Disney Water Ride

Behind the Attraction: Splash Mountain

Introducing what we hope will be a new series of episodes on our podcast. We will be going behind the attraction to learn about the history, the story, the lore and the hidden gems! And what better attraction to begin with, but Lori’s favorite: Splash Mountain!!! Introducing: Behind the Attraction: Splash Mountain. But first…

The MousekeCocktail

Cocktails Paddlefish Disney Springs

Splash Mountain is a water ride and perfect to enjoy on a hot summer day! So even though some of us are staring at a bunch of snow in the dead of winter right now, let’s celebrate this fun warm day attraction with a fun warm day cocktail: The buzz pop cocktail!!! Found at Paddlefish in Disney Springs this is a boozy push-up pop. Each of the frozen pops contains as much alcohol as a 30-proof cocktail.  They come in eight different flavors including Moscow mule, mango passionfruit and lemon drop. If it matters, they’re fat-free and contain less than 100 calories. 

Splash Mountain: The 411

Located in Frontierland in Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Splash Mountain is an 11-minute thrill ride. During these 11 minutes, you will encounter 5 separate “drops”.  Most of these drops are mild except for the last big Splash down a 5 story drop. This drop literally takes your breath away, but the view right before the drop is amazing!

Here’s the 411:

  • FastPass+: Available
  • Height Requirement: 40 inches
  • Ride Photo: Available
  • Single Rider Line: No
  • Wheelchairs & ECVs: Must be able to transfer to ride vehicle

The Back Story

Splash Mountain History

Splash Mountain was originally conceived for Disneyland in the summer of 1983 by Imagineer Tony Baxter while he was stuck in rush-hour traffic on his way to work. He wanted to attract guests to the often-empty Bear Country land. This area of Disneyland was lacking with the only attraction being the outdated Country Bear Jamboree (which later closed in Disneyland in 2001), plus a souvenir shop.  Baxter wanted to build an attraction that would draw more people to this part of the park, plus he wanted to make use of the Audio-Animatronics from another retired attraction. It was another Imagineer, Dick Nunis, who insisted that the Imagineers create a log flume for Disneyland. Imagineers were initially unenthusiastic about it, insisting that log flumes were too ordinary a theme park attraction to include in Disneyland. While trying to solve the problems of including a log flume, bringing people into Bear Country, and reusing the animatronic characters, Baxter then thought of Song of the South.   The plot is a composite of several Uncle Remus stories surrounding the misadventures of Br’er Bear, Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox. Follow Br’er Rabbit as he searches for his laughing place while being chased by Fox and Bear. A ride was born and thanks to fuzzy characters and catchy music, it is enjoyed in three Disney parks in Orlando, California and Tokyo, each with their own subtle difference.

Myth, Lore and Hidden Mickey's

  • Some riders are known to briefly expose themselves (e.g. a woman baring her breasts) during the final drop so as to have this “flash” captured on camera. These photos appeared on a website called “Flash Mountain” in the mid-to-late 1990s.  Clearly a Disney no-no for officials who, despite Disney’s attention to detail, monitoring and audience management, have been unable to put an end to this phenomenon.  “Flash Mountain” was even used as a segment on TMZ in May 2009.
  • The original name for Splash Mountain was going to be “Zip-a-Dee River Run.” The name change came during the ride’s inception from then CEO Michael Eisner who wanted to promote the romantic comedy (by Disney’s Touchstone Films) “Splash.”
  • Splash Mountain at Tokyo Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom officially opened within one day of each other. Tokyo’s grand opening was on October 1, 1992, while Magic Kingdom’s official opening was the very next day!
  • The little gopher in the scene that reminds us of whack-a-mole may sound like he’s sneezing, but if you listen carefully, he’s actually saying “FSU!” This is a nod to Florida State University, alma mater of at least one Disney Imagineer  who worked on the ride (and also one MousekeMom).
  • There is a hidden Mickey profile when you are on Splash Mountain in the Magic Kingdom.  When you are about to go down the large water drop exiting the cave, you can see the hidden Mickey profile on your left.

The Future of Splash Mountain

Kingdom and Cruise Travel Agent

On June 25, 2020, it was announced by Disney that both the Disneyland and Magic Kingdom attractions would be re-themed to be based on the 2009 film, The Princess and the Frog. This change, which began planning presumably in 2019, was largely due to outcry over Song of the South’s perceived racist undertones. There are currently no plans to redesign the attraction at Tokyo Disneyland.  On November 16, 2020 we got an important update as well! According to IAAPA, during Disney’s presentation, Josh D’Amaro noted that certain guest facing changes, “like the reimagining of ‘Splash Mountain,’ have been expedited to ensure that all who visit the company’s parks do feel welcome as well.”

What Do The MousekeMoms Think?

Jen: I am not nostalgic about this ride. While I think it’s fun, I don’t know the ride characters from anything but this ride- I never saw Song of the South, I don’t have any fandom or loyalty to the Br’er characters. On the other hand, I love Princess and the Frog and am excited to see the potential with re-theming this ride as a ride along the Louisiana Bayou. Cool music, lovable recognizable characters, etc.

Lori:  It is NO secret, this is my favorite ride at Walt Disney World.  Yes, I said it! Yes- the characters are not straight out of a Disney Movie, but I love them! The ride itself is long, wonderful and has as ton of twists and turns and keeps you guessing until the big drop. It doesn’t just end there though, it completes the story! This is a family favorite!

The MousekeTip

The Mousekemoms have very different feelings about every attraction.  Even if a ride is not the most popular, if it is the most important to you, make it a priority in your trip itinerary- either by making sure you get a FastPass for it (when those come back) or by scheduling or planning to ride it at a point in the day that you think you’re most likely to get on!  As always, your travel agent at Kingdom and Cruise Travel will be able to help with your itinerary so that you know the best strategy that works for you! Book your next visit now!

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