'Princess and the Frog' Star Calls Splash Mountain Rebrand a "Great Moment to Do Better"

Disney movie Princess and the Frog and the actress Anika Noni Rose - Photofest - Split - H 2020
Photofest/Walt Disney Pictures

"For young Black children, it is, of course, a wonderful and amazing way to show representation," says Anika Noni Rose, who voiced the main character, Tiana, Disney's first Black princess, in the 2009 animated film.

The Walt Disney Co. on Thursday announced that one of its most iconic and popular theme park rides would be rebranded following outcry over its ties to an infamous Disney film. 

Splash Mountain will be retooled at Disneyland and Walt Disney World to feature characters from The Princess and the Frog, the celebrated 2009 animated film featuring Disney's first Black princess, Tiana. Currently, the ride features characters from the controversial 1946 film Song of the South.

Anika Noni Rose, who voiced Tiana in the film, said Friday on Good Morning America that it was "a great moment to do better and turn it into something everyone can celebrate and be proud of and be happy for.

"For young Black children, it is, of course, a wonderful and amazing way to show representation," Rose added. "For children who don't look like Tiana, it is a way to open their eyes. So, it allows these children, all of them, to meet with the common denominator, which is the love and heroism that comes with Tiana." 

Disney said had been working on rebranding the ride since last year, but the announcement came after a number of petitions began to float around online, one with some 21,000 signatures, calling for the ride to be rebranded, specifically as an attraction based on The Princess and the Frog.

No date was given for the ride's unveiling. Both Walt Disney World in Orlando and Anaheim's Disneyland have been shuttered for months due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. While Disney World is slated to reopen next month, the company on Wednesday said plans to reopen Disneyland were being postponed because state clearance could not be given in time. Gov. Gavin Newsom's office said it was too dangerous to reopen the park amid the recent virus spike in California. 

Watch the GMA segment below.