We celebrate the anniversary of Disney’s Splash Mountain this week! The original attraction opened on July 17, 1989 at Critter Country in Disneyland. Later, the Walt Disney World version of the ride opened on October 2, 1992 at Frontierland in Magic Kingdom. Today, we discuss the ride’s history since so many guests have visited Splash Mountain on their Disney trips.
History of Attraction
The attraction made its grand debut as the fourth Disney Mountain thrill ride. The original three were Matterhorn Bobsleds, Space Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. So, what led to the creation of a water based thrill ride? The idea of Splash Mountain was first conceived by Disney Legend and Imagineer Tony Baxter. Back in 1983, he was evaluating several new possibilities for the future of Disney Parks. He realized how Disney was lacking a log flume ride and went to work on his new project.
Fun Facts and Trivia
Did you know that the Disneyland version of the ride includes animatronics borrowed from a retired Disney attraction? Imagineer and Disney Legend Marc Davis designed many of the figures, albeit for America Sings, a Tomorrowland attraction from 1974 through 1988. The America Sings animatronics were renovated for Splash Mountain, along with new animatronics of Brer Bear, Brer Fox, and Brer Rabbit, making a total of 103 colorful critters.
Do you know many drops are in Splash Mountain? The log flume ride contains five drops and the final watery plunge is 52 feet!
Did you know that Disneyland formerly had a themed land named Bear Country? It was named so for the Country Bear Jamboree when it opened in 1972. They decided to rename the land as Critter Country for Splash Mountain.
Heading into the Future
For 31 years, the log flume attraction served as a wonderful addition by adding a water-based E-ticket ride for guests. The silly critters are nice for entertaining both young children and Disney guests who are still kids at heart. The last big drop treats guests to a grand musical finale featuring the “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah“ song. Unfortunately, the ride does present a unique challenge. The movie its based upon, Song of the South, is no longer shown to audiences due to its sensitive themes and content. With no film or cartoon show to a wider audience, it’s difficult to appease newer generations who are unfamiliar with the characters. In June 2020, the Disney company announced how they would retheme the ride into becoming a Princess & the Frog attraction. Having a new theme with familiar characters to appease a wider audience is part of the reason for the update.
“Time to be Moving Along”
In terms of former attractions, we still miss riding Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and seeing The Great Movie Ride. Even though we always enjoyed riding Splash Mountain, we do understand how nothing lasts forever. One of Walt Disney’s famous quotes is a reminder of the spirit of change.
“Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” — Walt Disney
Making way for something new helps create new memories and experiences. Having an attraction for The Princess and the Frog would help a new generation of Disney fans find joy. After all, the movie recently celebrated its 10th anniversary a few months ago and the characters are already considered great new additions to the Disney library. Seeing new visuals, animatronics, and music to delight Disney Parks fans is always good news. We’re sure the future attraction will become a new favorite for guests going on their Disney vacations!
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