues in 2021.
“Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” has been removed from several locations, including the Magic Kingdom entrance. It was gone from the Festival of Fantasy Parade upon its return in March 2022 and from “Let the Magic Begin” in 2021. The song was removed from the Disneyland Resort esplanade in 2020, and from Tokyo Disneyland in September 2022.
Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Bear no longer appear in the Frontierland hoedown at Magic Kingdom.