I Can’t Believe Disney Is Shutting Down My Favorite Ride, Honky Mountain
Today was a very sad day at Disney’s Magic Kingdom
Disney is finally shutting down its controversial Magic Kingdom log ride, Splash Mountain, to convert it to a new ride based on The Princess and the Frog, and some Disney fans are having none of it. Splash Mountain, which opened in 1989, was based on the Disney movie Song of the South — a movie so racist it’s been locked in the Disney vault for years.
But that didn’t stop fans of the ride from lining up for one last loop through the briar patch, with wait times of nearly four hours on the final day of operation. Fans of the ride also took to TikTok, with one mom claiming she named her daughter, Briar, based on the ride. A few enterprising folks were even selling what they claimed was water from the ride on Ebay. Yes, really.
While I can’t say I’m surprised that some Disney park visitors are quick to dismiss the problematic history of the ride, I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like if the shoe was on the other foot…
Today was a very sad day at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, because today was the final day of operation for my favorite ride of all time across Disney’s many theme parks. I’m talking, of course, about Honky Mountain.
The Honky Mountain ride pays homage to the classic 1946 Disney film, Appalachian Fiddlin’, which celebrates the rich culture and storytelling traditions of white Appalachian-Americans.
The film centers around an elderly coal miner, Giuseppe McIreland, who immigrated to Crackerbarrel, West Virginia to make a better life for himself and his family. Sure, he misses the Old Country, but it’s okay because nothing makes him happier than shoveling coal all day for his kind boss, Mr. Moneybags. And when he’s not shoveling coal, Giuseppe loves playing the fiddle, making moonshine, and running a small underground gambling parlor with his mining buddies, Seamus Kowalski and Vladimir Ferrari, who all came over together from the same village in the Old Country and now run the Crackerbarrel Mafia.
Honky Mountain draws from that rich tapestry to deliver an unforgettable theme park experience. Riders hop into coal mine bucket carts and zoom down into a mine shaft where the Crackerbarrel Mafia’s biggest rivals, The Peckerwood Boys, are waiting in ambush. The bucket carts whiz through a hail of simulated tommy gun fire until they reach Giuseppe McIreland’s secret stash of moonshine that he’s getting ready to run up north to all the speakeasies along the East Coast. Then the ride heads up out of the ground and into the Crackerbarrel Mafia’s lively gambling parlor where cigar-chomping bigwigs place bets on horse races, hockey, and golf. The men eat pasta, colcannon and borscht as they brainstorm the easiest politicians to bribe, which cops to get on their payroll, and how to avoid paying their taxes. Finally, the ride reaches a stage, where a polka band is playing and a large group of people has gathered to listen to the music. But, since none of them know how to dance, they just sort of shuffle back and forth and wiggle their arms. Talk about a ride that perfectly captures everything we think of when we think of white America!
That’s why it’s such a shame that they’re going to get rid of the ride just because a few “awake” white people on Twitter have said that the ride is insensitive, inaccurate, and fails to acknowledge the many important contributions white people have made to America like country-pop crossovers, argyle sweaters, and Seattle.
So what if Appalachian Fiddlin’ is a little offensive? It’s not like anybody has seen the movie. It’s been locked in the Disney vault for decades because there’s a scene where Giuseppe is about to marry his cousin, Norma Jean, but his other cousin, Brunhilda, loudly objects. She then explains that she’s been in love with him since they were kids, and the two of them exchange vows while a fiddler plays “Old McDonald Had A Farm.” That’s the “harmful stereotype” everyone’s all worked up about? Rudy Giuliani married his cousin. So is it even a stereotype, or do stereotypes exist for a reason? That’s all I’m saying.
And now Disney wants to replace Honky Mountain with a ride based on Snow White? Because Snow White features the first white Disney princess (and also the first Disney princess, in general)? I’m sorry, but a ride based on Snow White is just never going to live up to that warm feeling of nostalgia you get when you see Giuseppe McIreland kiss his dog, L.L. Bean, on the mouth right before he lets L.L. Bean walk all over the same bed pillows where Giuseppe later puts his face.
When will all this awakeness end? Because, honestly, it’s getting ridiculous. At least I was able to find a little souvenir from the Honky Mountain mine shaft on Ebay. And I have a feeling my son, Coal, is going to love it.
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