Disneyland Removes 'Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah' Song From Parade

Disney has quietly removed lyrics from "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" from the set list of Disneyland's Magic Happens parade. When the parade returned to the Anaheim resort on Feb. 24 following a three-year hiatus prompted by the COVID pandemic, parkgoers watching the parade heard a song from the 1953 feature Peter Pan in place of "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah." Disneyland officials confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that a lyric from the song was removed, though they offered no further comment.

Held twice daily at the Anaheim resort, the Magic Happens parade debuted in March 2020. Lead by Mickey Mouse himself, the parade features fabulous floats, whimsically costumed performers, and popular Disney characters, who move through the park "to a high-energy contemporary musical score that puts a spin on classic Disney hits." In addition to a stirring song co-composed by singer-songwriter Todrick Hall, the Magic Happens parade featured lyrics from "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah."

The song "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah" originated in the 1946 film Song of the South, a film so controversial that Disney has locked it away for decades and even kept it off the extensive library of Disney+. Set in the southern United States during the Reconstruction era, Song of the South follows a white boy who befriends an older Black man who works on a plantation. The film has long been criticized for its use of racist stereotypes and its ahistorical conception of the plantation system. The song "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah" was composed by Allie Wrubel with lyrics by Ray Gilbert and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Disney CEO Bob Iger has stated that Song of the South is "just not appropriate in today's world."

The removal of the song from the Magic Happens parade follows Disney's decision to reimagine its Splash Mountain ride at Disneyland and Disney World. The ride was designed with references to Song of the South and featured characters from the controversial movie. After a 20,000-signature 2019 Change.org petition emerged, Disney agreed to re-theme Splash Mountain to "remove all traces of this racist movie."

Splash Mountain, which has already closed in Disney World, is set to reopen as Tiana's Bayou Adventure. The ride will take riders back to the year 1927, when Tiana is hosting a party for the people of New Orleans. She will need riders' help to find a missing ingredient. Members of the original cast will be reprising their voices as their characters for the attraction, with Bruno Campos returning as Prince Naveen, Michael Leon Wooley voicing Louis, Jenifer Lewis voicing Mama Odie, and Anika Noni Rose voicing Princess Tiana. The reimagined attraction is set to reopen in late 2024.